Sens. Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein recently introduced the Stop the Importation and Trafficking of Synthetic Analogues (SITSA) Act of 2017. This act would create a “Schedule A” classification, banning importing new synthetic drugs deemed “substantially similar” to existing illegal drugs before testing their safety. If passed, the SITSA Act will be another step down the unfruitful path of prohibition.
Prohibiting a drug causes more problems than it solves. When a substance is banned, people can no longer rely on the government to enforce contracts for the sale and transport of the substance. This means that the only way to protect property and selling rights is through violence. Drugs don’t cause violent crime—prohibition does.
Read more at: The NY Observer
On Tuesday, OMB Director Mick Mulvaney unveiled President Trump’s latest budget proposal. While it includes cuts across a variety of discretionary programs, it also reforms one of the largest healthcare entitlements: Medicaid.
The budget, officially titled “A New Foundation for American Greatness,” would offer states the choice to cap Medicaid funding through a per-capita spending allotment or a block grant for the entire program. In addition, states will receive “more flexibility to control costs and design individual, State-based solutions to provide better care to Medicaid beneficiaries.”
Continue reading in The Washington Examiner
In response to pressure from the Obama administration, the Department of Education proposed an amendment to the regulation governing debt relief for federal student loans. The proposed amendment could have a severe economic impact, with the Department of Education estimating that the new regulation could cost taxpayers up to $43 billion over the next 10 years.
The current regulation was introduced to protect students from being victimized by colleges or universities. The regulation provided borrowers who had been deceived by schools an opportunity to avoid repaying their student loans. In its amended form, however, the regulation’s language is so vague that there is a real danger of it being interpreted too broadly, leaving colleges and universities vulnerable to meritless claims.
The proposed rule would make schools responsible for repaying the loans of their students if the institution is found to have made a “substantial misrepresentation.” This overly broad phrase is defined as a “statement” or “omission” with a “likelihood or tendency to mislead under the circumstances.”
In contrast, the legal definition of fraud is narrow. Fraud exists when a person with the “intent to deceive” causes financial harm. The new rule extends far beyond that.
The proposed rule’s substantial misrepresentation provision does not require intentional misconduct by the school. This omission could cause academic institutions to face claims brought by former students who feel entitled to certain job prospects or salary expectations. If, for example, a statistic such as the average salary of alumni is skewed by an outlier, the school may be liable for students’ loans.
Continue reading at The Hill.
The decision to go to war is the most consequential and serious choice a government ever has to make.
Recently, the United Kingdom’s House of Commons voted 397 to 223 in favor of bombing Syria, with the main purpose of combating the Islamic State (ISIS). More important than the decision is the fact that it was reached democratically, and that there was ample time for lawmakers to consider their position, with the debate lasting around 10 hours.
The United States should take note of this respect for the democratic process. Like Her Majesty’s Government, the US legislature should debate the pros and cons of military action, and not allow such a profound decision to be made by the president alone.
This is exactly what the Constitution intended. While there is legitimate debate about how to interpret other parts of our founding document, Article 1, Section 8 unquestionably gives the power to declare war to Congress.
Read the rest on the PanAm Post here.
The nation’s highway fund is running out of money. This is not news to readers of the DC Leviathan, but the case remains that transportation funding is still one of the nation’s most pressing issues.
Faced with a looming legislative deadline, representatives on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee have introduced the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015, or STRR Act.
The bill proposes about US$16 billion less spending over six years than its Senate counterpart, and includes a number of welcome regulatory reforms. A few of these will remove layers of red tape which slow the building of new transportation projects.
Read the rest on the PanAm Post here.