Sunday, June 24, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Finally, common sense in the Senate

It took the Democrats' threat to change Senate filibuster rules, but senators from both political parties came to their senses, and the logjam has broken over the confirmation of President Barack Obama's nominees. That is healthy for the Senate, and it is healthy for taxpayers who deserve a stable government with secure leaders running federal agencies and panels. Now lawmakers should build on this breakthrough and avoid another partisan stalemate that fuels distrust of Washington.

By the end of today, the Senate will have confirmed Fred Hochberg to head the Export-Import Bank, Gina McCarthy to run the Environmental Protection Agency and Tom Perez to head the Department of Labor. They follow Tuesday's long-stalled confirmation of Richard Cordray as the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Obama nominated Cordray two years ago, but Senate Republicans held up his confirmation because they dislike the protection bureau and the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reforms that created it. Disliking the role of a federal agency is no reason to hold up the confirmation of the person the president wants to run it.

The consumer protection bureau already has been be producing solid results. As Obama pointed out Wednesday, the bureau has dealt with more than 175,000 complaints from consumers on issues ranging from mortgages to student loans to debt collectors. Understandable information is easier to obtain about student loans and credit card forms, and veterans and seniors are better protected from scams. Yet without a director who had been confirmed by the Senate, the bureau was unable to use its full power to regulate transactions between borrowers and lenders.

As part of the agreement to avoid changing the filibuster rules, the Democrats agreed to stop supporting two of Obama's recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board and the president nominated two replacements. The NLRB has been operating with a cloud over its actions since the president's recess appointments to the board were found unconstitutional by a federal appellate court, and the issue will be reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court. A functioning NLRB, which investigates allegations of unfair labor practices, is an important protection for workers who may be exploited by their employers.

It should not take a manufactured crisis to force the end of partisan maneuvering. The president will be nominating a new secretary for the Department of Homeland Security and a number of federal appeals court judges. Those nominations will deserve a fair confirmation Senate process that builds on this week's detente, and they should not be held up by filibuster threats that serve no purpose other than to obstruct.

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Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

Itís hard to pick the biggest outrage in the financial and ethical swamp that has swallowed Tampa Bayís two primary job placement agencies, CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay. Is it the boiler room atmosphere where CareerSource recruite...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Family separation crisis is not over

The family-separation crisis that President Donald Trump created is not over. The executive order Trump signed Wednesday purporting to end the routine tearing of children from their undocumented parents stands on uncertain legal ground. U.S. border a...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

Veterans can help veterans deal with trauma resulting from military service in a way no one else can. Thatís the theory behind a special hotline set up in the Tampa Bay area that proponents are hoping to take statewide.The expansion would cost some $...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

It turns out the U.S. Supreme Court has a better grasp of the economic realities of the 21st century than Congress or the Florida Legislature. The court ruled Thursday that states can require online retailers to collect sales taxes even if the retail...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

The shocking scenes of immigrant children crying after being taken from their parents at the border exposed a new level of cruelty by the Trump administration, and though the president reversed course Wednesday, Congress needs to end the shameful pra...
Published: 06/21/18
Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Good job, Jeff Sessions! It seems the attorney generalís misguided attempts to revive the unpopular and unjust federal war on marijuana may be having the exact opposite effect ó prompting a new bipartisan effort in Congress to allow states to legaliz...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Editorial: A court victory for protecting Floridaís environment

Editorial: A court victory for protecting Floridaís environment

A Tallahassee judge has affirmed the overwhelming intent of Florida voters by ruling that state lawmakers have failed to comply with a constitutional amendment that is supposed to provide a specific pot of money to buy and preserve endangered lands. ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18