| March 28, 2013, 5 a.m.
The current federal prison system has taxpayers playing the fool. Despite extraordinary increases in scope and cost, it may be making us less safe. In 1980, the federal prison population stood at 25,000 inmates; today, it’s at 218,000 — 139 percent of its capacity. Half the people are serving time for drug offenses. Since 2000, the Bureau of Prisons’ budget has nearly doubled, to about $6.7 billion. While that number sounds small in comparison with what we spend on health care, it is crushing the Justice Department. Federal prisons now consume a full quarter of the Department’s budget.
| March 27, 2013, 8:51 p.m.
President Barack Obama said same-sex couples have a strong case for marriage equality after hearings in the Supreme Court this week.
| March 27, 2013, 5 a.m.
The president recently met with about a dozen GOP leaders to try to find some common ground on deficit reduction policy. The session was closed door. But as the congressional budget war begins, there are serious indicators that if there is a “grand bargain” on fiscal reform it will include changes to Medicare.
| March 26, 2013, 5:08 p.m.
Although the Senate-adopted budget resolution upholds the 2010 health care overhaul, Republicans added several repeal and oversight provisions through amendment votes on the floor and in committee.
| March 26, 2013, 2:17 p.m.
The top Senate Republican is calling on the House to send over legislation to repeal the health care law’s tax on medical devices, following a bipartisan vote among senators in favor of such a move last week.
| March 25, 2013, 6:25 a.m.
Observers watching the Senate on the afternoon of March 13 could be forgiven for feeling a little bit of déjà vu. Senators were once again voting on a motion to try to disable the 2010 health care overhaul — this time by delaying any funding for the law, courtesy of an amendment from Republican freshman Ted Cruz of Texas.
| March 21, 2013, 4:53 p.m.
By the time the Senate’s budget vote-a-rama ends Friday night or Saturday, senators’ heads will be spinning from the dozens of votes they’ve taken in rapid succession.
| March 20, 2013, 3:15 p.m.
Democrats slam the group as a haven for radicals while conservatives tout membership among their bona fides, but the fact is Rep. Michele Bachmann’s Tea Party Caucus has been inactive for several months.
| March 19, 2013, 6:35 p.m.
An unusual coalition of skin cancer groups, dermatologists and companies that make sunscreens is prodding Congress and the Food and Drug Administration to speed up approvals for new ingredients to block the sun’s rays.
| March 15, 2013, 5:56 p.m.
The National School Lunch Program was created in 1946 when leaders, alarmed by the poor health and malnutrition of World War II conscripts, thought a feeding program seemed a good way to raise healthier Americans and to provide another market for farmers for surplus commodity crops and foods.
| March 15, 2013, 5:53 p.m.
Senators pursuing a legislative fix to a new school meal nutrition standard say they are not out to undermine efforts to combat child obesity but that they do believe the Agriculture Department erred in setting limits on the amount of grains and proteins cafeterias could serve students.
| March 14, 2013, 7:30 p.m.
President Barack Obama has broken the ice with suspicious and distrustful Republicans on Capitol Hill during the past two weeks, but it hasn’t yet yielded any immediate breakthroughs on the budget stalemate that threatens to lead to yet another partisan debt showdown in a few months.
| March 12, 2013, 7:14 p.m.
Activists on both sides of the abortion debate have unleashed new ads and grass-roots lobbying drives in the ongoing fight over birth control requirements in the 2010 health care law.
| March 12, 2013, 7:05 p.m.
While there has recently been unmistakable momentum toward equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans in parts of the country — with marriage equality for same-sex couples in nine states and D.C., federal cases challenging the Defense of Marriage Act and the inclusion of gays and lesbians in the debate on an immigration overhaul — we cannot afford to pat ourselves on the back.
| March 12, 2013, 12:57 p.m.
House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan unveiled a fiscal 2014 budget plan Tuesday with an aggressive aim to erase the deficit in 10 years by cutting projected spending by some $4.6 trillion and calling for politically contentious changes in federal laws, including eliminating the 2010 health care law and overhauling the tax code.
| March 11, 2013, 7:19 p.m.
When a California county wanted to encourage residents to buy health insurance earlier this year, officials employed a time-tested tactic for generating interest: nudity.
| March 10, 2013, 12:26 p.m.
The House Republican budget will balance the budget over 10 years in part by cutting spending by about $5 trillion and turning Medicare into a premium support program, Rep. Paul D. Ryan said Sunday.
| March 8, 2013, 6:17 p.m.
Rarely do federal lawmakers come upon a policy that can expand access to critical health care services and simultaneously save taxpayers money.
| March 7, 2013, 5:51 p.m.
A decade ago, as I was beginning my time as Senate majority leader, bipartisan consensus in Washington helped launch a new era of progress in global health just when it was sorely needed. Twenty years had passed since I first saw AIDS patients in Boston, though at the time we didn’t even have a name for this savage disease. Advances in treatment and technology were helping control HIV in the United States, but AIDS was decimating communities worldwide. There were tens of millions of infections, yet only 400,000 people in low- and middle-income countries had access to lifesaving antiretroviral therapy, meaning only a tiny fraction were able to escape death.
| March 7, 2013, 5:47 p.m.
Last week, the Peace Corps celebrated its 52nd anniversary. As two of five returned Peace Corps volunteers in the House of Representatives, we can, without question, say that the Peace Corps changed our lives, our perspectives and now our missions as members of Congress. One of us having served in El Salvador and the other in Somalia, we returned to the United States fundamentally transformed.