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Opinion: As Hurricane Season Approaches, It’s Time to Fix Disaster Funding
Our federal government should stop treating natural disasters as surprises

A school bus crosses a makeshift bridge for vehicles in Morovis, Puerto Rico, in December near where the original bridge was washed away by Hurricane Maria flooding. (Mario Tama/Getty Images file photo)

The official start of the Atlantic hurricane season is just over ten days away. As the nation continues to grapple with the emotional and economic scars of last year’s natural disasters, it is hard to fathom the possibility of a new spate of storms. And while we can’t predict the extent of trauma that awaits us in 2018, one thing is for sure — we are not prepared.

Last year, the United States saw 16 weather-related disasters that each exceeded $1 billion in costs and damages. Total costs of disaster recovery for the year are expected to surpass $300 billion.

Opinion: Trump’s Drug Pricing Plan Is Practical, but Is It Enough?
Administration’s blueprint aims to force drug companies to be more transparent

Opponents call President Donald Trump’s plan a win for pharmaceutical companies because it doesn’t ask Medicare to negotiate prices for Part B and D drugs, Wilensky writes. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images file photo)

A husband visits a local pharmacy to fill his ailing wife’s monthly asthma prescription, which costs $110. What he doesn’t know — and what his pharmacist can’t tell him — is that her Part D insurance plan isn’t helping to reduce the cost. In fact, it’s only hurting. They could have saved $35 by paying out-of-pocket.

That’s the kind of problem President Donald Trump aims to solve with his new drug price plan. The blueprint he released earlier this month is practical, focused squarely on executive actions that will force drug companies toward greater transparency. But will the White House’s pragmatism be enough?

Opinion: From the Vatican, a Challenge to Bring Promise to Patients
Conference urges support for innovations in science and medicine in a collaborative, safe and ethical manner

The Pontifical Council for Culture and the Cura Foundation hosted the “Unite to Cure” conference at the Vatican last month. (Courtesy the Cura Foundation/Unite To Cure: Fourth International Vatican Conference)

The power of medical research is rapidly moving from the lab to the patient.

Since the 21st Century Cures Act was passed in 2016, we’ve seen exponential progress in personalized, data-driven medicine and regenerative and gene therapies that will help prevent and treat disease, and even cure patients. Swift advances in science hold great promise for patients in need. At the same time, we must maintain our national standards for safety and ethical responsibility.

Opinion: The Special Counsel Probe Is Tainted
Rod Rosenstein must act to restrict an investigation gone rogue

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein should immediately restrict the actions of the special counsel to issues involving the 2016 election, as originally required, Smith writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s time for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to be restrained. The process is tainted, which should limit, if not end, the investigation.

There is a legal term called “fruit of the poisonous tree.” If the evidence, or tree, is tainted, then anything gained from the evidence — the fruit — is tainted as well.

Opinion: On Iran, It’s Not About the Art of the Deal
Trump has plenty of room to address issues with Iran without altering nuclear accord

An Iranian surface-to-surface missile during a military parade in Tehran in 2008. The U.S. has many options to constrain Iranian ballistic missile activity outside the nuclear agreement, Misztal writes. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump has sold himself as the consummate deal-maker. But while he has been clear-eyed about the Iran nuclear accord, he has perhaps been overly focused on its shortcomings. This risks not only losing sight of the deal’s one advantage and its true costs, but also replicating his predecessor’s mistake: reducing all Iran policy issues to the agreement.

President Barack Obama’s diplomatic perseverance made the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, possible, but it also became a restraint. During negotiations, and even after the deal was struck, the Obama administration did not confront Iran on other serious issues — its bloody involvement in Syria or the 2016 capture of 10 American sailors in the Persian Gulf — for fear of upsetting the accord.

Opinion: America Needs to Recommit to Investing in Science
The recent omnibus spending package is a good first step

A research technician at the New York Genome Center in 2013. Reviving federal investment in scientific research is crucial given the high costs associated with new technologies, Stockwell writes. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images file photo)

When it comes to science, the United States is getting its lunch handed to it by countries such as China, which not only invests more dollars into scientific research and development but also produces more undergraduate science and engineering majors than we do stateside.

The National Science Foundation’s Science & Engineering Indicators recently warned that U.S. dominance in scientific advancement is under serious threat. This warning was reaffirmed by the 2018 Bloomberg Innovation Index, in which the U.S. did not even rank among the top ten most innovative countries in the world anymore.

Opinion: A Few Cracks in Trump’s GOP Wall on Capitol Hill
Senate Judiciary Committee saw a rare display of bipartisanship over Russia probe

Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., left, and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., were among four Republicans on the Judiciary Committee who joined the Democrats in approving legislation designed to safeguard the special counsel from being arbitrarily fired. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Washington, as we know, is riven by vicious partisanship, with those on the right and left at each other’s throats over the most pressing issue that this nation has faced in decades. We are, of course, talking about the violently differing opinions and never-ending hot takes about Michelle Wolf’s comedy act at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.

Amid the nonstop invective, it was easy to have missed Capitol Hill’s equivalent of Halley’s Comet — a rare celestial display of welcome bipartisanship in a matter relating to Donald Trump and Robert Mueller. The Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday, by a 14-7 vote (with four Republicans joining the panel’s Democrats in the majority), approved legislation designed to safeguard the special counsel from being arbitrarily fired by Trump. The bill was designed to protect Mueller from the wrath of a cornered president.

Opinion: Americans Are Telling Both Parties — “Show Me the Money”
GOP has an opening this fall with millennials moving away from Democrats, new poll shows

Speaker Paul D. Ryan speaks with students during an event with millennials at Georgetown University in April 2016. Republicans have an opportunity to make gains among young voters this fall, Winston writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

“It sounds strange to me to say this about the Republicans, but they’re helping with even the small things. They’re taking less out of my paycheck. I notice that.” So said Terry Hood, a young, African-American, Clinton voter in a recent Reuters interview about why millennials are moving away from Democrats.

Music to Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan’s ears. And luckily for the GOP, Hood is apparently not the only millennial who’s noticed. A new Reuters/Ipsos poll of 16,000 young voters, ages 18 to 34, repeating a similar 2016 survey, found that support for congressional Democrats among this key group (as measured by the generic ballot test) went from 55 percent two years ago to 46 percent today — a drop of 9 points.

Opinion: Virtually Safe? Not Until We Root Out Online Terrorism
As lawmakers grill tech CEOs on data, extremists still have their virtual safe havens

A policeman stands guard in Times Square not far from the site of a pipe bomb explosion on Dec. 11. Virtual safe havens make it harder to counter terrorism, Misztal and Michek write. (John Moore/Getty Images file photo)

The bomber who shut down Times Square last December reportedly found instructions online and read Inspire, al-Qaida’s digital magazine. One of the men who opened fire on a free-speech event three years ago in Texas had been in contact with terrorists abroad using Twitter and Surespot, an encrypted messaging application.

Terrorist groups are thriving online — recruiting followers, disseminating propaganda, planning attacks. While lawmakers are looking at the dangers that lurk on the internet, from Russian interference to Facebook data scrapes, they should be paying more attention to countering terrorism in the digital realm.

Opinion: Congress Needs to Hold On to Its Power of the Purse
Any rescission proposal from the White House should be acted upon quickly

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker Paul D. Ryan at the Capitol in February. Congress should act quickly on any rescission proposal from the Trump administration to avoid relinquishing more control over the appropriations process to the executive branch, Hoagland writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sixteen words in the U.S. Constitution have governed the federal government’s budget process for over 230 years: “No money shall be drawn from the Treasury but in consequence of appropriations made by law.” Presidents of all parties over the country’s long history, nonetheless, have sought to wrest from Congress more control over the Treasury than those 16 words allow.

During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln spent millions of dollars without congressional approval. While this was otherwise an unconstitutional act, Lincoln felt his actions were guided by the greater responsibility of his oath to “protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”