opinion

Opinion: My ‘Family Leave’ Was a Well-Timed Government Shutdown
Yes, I worked at the White House. But before all that, I am a father

Mothers protest at the Capitol during the government shutdown of 2013. For some new parents, the shutdown brought an unexpected chance to spend time with their children — but luck isn’t much of a family leave policy, Jenkins writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

This Father’s Day, I thought a lot about what it means to be a good father. You see, in my mind, I am a father first.

Yes, I worked at the White House. Yes, I now work for Will Ferrell’s Funny Or Die. Yes, I am a sad New York Mets fan. But before all of these things, I am a father. It’s the most important job I will ever have. Unfortunately, in today’s America, considering yourself a “father first” is not always expected by employers or society at large.

Opinion: Higher Education in America Finds Itself on a Slippery Slope
Our great research universities risk getting left behind

As support for our educational system becomes increasingly politicized, a significant number of people are now questioning the very worth of a higher education, Augustine writes. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images file photo)

A decade ago I chaired a committee that was established on a bipartisan basis by members of the House and Senate to assess America’s future economic competitiveness. The committee’s 20 members included CEOs of Fortune 100 companies, former presidential appointees, presidents of major public and private universities and three Nobel laureates. Upon completion of our work, two of our members joined the then-president’s Cabinet, one as secretary of Energy and the other as secretary of Defense.

The document we produced, which became known as the “Gathering Storm Report,” concluded that the top two priorities for America to remain competitive in the global marketplace were to strengthen education and to double our investment in basic research.

Opinion: Work Requirements Don’t Actually Work
They do nothing to reduce poverty or address the underlying economic inequality

Demonstrators at a news conference with faith leaders on Capitol Hill on May 7. A growing body of social science research shows that work requirements do nothing to reduce poverty, DeLauro and Sánchez write. (Sarah Silbiger /CQ Roll Call file photo)

Under the guise of “promoting work” and “reform,” the Trump administration and congressional Republicans are seeking radical changes to the way we fight poverty in America.

Let us not be fooled, Republican proposals that tie strict so-called work requirements to anti-poverty programs are designed to make it harder for people to access basic services such as health care, nutrition and housing.

Opinion: Ignore the Hyperbole, Encouraging Work Is a Worthy Goal
Work requirements and other reforms offer a pathway out of poverty for many

Job seekers fill out registration forms at a career fair in San Francisco in 2015. The House Republican farm bill directs a significant portion of existing SNAP funds into job training programs for eligible adults, Thompson writes. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images file photo)

The economy is soaring and unemployment is at its lowest point in more than a decade. Despite this good news, far too many Americans find themselves out of the workforce or lacking the skills needed to land a good-paying job.

Yet there are more than six million job openings throughout the country.

Opinion: Supreme Court Resurrects the ‘Purge,’ and McConnell Saw It Coming
Majority leader’s power move is paying off for GOP as court reaches into the voting booth

A man protests in front of the Supreme Court in January during oral arguments in a voter roll purge case out of Ohio. The court’s ruling this week breathes new life into suppression efforts, Curtis writes. (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

It was a brilliant and, opponents would say, devious move by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: Stall, obstruct and block President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court replacement for the late Antonin Scalia.

That pick, Judge Merrick Garland, once a thoroughly acceptable and moderate choice to many Republicans, never had a chance in a ramped-up partisan atmosphere. Instead, the next president, Donald Trump, appointed conservative Neil Gorsuch, with immediate and long-lasting repercussions, this week reaching into the voting booth.

Opinion: Verdict on Singapore — Better Real Estate Deals Than Bombing Runs
Summit hype and hoopla may have the lasting significance of an infrastructure week

People at a railway station in Seoul, South Korea, watch a TV report of President Donald Trump’s meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

For a president who normally adheres to his own doctrine of infallibility, Donald Trump displayed a few flickering moments of uncertainty in the aftermath of the Singapore summit.

Asked by George Stephanopoulos in an ABC interview whether he trusts Kim Jong Un to dismantle his nuclear program, Trump replied, “I do trust him, yeah. Now, will I come back to you in a year and you’ll be interviewing and I’ll say, ‘Gee, I made mistake?’ That’s always possible.”

Opinion: Beware the Dog Days of August
A critical month to figure out which party has the initiative into the fall

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks to his Capitol office after the Republican Senate policy lunch that took place at the National Republican Senatorial Committee on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Nothing happens in August, right? At least that’s always the usual explanation for the mass exodus that leaves Washington nearly uninhabited for much of D.C.’s dog days.

But actually, throughout history, August has been a month of big events, especially in the realm of politics and war. The Brits burned Washington, and World War I started with the “Guns of August.” Women got the right to vote. Social Security became law, and we dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

Opinion: Veterans Helping Veterans — Why Peer Support Should Be Expanded
A familiar face makes a world of difference in caring for veterans

A Veterans Affairs hospital in Phoenix. The department’s peer specialists bring humanity to the care veterans receive, Peters and Coffman write. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images file photo)

“You mean it gets better?” a female veteran asks Olga, a certified peer specialist working at the Department of Veterans Affairs. For the last decade, Olga has served as an integral part of the VA’s peer specialist program in Dallas. After going through the dizzying process herself as an Army veteran, she wondered how other veterans experiencing severe mental health episodes were managing to get the care they needed.

Now, Olga spends her time connecting with other veterans to help steer them through the VA’s web of mental health care services. She is part of a workforce of more than 1,100 peer specialists who help veterans in department facilities across the country, including 25 VA primary care sites. This program provides veterans with a trusted guide to navigate the system: a fellow veteran who has gone through the same journey to wellness. Peer specialists supplement traditional care practices, such as counseling or group therapy, and work in patient-aligned care teams to meet the needs of each veteran.

Opinion: Trump’s Gigantic Trade Straw Is Breaking the GOP’s Back
Republicans may need to finally stand up to Trump to defend their states

President Donald Trump gives a thumbs-up to the media as he is greeted by Canadian Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau during the G-7 official welcome Friday in Quebec City. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Donald Trump might be the first American to pick a fight with a Canadian in the history of the world.

After the G-7 meetings over the weekend, where Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he found Trump’s trade posture toward Canada “insulting,” Trump tweeted Sunday that Trudeau was “very dishonest & weak.” Larry Kudlow, the president’s economic adviser, finished the pile-on by accusing Trudeau of “betrayal,” while Trump’s new trade adviser, Peter Navarro, said later on Fox News Sunday that Trudeau is a back-stabber who “engaged in bad faith” and deserves a special place in hell.

Opinion: It’s the Summer of No Love for American Tourism
The economy is part of the immigration debate, whether we like it or not

America’s tourism industry has taken a hit in the Trump era, and that could spell trouble for the economy, Megan and Brown write. Above, travelers arrive at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport in April. (Scott Olson/Getty Images file photo)

Graduation season is wrapping up and summer vacation season is just beginning, rites of passage enjoyed by Americans and visitors alike. Foreign tourists flock to America’s beaches, parks and cities, and students travel from all over the world to study in our world-class universities. But data suggests this summer may bring fewer of both.

Tourists and students account for roughly 80 percent of total non-immigrant visas issued by the U.S. each year. They spur demand for goods and services, which pads economic growth and helps to power the tourism industry and higher education system.