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To rein in Big Pharma over high drug prices, start with patent reform
Bipartisan proposals represent a rare bright spot in a divided Congress

Abuse of the patent system by brand-name drug manufacturers is exacerbating the financial burden faced by American patients for their prescription drugs, Lane writes. (George Frey/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — With the Senate impeachment trial kicking off and partisan tensions running high on several fronts, Americans might be forgiven for thinking that Congress has lost the ability to find common ground. But lately, and despite the proverbial odds, there is a new bipartisan consensus forming on an issue of incredible importance to millions of Americans: prescription drug pricing. Specifically, reforming the U.S. patent system to end abusive practices that are directly contributing to high drug prices.

Across the country, Americans are struggling under the weight of skyrocketing prescription drug costs. It is no secret that affording medicines and treatments is an incredible burden for too many families. On average, Americans are paying considerably more than citizens of other high-income countries for the same exact prescription drugs.

Who is Kelly Loeffler?
New Georgia senator is educated, young for the Senate and most importantly, rich

New Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s teamis prepared to spend $20 million of her own money for the 2020 cycle alone. (Marcus Ingram/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — When Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp appointed Kelly Loeffler to fill the Senate seat of the beloved-but-ailing Sen. Johnny Isakson, a single headline said it all, repeated many times over. “Who is Kelly Loeffler?” the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, the local NBC affiliate, and Atlanta’s NPR station asked almost in unison.

Loeffler, 49, was such an unknown outside of Republican fundraising circles that even longtime political reporters struggled with the pronunciation of her last name. Was it LOFF-ler or LOW-fler? (Neither. It’s LEFF-ler.)

Why Mitch McConnell should be the Person of the Decade, and not in a good way
No denying the Twenties decade is approaching, but how will it be described?

From denying a vote on Merrick Garland to rubber stamping President Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell symbolizes the decade’s partisanship. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — According to legend, a Broadway producer opened a show to dreadful reviews on Dec. 30 and then ran banner ads on Jan. 1 bragging, “Second Year in New York.”

Whatever the final reviews of history for impeachment, it is safe to say that both sides can soon boast or lament, “Second Decade in Washington.”

Tax code typo is harming America’s restaurants
Congress needs to fix the ‘QIP glitch’

Congress needs to prioritize fixing the “QIP glitch,” a tax code mistake that is having a big ripple effect on the nation’s second-largest private-sector employer, Berry writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Washington, D.C., is my adopted home, and it is where my restaurants have been embraced, including Succotash in our Penn Quarter and National Harbor locations and MiVida in District Wharf. And we have plans to open several new locations including The Grill in District Wharf, and Gatsby and Mah-Ze-Dahr at Capitol Riverfront, the home of our World Series champions.

The PRO Act’s many cons
House expected to take up a bill that would hurt millions of small businesses and workers

The Democrat-controlled House is expected to pass the PRO Act this month — a bill that in its present form would hurt millions of small businesses and workers and upend the franchise industry, Cresanti writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — In a divided Congress, Republicans and Democrats often pass legislation to signal what they’ll pursue if they gain complete control over the levers of federal power. That’s why the Protect the Right to Organize Act demands attention. The Democrat-controlled House is expected to pass the bill in the coming weeks, even though in its present form it would hurt millions of small businesses and workers and upend one of the most important parts of the American economy: the franchise industry.

The PRO Act, as it’s called, is a Frankenstein bill that cobbles together more than 20 dangerous provisions, some new and some rejected numerous times by previous Congresses. The trouble with each of these provisions is they tip the scales against small businesses in solution of a problem that doesn’t exist — employees already have the right to organize small businesses under federal law. One section mandates that companies provide workers’ personal information to unions; another would repeal state right-to-work laws by forcing all employees to pay union dues as a condition of employment. Across the board, the bill rolls back balanced protections for workers and employers while tilting the playing field decisively toward unions.

Asking the hard questions to implement the National Defense Strategy
Conversation on the changing role of America’s military needs to expand beyond Washington

Oklahoma Sen. James M. Inhofe is the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Two years ago, the National Defense Strategy, or NDS, shifted America’s military focus to a new era of great-power competition, especially with China and Russia. Welcomed with broad bipartisan support, this groundbreaking document calls on us to make tough choices to reshape our military, reform the Department of Defense, and recommit to strengthening alliances and attracting new partners around the world.

President Donald Trump has committed to rebuilding the foundations of American military power. The NDS provides the blueprint to achieve that objective, and it must be fully implemented. That is why we have made it our priority on the Senate and House Armed Services committees to ensure that we turn the NDS from a strategy on paper into a strategy in action.

American competitiveness requires a smarter Congress
Increasing science and technology advice would be an important first step

As technological innovations rapidly reshape the American economy, it’s time Congress took notice and brought itself up to speed, Grumet and Johnson write. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Technological advancements are rapidly changing the American economy and workforce. At the same time, lawmakers increasingly appear to lack the capability to understand and respond effectively to this transformation. Flip phone-wielding lawmakers may have been cutting edge in the 1990s, but not in today’s Congress, which routinely grapples with complex scientific and technological issues such as gene editing, cryptocurrency, facial recognition and digital privacy. Not to mention, they must oversee $150 billion in federal R&D funding that helps fuel future innovations.

Out of 541 members, the current Congress has only two scientists and eleven engineers. Most have backgrounds in law or business, which is obvious when hearings start to get technical. This gap has to be filled by congressional staff and support agencies. Yet only 15 percent of senior congressional aides themselves think staff have the knowledge, skills and abilities to support members’ official duties. And just 24 percent think staff have enough access to high-quality, nonpartisan expertise within the legislative branch, according to a 2017 survey.

It’s time to regulate olive oil
Half of all extra virgin olive oil on supermarket shelves still fails to meet accepted standards

An audit done between 2015 and 2019 found that half of all extra virgin olive oil on supermarket shelves still fails to meet accepted standards for the grade, Greenberg writes.. (Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — Everyone has to eat. Across all borders and cultures, we all rely on food. But this universal truth makes consumers vulnerable to unscrupulous food industry players who engage in unethical, if not illegal, labeling practices.

In the U.S., the federal government has developed hundreds of enforceable quality standards to protect consumers from contaminated products by requiring accurate ingredients lists and cracking down on false health claims. From meat to macaroni and canned prunes to canned tuna, consumers are protected against fraud in these categories because the government has stepped into the void.

Climate change solutions can’t wait for the politics to catch up
New Democrat Coalition pushes for bills that have bipartisan support and can make a difference

Climate change youth activists demonstrate at the Supreme Court on Sept. 18. Solutions to the climate crisis must not get caught up in partisan battles, New Democrat Coalition Chairman Derek Kilmer writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — In the Pacific Northwest, we have a sense of urgency about addressing climate change. That urgency is driven, in part, by the fact that we are already seeing its impacts.

Where I’m from, we have four coastal tribes that are trying to move to higher ground due to rising sea levels and more severe storms. Catastrophic wildfires threaten the health and safety of communities throughout the Pacific Northwest. And our region’s largest employer — the Department of Defense — identifies climate change as a “threat multiplier” that makes our world less safe.

Republicans have a plan for patient-centered health care
RSC proposal aims to make good on president’s vision of the GOP as the party of health care

The Republican Study Committee’s “Framework for Personalized, Affordable Care” offers the American people thoughtful solutions for patient-centered health care, Marshall and Johnson write. (Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — “The Republican Party will soon be known as the party of health care. You watch.” — President Donald J. Trump, March 26, 2019

There’s one thing everyone in D.C. can agree on: Our current health care system is not working, and it’s high time we modernize it. But with health care such a deeply personal issue, it’s no simple task. That’s why we, the Republican Party, want you and your doctor to be in charge, not the federal government. This stands in stark contrast to the Democrats’ plan, which calls for the federal government to completely take over your health care.