Grant highlights municipal government efficiency

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, President Obama signed the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013, into law, allowing for the disbursal of $16 billion dollars in block grants to communities ravaged by the hurricane. In May 2013, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approved the distribution plan for the $1.773 billion that had been allocated to New York City. The grant was entitled the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Action Plan (CDBG-DR).


India honors – not dishonors – patent laws

India has experienced transformational economic growth over the past two decades. Thanks in large measure to reforms that opened India’s markets to global commerce, its Gross Domestic Product has zoomed from $189 billion in 1980 to $1.84 trillion in 2012. Innovation and entrepreneurship have been fostered by vigorous enforcement of trade agreements and patent laws.


Congressional action on worker centers is overdue

Big Labor’s decline is well documented, but its new strategy to utilize “worker centers” to perpetuate its own existence is not. Thankfully, on July 23, Reps. John Kline (R-Minn.) and Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) sent a letter to Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez asking for clarification on why worker centers are not regulated like the labor unions that found and fund them.


American dreams on summer break

As children across the country prepare to go back to the classroom, our nation’s leaders are on recess until September.  While Congress is on summer break, the future of 5.5 million children is in limbo. One million unauthorized immigrants under the age of 18, and 4.5 million U.S. born children of undocumented parents, are anxiously awaiting immigration reform.


Sen. Durbin’s vendetta against supplements

Are you responsible enough to make your own decisions regarding whether to consume energy drinks or dietary supplements? Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) doesn’t seem to think so. On Aug. 1, Durbin reintroduced legislation -- the Dietary Supplemental Labeling Act -- which he advanced in the last Congress before it failed to make it out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.


Government should respect Native American sovereignty

I commend The Hill for spotlighting the effort to ensure voting rights for Native Americans in Montana (The Hill, Jordy Yager, 07/16/13).  As a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, I've been fighting my entire career to protect Native American sovereignty and help ensure that local, state and federal governments respect tribal law.  Every Native
American in Montana who is eligible to vote must be allowed to exercise his or her ability to vote.  Unfortunately, it seems that a government that would infringe on one's sacred right to vote is unlikely to stop there.


Building a wall around the welfare state, instead of the country

Supporters of immigration reform continue to hold their breath as they wait to see what, if any, action the U.S. House will take. If the political pundits are right, the prospects are dim. One reason for that is concern that an influx of immigrants will overburden the welfare state.


The president’s opportunity

On July 24, President Obama delivered a speech in Galesburg, IL, to lay out his vision for an economy that works for everyone and what he hopes to do to get us there. During his speech, he acknowledged that gridlock in Washington will likely prevent Congress from providing sensible solutions, but he said, “Whatever executive authority I have to help the middle class, I’ll use it." I hope the President keeps his word because he has the power to lift two million working Americans out of poverty.  He just has to choose to use it.


Regulations conflict

An important question before Congress this week: Should the regulatory process for projects that have major impacts on the environment be speeded up or slowed down?

Yes, according to House Republicans.


Limbo Is a town in Palestine

Seventy years ago, during World War II, victory gardens were a necessity for the average American family. But we have prospered now and often favor Whole Foods over weeding a plot to raise tomatoes or radishes. 

Gazan families do not have that luxury.  In large numbers, they urgently seek the assistance of agronomists from American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) to construct greenhouses implementing drip irrigation and composting. Eight out of ten families in Gaza find it difficult to feed themselves, let alone with fresh foods. Our household gardens program trains them and mentors them for up to a year. The results in terms of child nutrition, family finances and self-reliance are readily visible.