Latest Commentary

Only Congress has the power to avert the coming constitutional crises

As the government shutdown enters its second week, the reasons for it are increasingly unclear as even obdurate House Republicans acknowledge that their goal of undermining the Affordable Care Act...

Nothing intractable behind government shutdown

Congress is not faced with an intractable problem that prevents the House and Senate from passing a continuing resolution that would fund the federal government and prevent the government shutdown...

Four more days before the government runs out of money

Barring an extension, there are four more legislative days in the House of Representatives before the fiscal year ends, and large parts of the federal government run out of money to operate. When...

You don't need a veteran family member to do good work at the VA

There's many reasons to be critical of the Veterans Affairs Department – sclerotic management, a mishandled outbreak of Legionnaire's disease at a VA hospital, slow benefits...

Independent verification for SDVOSBs and VOSBs needed across government

An effort by the House Small Business Committee to transfer verification of small business veteran businesses to the Small Business Administration is laudable – but could go further. At issue is the fact that the Veterans Affairs Department alone of all federal agencies requires independent verification of veteran-owned small business status before being willing to enter into a set-aside contract with such a business.

Bid protests' positive role in federal procurement

In the wake of a bid protest filed by two losing companies in the Navy's massive $3.45 billion Next Generation Enterprise Network procurement, a bit of the usual time-worn hand-wringing about...

Government secrecy undermines the good of federal programs

The federal government, I've argued before, is mostly a force for good in American society. It played vital roles in desegregation. Its social net programs ensure that the United States is more than a market of consumers, but a society that protects its vulnerable (something that's vital for the long-term survival of that market, as well, although those who would support poverty alleviation for utilitarian purposes only lack a soul). Its ability to regulate across the nation ensures modicums of basic safety and health standards at home and at work.

OPM memo on same-sex couple benefits a reminder of the federal role in equal rights

The ideals of the United States, although universally egalitarian from the very start, have taken some time to propagate to all its citizens. The Supreme Court's decision to strike down the...

The political appointee impulse for reorganizing

Political appointees tend easily to see their new agencies as nests of inefficiency only they can fix through reorganization. The fact of a new political appointee believing that only his or her...

Tangherlini sets GSA up for failure

Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini has an ambitious goal for the General Services Administration: He wants to federal agencies to use it to buy goods and services 90 percent of the time by the end...