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Entitlement spending should be done wisely to protect fiscal health

I read with great interest Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s thoughtful and well-written April 14 commentary, “Time to invest in our fiscal health.”

I appreciate Rep. Maloney’s forward-looking focus on investment in infrastructure and education. The Consumer Technology Association shares concerns about our lack of long-term investment and the fact that discretionary spending is increasingly squeezed by interest payments and promised benefits. For these reasons, we supported the recommendations of the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, and as a policy we do not seek government funding for our industry.

{mosads}We also agree that economic growth is the panacea for helping shrink the deficit. Growth comes from jobs. And new jobs spring from innovation. That’s why we encourage pro-growth strategies like expanding highly skilled immigration entry and entering trade agreements that cut tariffs. Issues like these that are critical to the tech economy took center stage during CTA’s Tech Week, where dozens of tech business owners and industry leaders converged on Capitol Hill to urge pro-innovation policies.

But while keeping entitlements “off the table” is a great slogan, I can’t help but wonder why Congress can’t ensure we spend entitlement money more wisely. If we allowed drugs to be bought in Canada, if we encouraged Americans getting drivers licenses to state their end-of-life intentions, if we stopped incentivizing doctors to use the most expensive drugs, and if we banned secret rebates from drug companies to doctors, we would annually have tens of billions of dollars more to invest in infrastructure and education.

Please keep focusing on our long-term future.

From Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, Consumer Technology Association, Arlington, Va.


To hold senators accountable, we should consider impeachment

There is no rule that prevents a U.S. senator from being impeached. This is a procedure that the public has failed to exercise. Perhaps that is why Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other senators feel they are untouchable and have failed to engage in their constitutional duties consistent with their public trust. 

McConnell has stated the people should have a voice in the next appointment to the Supreme Court and wait until the next president is elected. He has dismissed the results of the 2012 presidential and congressional elections, and since the election of Barack Obama in 2008, McConnell and colleagues have attempted to delegitimize Obama’s presidency. Now, the Senate is steadfastly refusing to consider the nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. 

To justify his position, McConnell has cited the “Biden Rule.” Little does he realize that rule does not supersede Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution. The role of the Senate is to advise and consent, not to obstruct. 

McConnell and colleagues have never believed the elections of 2008 and 2012 represented the voice of the people because they elected Obama as president. For obvious political reasons, they feel the 2016 election will be more representative of the voice of the people. But important issues before the Supreme Court should not be deferred. Perhaps McConnell and others should agree to not receive a salary for the next 11 months since they have refused to exercise their constitutional responsibilities.

The Senate is for the American people, and each senator should be held accountable for his or her actions. A justifiable case can be argued for the impeachment of McConnell and colleagues because they have violated the public trust of the American people. It is time to make them accountable. 

From W. Sherman Jackson, Miami 

Tags Barack Obama Mitch McConnell

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