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Keystone Debate Will Test New Senate GOP Majority

January 12, 2015 The Senate will see a lot of firsts this week. The debate over authorizing the Keystone XL pipeline will officially begin on Monday with the chamber's first vote in this Congress to proceed on major legislation. The motion will need 60 votes, but that will be easily accomplished: Six Democrats ...

As GOP Takes Over, Major Policy Debates Loom

January 6, 2015 The first day of the new Senate is a field day for photographers and gossip columnists. There is a lot of pomp and tradition and a few housekeeping details to take care of—small things like officially putting the legislative session into motion by agreeing on a date when lawmakers can ...

The Scheduling App That Lets Health Care Workers Pick Their Own Shifts

December 9, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow When Erica Kilpatrick talks about her workplace, she uses language every human-resources manager dreams of: "It's definitely a place I want to stay, within the WellStar system, probably for the rest of my career." How many employers get to hear that? Especially in the health care sector, which is constantly ...

Obama's Proposed Executive Action Doesn't Touch the Roots of Immigration Dysfunction

November 17, 2014 On immigration, President Obama is proffering an aspirin for a headache whose source will remain long after the pill's effects wear off. It will provide temporary relief to some but be the cause of new pains. Such is the limitation of executive action. The three areas where the president is ...

Should Schools Mandate Computer-Coding Classes?

October 27, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow It's happening in Chicago. Last year, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that Chicago Public Schools will include an introductory computer-science class in every high school. These classes are supposed to be in place by the end of next year. Over the next three years, the district also is expected to implement ...

Congress Fiddles While Border Crisis Grows

July 18, 2014 Politics and pessimism on Thursday overtook any possibility of a swift congressional response to the flood of unaccompanied, undocumented children at the U.S.-Mexico border, as the House and Senate continued moving toward dramatically different approaches. Questions and debate swirl around contentious policies, as well as the amount of emergency funding ...

House Passes Highway Bill—But Nobody is Very Happy About It

July 16, 2014 Nearly as many House Republicans as Democrats voted on Tuesday to pass a bill to keep federal highway projects temporarily running into the next Congress, despite pressure from two influential outside conservative groups to oppose the measure. Approved in an overwhelming 367 to 55 vote, the bill would provide $10.8 ...

The Problem With Asking Congress for Money for the Border

July 9, 2014 Asking for money from Congress is dangerous. President Obama requested $3.7 billion on Tuesday to address the surge of unaccompanied minors on the Rio Grande border. Now Republicans have leverage, and they have a few requests of their own. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida wants to require employers to verify ...

The Uncontroversial Policies at the Heart of the Border Crisis

July 8, 2014 The situation at the U.S.-Mexico border has ballooned, politically and logistically. President Obama has declared it an emergency and is asking Congress for $2 billion to handle the care, processing, and adjudication of tens of thousands of Central American unaccompanied minors who have been apprehended at the border in the ...

Should Consumers Bear the Cost to Upgrade the Grid?

March 17, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Given that it will cost upward of $4 trillion over the next 20 years to modernize electricity, gas, and water lines, is it OK to allow utilities to tack on extra charges to customers' bills to pay for those upgrades? How can customers voice their opinions? The first question is ...