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Opinion: Trump’s Political Retribution Threatens Palestinian Lives and Israeli Security
We can’t allow bruised egos to endanger our nation’s interests

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip carry bags of provisions after unloading them from a truck at an UNRWA distribution center in 2004. (Ahmad Khateib/Getty Images file photo)

The Trump administration’s decision to withhold funding from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, or UNRWA, abandons millions of vulnerable refugees, jeopardizes Israel’s security and undermines the credibility and interests of the United States in the Middle East.

Since 1949, UNRWA has provided health care, education, stable housing and other vital services to Palestinians displaced by conflict who live in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian territories. While the United Nations, the European Union and other governmental and private-sector partners also fund UNRWA, the United States has historically been the largest single contributor.

Opinion: America Doesn’t Care How the Sausage Is Made
Both parties need to outline the outcomes of their policies first

Speaker Paul D. Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy at a news conference in March 2017. It was easy for Republicans to call for repealing the 2010 health care law, but defining its replacement and the outcomes it would deliver was harder, Winston writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Process rather than outcome has become the new definition of governing in D.C. and that’s not good for America.

The inside story of how a controversial bill is passed or a presidential decision is reached has historical value. But when day-to-day political discourse thrives on gossipy renditions of process as we see now rather than focusing on the outcomes these actions will deliver, a disillusioned electorate is the unfortunate consequence.

Opinion: The Russians — and the Midterms — Are Coming
U.S. elections are vulnerable, and that needs to change

A march near the Kremlin in 2015 honors Russian opposition leader and former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, a fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin who was fatally shot shortly before a major opposition rally. Reps. Bennie Thompson and Robert A. Brady warn against Russian meddling in future U.S. elections. (Alexander Aksakov/Getty Images file photo)

In November 2016, 139 million Americans cast their votes in the wake of a massive Russian cyber-enabled operation to influence the outcome of the presidential election.

The Kremlin spread disinformation through hundreds of thousands of social media posts. Russian agents hacked U.S. political organizations and selectively exposed sensitive information. Russia targeted voting systems in at least 21 states, seeking to infiltrate the networks of voting equipment vendors, political parties and at least one local election board.

Opinion: Budget Deal Gives New Meaning to ‘March Madness’
Upcoming March deadlines point to a budget process in shambles

The Trump administration’s fiscal 2018 budget plan was effectively ignored by Congress, which adopted its own blueprint with the sole focus of getting a tax bill through, Hoagland writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Green shoots of bipartisanship are sprouting on Capitol Hill. A lengthy government shutdown or worse — a default on paying our debt — has been avoided with the two-year budget agreement.

Congress must now fill in the account-level details to fulfill the $1.2 trillion spending “agreement” before the current continuing resolution runs out on March 23. Combining this year’s final appropriation actions with the president’s March 5 deadline for the Deferred Arrivals for Childhood Arrivals program will give new meaning to “March Madness.”

Opinion: They Voted for Caps. Now They Want More Defense Spending
Sequestration was supposed to be so simple, but all it did was make a giant mess for defense

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry is among the many lawmakers who voted for sequestration in the form of the Budget Control Act of 2011 but who now call for hikes in defense spending. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump in his State of the Union address asked Congress to lift the “sequester cap” on defense spending. That same week, a bipartisan majority in the House, in a symbolic but important act, voted to reaffirm a cap-busting defense level for fiscal 2018. So the expectation is that defense spending will increase this year.

Leave aside for a moment the increasingly embarrassing spectacle of a Congress unable to carry out one of its most basic constitutional tasks — appropriating money to fund the government — and consider what comes next. If the fiscal 2018 defense bill ever becomes law, how will the additional money be spent?

Opinion: Is There Room for Science and Evidence in Trump’s Budget?
Administration should not ignore this key protocol in policymaking

President Donald Trump would be wise to follow the model of his predecessors, including Barack Obama, in using science and evidence in his budget’s policy proposals, Hart and Shea write. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

More than a year after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, it is surprisingly difficult to know where the administration stands in the debate about evidence-based policymaking. Inconsistent signals across government agencies suggest the lack of a uniform philosophy about how science and evidence inform policy decisions that affect the American public.

Policymaking informed by evidence can improve outcomes, make public policies more effective and efficient, and help restore flagging trust in our government institutions. Because of the existing bipartisan support for evidence-based policymaking, we remain optimistic that the administration can and will responsibly support the use of science and evidence.

Opinion: Let’s Build Something Great Together
Trump and Congress should work toward a 21st century infrastructure system

The Trump administration is expected to prioritize ways to encourage investment in infrastructure, Rep. Sam Graves writes. (David McNew/Getty Images file photo)

2017 was a record year for our economy. Thanks to tax reform, and this administration’s aggressive regulatory reduction, our economy is growing at an exponential rate. 2018 presents a great opportunity to push the throttle on our economic growth as we move to our next big priority: infrastructure.

Infrastructure is pure commerce. Everything in this country moves. So an efficient transportation network is vital to our economic future. However, federal funding for infrastructure is not unlimited.

Opinion: Cutting Ribbons Won’t Do Anything for Infrastructure
What’s needed is a wholesale change

Planners should think twice before reaching for the ceremonial scissors, Nellenbach writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Trump has repeatedly made the case for a comprehensive infrastructure package. He did so on the campaign trail, and he has kept up the drumbeat in the Oval Office. As his administration prepares to issue its proposal for revamping the nation’s creaky transportation systems, aging waterways and inadequate broadband, it should zero in on two key problems.

First is shortsighted spending. The federal government spends hundreds of billions of dollars every year on infrastructure. Roughly two-thirds of that spending pays for new, improved or rehabilitated structures as opposed to their everyday operation and maintenance — costs that are mostly borne by state and local governments. For far too long, the federal government has poured money into new construction without an eye to what happens after the ribbons are cut.   

Opinion: Congress, It’s Time to Heal Thyself. Here’s How
Nine ways to restore public trust and its self-dignity

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, left, talks to West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin III on Thursday while holding the “talking stick” used by senators in private meetings that helped end the recent government shutdown. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

How much lower can Congress’ reputation sink before some sense of urgency — fueled by self-preservation or simply self-respect — convinces leaders that “something” has to change?

The comparative yawn that greeted the latest government shutdown reveals how shockingly little the public now expects from Congress. The recent Edelman Trust Barometer found that trust in major institutions fell more sharply in the United States than in any of the other 28 countries surveyed. The share of Americans expressing faith in their government fell 14 points in the past year, to an alarming 33 percent.

Opinion: As Military Budget Grows, Civil-Military Divide Remains
Current defense policies risk alienating servicemembers and potential recruits

A boy sits on his veteran father’s shoulders during the New York City Veterans Day Parade on Nov. 11, 2016. Interest in military service is dropping among American youth. (Michael Loccisano/Getty Images file photo)

The most important resource for America’s military isn’t money. It’s the men and women who volunteer to serve.

But current defense policies risk alienating those very people who are now in the military and those we hope will join in the future.