Opinion: Putting the ‘N’ in SNAP Should Be a Farm Bill Priority
Program should be strengthened to promote nutrition among SNAP recipients

Among the recommendations of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s SNAP Task Force is continuing incentives for recipients to consume fresh fruits and vegetables (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As Congress begins its deliberations on this year’s farm bill, it’s time to pay more attention to the “N” in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

Launched as a pilot program by President John F. Kennedy and expanded nationwide by President Richard Nixon, the food stamps program — now SNAP — has enjoyed bipartisan support over its nearly 60-year history. From its initial goals of supporting farm incomes and ensuring low-income families did not face hunger, it has evolved into an effective anti-poverty program. That evolution continues today with a focus on nutrition.

Opinion: We All Have the Same Challenges
Female staffers should be judged by the results they produce

Barrett Karr, center, is chief of staff to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Also pictured, Kelly Dixon, director of legislative operations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

I am often asked what it is like to be a female chief of staff. My answer is that it is probably not that much different from being a male chief of staff — we all have the same challenges. 

But the question reminds me that I am fortunate to have worked for Kay Granger, John Kline and now Kevin McCarthy.

Opinion: Building a Water Workforce for America’s Future
Infrastructure investment must include training for those who manage our critical water systems

It is critical to invest in training for the engineers and technicians  who keep the nation’s critical water systems in operation, Tonko writes. Pictured above, the Kensico Dam and Reservoir in Valhall, N.Y. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images file photo)

America faces a tough reality when it comes to our drinking water infrastructure. Eighty-six percent of U.S. households today depend on public water, and the EPA has estimated that nearly $400 billion will be needed in the coming decades just to keep those systems in working order.

Unfortunately, underground pipes and pumps aren’t the only critical components of these systems that are being overlooked. Even as water system failures hit communities all across the U.S., the professionals who keep these beleaguered systems operating safely are aging too. Many are already approaching retirement. In fact, some 37 percent of water utility workers and 31 percent of wastewater utility workers are expected to retire in the next decade.

Opinion: The Attack on the CFPB Threatens Consumers and Ignites a Race to the Bottom
Mulvaney’s zealous pursuit of deregulation also hurts our economy

Comedian Jon Stewart, center, flanked by New York Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney and Jerrold Nadler, speaks during a press conference on March 5, calling on OMB Director Mick Mulvaney to withdraw his proposal to separate the World Trade Center Health Program from the direction of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health direction. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As a congressman, Mick Mulvaney once co-sponsored a bill to abolish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. And since being appointed by President Donald Trump to temporarily lead the agency, he has worked to cripple it from the inside.

What he is doing will hurt consumers not once but twice — first, by letting off the hook financial institutions that take advantage of their customers, and second, by giving other companies large incentives to do the same.

Opinion: Under Mulvaney’s Leadership, the CFPB Can Finally Live Up to Its Name
Acting director is steering agency away from unlawful legislating and toward protecting consumers

OMB Director Mick Mulvaney testifies before a Senate Budget hearing on the administration’s fiscal 2019 budget in the Dirksen Building on Feb. 13. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Mick Mulvaney and I served on the House Financial Services Committee together for nearly four years before President Donald Trump selected him to run the Office of Management and Budget. In that time, we worked together to ensure transparency and accountability across the financial sector.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created by the Obama administration and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., with the promise of being a “strong, independent agency that levels the playing field and protects American families, seniors, students and veterans.” But in practice, the CFPB has been an unaccountable, unconstitutional, politically driven agency that has punished consumers and pushed them to riskier, unregulated financial products.

Opinion: Once Again on Immigration, a Victory for the All-Or-Nothings
With DACA tied up in the courts, the urgency for Congress to act is gone

The inability of President Donald Trump and Democrats to compromise on DACA and border security has given hard-liners on both sides of the immigration debate a win, Cardinal Brown writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When President Donald Trump travels to California later this month to view the prototype designs for a new border wall, perhaps he will take a moment to think about what could have been. Because as things stand, those eight 30-foot-long samples are the only walls likely to be built.

Trump could have had his wall. He had numerous opportunities to get it, dating all the way back to the “Chuck and Nancy” deal last fall. All he had to do was agree to something he says he wants — a permanent replacement for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program he canceled in September.

Opinion: We Built the Panama Canal. Surely We Can Fix Infrastructure
Trump’s proposal gets it just about right

While the past century was marked by building triumphs, the U.S. now faces an infrastructure crisis — and a chance to seize the next great American moment, Peterson writes. Above, reel tender Mo Laussie installs fiber-optic cable in June 2001 in Louisville, Colorado. (Michael Smith/Getty Images file photo)

Few issues have been free of partisan wrangling of late, and few occasions have inspired unified feelings of greatness in our country. Yet the public and private sectors together have an opportunity with infrastructure to chart a different course and seed the path for the next great American moment.

The past 100 years brought some remarkable triumphs in infrastructure. Railroads linked our vast nation. The Panama Canal twice transformed global commerce. The telegraph became broadband.

Opinion: Congress Likely to Ignore Parkland Teens’ Case for Action on Gun Violence
Former Rep. Forbes: Even children’s tiny caskets could not get Congress to act

Students hold flowers as they arrive for classes Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, for the first time since the Feb. 14 shooting that killed 17 people. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

As a Republican member of Congress, I was compelled to abandon my party in 1999. America’s children had been murdered in their school and the GOP, which controlled the fix to gun violence, did nothing about it.

I sat listening to the debate on gun control in the United States House of Representatives with Rep. Carolyn McCarthy of New York, whose husband had been murdered and son wounded several years earlier by a deranged gunman. It was June 19, 1999. The unspeakable tragedy of Columbine had sparked an intense debate on the House floor to do something to protect our children in the nation’s schools. After all, these were America’s children, these were all our children, our future. It could have been my child, or your child, murdered at Columbine High School.

Opinion: If Nothing Else, the Budget Act Is a Win for Chronic Care
Deficit hawks might not like the recent budget deal, but it brings hope to people living with disabilities and chronic illness

Disability rights advocates gather in the atrium of the Hart Building on July 25, 2017. This year’s bipartisan deal may have alarmed deficit hawks, but it contains provisions that give hope to people living with disabilities and chronic conditions, Hayes writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

While the recent passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 caused alarm for deficit hawks, one piece of it has given hope to those working to address the needs of people living with disabilities or chronic illness. By reshaping coverage and payment under Medicare, the CHRONIC Care Act could accomplish what decades of federal policy have not.

Now all we have to do is make sure the new law is implemented to create meaningful change.

Opinion: Infrastructure Bill Shouldn’t Ignore Our Aging Water Systems
A proper plan must invest in water and promote innovation

New York City workers pump water out of a street hole after a water main break in 2014. For many localities, the age, condition, and even the location of pipes can be a mystery until something breaks. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images file photo)

Safe drinking water is the bedrock of public health. On that score, America is failing.

From lead poisoning in Flint, Michigan, to toxic levels of arsenic found in Texas, over the past decade tens of millions of Americans have likely been exposed to dangerously unsafe water.