Sen. DeMint less than a shoo-in for reelection

Despite South Carolina’s national image as among the reddest of the red states, Senator Jim DeMint is less than a shoo-in for reelection.  Three recent polls show him approval rating in the 48-52 range, barely ahead of President Obama in the state, with voters indicating significant concern about DeMint’s seemingly greater interest in stimulating a national ultra-conservative movement than in South Carolina issues and interests.


An idea-based conservative future

America’s proud legacy of limited government, free enterprise and personal responsibility is under assault in Washington in the form of Obamacare, the so-called stimulus and cap and trade. Washington is broken, and there’s a fundamental question voters must ask themselves this election year: Who do you trust to fix it?

With the right leaders, the right agenda and the right movement of people and ideas, we can reverse this trend. America can remain exceptional, but it’s going to require bold and decisive action in the very near future. It’s going to require leaders who are willing to not only stand up to the Obama agenda, but offer clear alternatives as well.

Saying no to bad ideas is very important in the Obama Era, but so is laying out an alternative conservative vision. We did just that in Florida. As I prepared to become Speaker of the House, we created a book called 100 Ideas for Florida’s Future. It was a book of ideas and proposals collected over many months from all across the state. Many of them came from political leaders, academics and researchers. But some of the best ideas came from everyday working Floridians who simply wanted to promote limited government, maintain our freedom and keep Florida great. We took the 100 best ideas on issues like tax reform, education and insurance reform and put them in a book which became the foundation of my agenda as speaker.


The Big Question: What deals should Obama get from Mexico?

Some of the nation's top political commentators, legislators and intellectuals offer their insight into the biggest news of the day. ...

Today's question:

What agreement should come out of President Barack Obama's meeting with Mexican President Felipe Calderon?


Prescription drug disposal programs can deter drug abuse, protect our environment

Bruce T. Roberts is the executive vice president and CEO of the National Community Pharmacists Association in Alexandria, Va.

Prescription medications, when utilized properly, can indeed be “miracle drugs,” but what’s a patient to do when these pills expire or go unused?  Experience has shown that improper drug disposal can harm the environment and contribute to drug abuse and accidental ingestions.

During the recent 40th anniversary of Earth Week, more than 800 community pharmacies across the country launched a “Dispose My Meds” campaign, coordinated by the National Community Pharmacists Association. At, patients can learn about the negative impact of improper medication disposal and find a participating pharmacy. In the Washington, DC area, disposal options include the Neighborhood Pharmacy of Alexandria, Leesburg Pharmacy in Leesburg and a number of pharmacies in the Baltimore area.

The need to properly dispose of unused prescription medication is evident. More than 2.1 million children ages 12 to 17 reported abusing prescription drugs in 2008. That’s second only to marijuana use, according to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The same survey found the majority of teens obtain these prescription medications through family or friends.


Wall Street and the financial crisis: The role of investment banks (Sen. Carl Levin)

The exhibits referenced in the statement and the other witness testimony are available here. You can also watch the hearing live or view an archive webcast later at that link.

Today the Subcommittee holds the fourth in our series of hearings to explore some of the causes and consequences of the financial crisis. These hearings are the culmination of nearly a year and a half of investigation.

The freezing of financial markets and collapse of financial institutions that sparked our investigation are not just a matter of numbers on a balance sheet. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, their homes and their businesses in the recession that the crisis sparked, the worst economic decline since the Great Depression. Behind every number we cite are American families who are still suffering the effects of a man-made economic catastrophe.


Send me "back to the kitchen?" (Rep. Betty Sutton)

Last week a talented, young woman full of promise came to me with a flier her family received in the mail from the Republican Party. As she handed me the mailer, with a sense of disappointment and hurt, she pointed to a line in the flier that read, 'Let's take Betty Sutton out of the House and send her back to the kitchen.'

The young woman, her heart heavy, then said, "I can't believe that this is how some people value women. And, even if they do, I can't believe that they would feel comfortable promoting it in a flier like this." And then, this bright, capable woman, who I know to be ready and able to do great things for our community and nation, said this: "I don't know why I even went to college; if this is how people treat you, what's the point?"


Women deserve equal pay for equal work (Sen. Tom Harkin)

On April 20th, Americans will observe Equal Pay Day -- the date that marks the 110 extra days that women must work into 2010 in order to equal what men earned in 2009.

Nearly half a century after Congress enacted the Equal Pay Act, too many women in this country still do not get paid what men do for the exact same work. On average, a woman makes only 77 cents for every dollar that a man makes. The circumstances are even worse for Latinas and women of color.

This is wrong and unjust. But, even more, it threatens the economic security of our families. The fact is millions of Americans are dependent on a woman's pay-check just to get by, put food on the table, pay for child care, and deal with rising health care bills. Two-thirds of mothers bring home at least a quarter of their family's earnings. In many families, the woman is the sole breadwinner.


It’s high time to end marijuana prohibition

By any objective standard, marijuana prohibition is an abject failure.
Nationwide, U.S. law enforcement have arrested over 20 million American citizens for marijuana offenses since 1965, yet today marijuana is more prevalent than ever before, adolescents have easier access to marijuana than ever before, the drug is more potent than ever before, and there is more violence associated with the illegal marijuana trade than ever before.
Over 100 million Americans nationally have used marijuana despite prohibition, and one in ten – according to current government survey data – use it regularly.  The criminal prohibition of marijuana has not dissuaded anyone from using marijuana or reduced its availability; however, the strict enforcement of this policy has adversely impacted the lives and careers of millions of people who simply elected to use a substance to relax that is objectively safer than alcohol. NORML believes that the time has come to amend criminal prohibition and replace it with a system of legalization, taxation, regulation, and education.


It's national pay equity day: Make paycheck fairness the law (Rep. Rosa DeLauro)

Among the many great benefits of the common-sense health reform package we passed last month is a guarantee that finally in America, being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition. As we bring an end to discriminatory policies like gender rating and begin to ensure coverage for maternity, preventive, and wellness care, our health legislation at long last puts our mothers' and sisters' and daughters' health care on equal footing with our fathers' and brothers' and sons'.

It is time, now, with your help, to do the same for women's earnings.

We showed with health reform that we can still accomplish great things in Congress, even if our party is forced to go it alone. I cannot think of a better way to follow this historic success than finally signing the Paycheck Fairness Act into law. Sign the petition today and tell my colleagues in the Senate to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.


The postal service's fiscal crisis and future viability (Rep. Edolphus Towns)

For more than 200 years the United States Postal Service has connected Americans, facilitated commerce and provided good paying jobs for millions of Americans. As a result of postal workers' high level of service, the Postal Service has become one of the most trusted organizations in America. But the Postal Service's tradition of service is under more pressure than ever before due to a financial crisis jeopardizing its viability for years to come.

In the last three years alone, mail volume has fallen off a cliff, from 213 billion pieces in 2006 to 177 billion pieces in 2009, driving down Postal Service revenues at a time when their health care and pension obligations are increasing. In response to these problems, the Postal Service has cut jobs through attrition and put many cost saving measures into place to help address the issue. Unfortunately, a comprehensive strategy or business model that puts the Postal Service on a sustainable path has yet to be implemented.

To get to the bottom of this issue, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing last week to examine the status of the Postal Service, and evaluate recent reports from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Postal Service Inspector General and the Postal Service on short and long-term strategies for the financial viability and stability of the USPS.