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Jennifer Harper

Jennifer Harper

To read Jennifer Harper's Inside the Beltway columns, click here. Contact her at

Articles by Jennifer Harper

Alaskan countryside  (photo from State of Alaska)

Alaska's language challenge: translating tax forms into Siberian Yupik (at $50 an hour)

Alaska is currently wrestling with a native language challenge: how to translate the state's longest tax measure for local populations? Due on the public ballot in August, the tax forms and informational pamphlet that accompanies the measure are some 50 pages long - and both documents must be translated into Yup'ik, Inupiak, Siberian Yupik, Koyukon Athabascan and Gwich'in Athabascan - the local dialects in the region. Published July 29, 2014

** Former President Ronald Reagan. (Courtesy of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library)

Third time the charm? Americans wish certain presidents had stayed beyond two terms

For some presidents, once is enough in the White House. A lucky few managed to eke out two terms, and only one stayed on for four. And while Americans get a little nervous when it comes to multiple presidential terms, a substantial amount still wish that certain presidents had stayed on beyond their eight years in the big mansion on Pennsylvania Avenue. Published July 28, 2014

Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, New York Democrat, are condemning the use of human shields in armed conflicts. (Associated Press)

Inside the Beltway: Republican posse rides out to fire Harry Reid

When Republicans talk about "43" on Tuesday, they won't be referring to George W. Bush. They will be referring instead to the 43 bills passed by the House that are languishing on the hallowed — or hollow — desk of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Now it's pushback time. Published July 28, 2014

Jane Hampton Cook was inspired to write a book about "The Star-Spangled Banner" after a sports network said it should be omitted from public events. (Vita Images)

Inside the Beltway: Just a little media protection for the White House

Broadcasters have offered lengthy broadcasts about Gaza and Ukraine but scant criticism about the White House role in the double crises. On the "Big Three" networks, in fact, the criticism amounted to less than a minute — in almost six hours of recent news coverage. Published July 24, 2014

A battlefield site in Monmouth, New Jersey. (National Park Service photo)

Some federal help for old American battlefields: $1.3 million to spruce them up

This might be some federal funding that even the most frugal patriot would approve of. The National Park Service has awarded $1.3 million in preservation grants to help protect, document and interpret 75 of America’s significant battlefield lands. Time and urban progress have taken their toll on such sites, which are heavy with history. Published July 24, 2014

** FILE ** Former Rep. Ron Paul describes his new website as a "digital bully pulpit" for early-stage political ideas. (Associated Press)

Inside the Beltway: Frugal-phobic Congress offers 828 spending bills

Old habits die hard. During the first session of the 113th Congress, members of the U.S. House authored 496 spending bills, compared with 112 bills that would save money. U.S. senators, meanwhile, drafted 332 increase bills and 56 savings bills. Published July 23, 2014

Former New Jersey Republican Gov. Thomas H. Keane (left) and former Rep. Lee H. Hamilton, Indiana Democrat, have overseen a follow-up to the 9/11 Commission Report.  (Associated Press)

Inside the Beltway: The evolving White House deflection strategy

Press and public are aware that President Obama will appear at five Democratic fundraisers by the time Thursday rolls around, despite alarming events here and abroad. Initially, the White House reasoned that in times of unrest, business as usual rather than crisis management was the tactic of choice on the world stage. But that's not quite good enough now. Published July 22, 2014

Arkansas gubernatorial hopeful Asa Hutchison has drawn support from GOP powerhouses Mitt Romney and Chris Christie, who will campaign for him in the state next month.

Inside the Beltway: White House fundraising — never a dull moment

Learned presidential advisers reason that in times of international turmoil, it's better for the White House to conduct business as usual rather than shift into crisis mode. Who needs it? With that in mind, perhaps, President Obama is off on a West Coast fundraising jaunt on Tuesday. So fire up Air Force One, please; he journeys to Seattle for two private fundraisers on behalf of the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee. The locations are swank waterfront homes, the guests number in the hundreds, tickets run as high as $32,400 and the hosts include Costco founder Jim Sinegal. Published July 21, 2014

When it comes to unaccompanied minors crossing into the U.S. illegally, Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, has kind words but stern policy proposals. (Associated Press)

Inside the Beltway: Putin popularity soars in Russia

Americans might do well to review the pivotal points of the Cold War when the old Soviet Union was in full aggressive posture, billed as a "bear" on the public stage. Russia appears to be looking for a repeat performance while new polling reveals a confident population, suggesting that persistent rumors of "Cold War Nostalgia" in the nation could be genuine. Some current numbers: President Vladimir Putin now has an 83 percent approval rating among Russians — his best numbers in years, this according to a Gallup poll of face-to-face interviews with 2,000 Russians released Friday. Published July 20, 2014

Chris Christie

The Republican parade begins: Eight GOP heavyweights head to Iowa

With the Bridgegate scandal in his rear view mirror, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been re-establishing his public presence, and now visits Iowa with much on his agenda. He is just the start of a long parade of Republicans who will journey to the state in the next few weeks, led by Sen. Rand Paul and Gov. Rick Perry, among many others. Published July 17, 2014

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is heading to political fundraising events in Iowa.  (AP Photo/Mel Evans, file)

Inside the Beltway: The 2016 fringe candidates come a-runnin'

The outsiders, the also-rans, the determined individualists — the Federal Election Commission has been besieged by presidential candidate filings from lesser-known Americans in "a massive uptick" compared to the 2012 presidential race. Published July 16, 2014

Image from

Ready to rumble: Ready for Warren Vs. Ready for Hillary

Looks like the high profile political action committee Ready for Hillary has some company. Launched Tuesday, is a new campaign website to support a potential presidential run by Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Published July 16, 2014

National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee has raised $7.2 million, though the good doctor has not yet committed to making a run for the White House. (The Washington Times)

Inside the Beltway: America still dreams of 'President' Ben Carson

There's something about Ben Carson that gives many Americans great pause. Perhaps it is his plainspoken logic and calm demeanor that resonates with those who wish the former pediatric neurosurgeon and best-selling author would run for president. They are willing to put their money where their thoughts are. In less than a year, the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee has raised $7.2 million; Dr. Carson is not involved with this new political action committee, which now boasts 95,000 individual donors and 17,000 volunteers. Published July 15, 2014

** FILE ** Vice President Joe Biden addresses the Roosevelt Institute Honors after receiving the groups Freedom Medal, the institutes highest honor, during a dinner in Washington, Thursday, July 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Progressive-Palooza: Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren head to 'Netroots Nation' this week

It must be an election year - which could worry one political party in particular. Vice President Joe Biden himself is among the Democratic heavyweights who will attend Netroots Nation, which begins on Thursday in Detroit and is billed as "the largest gathering of progressives and the Democratic activist base" by organizers. Published July 15, 2014

Texas Gov. Rick Perry will meet with President Obama in Dallas to discuss the situation at the state's border with Mexico.  (Associated Press)

Rick Perry's burden: Texas already spent $500 million on border crisis

Critics say Texas Gov. Rick Perry is trying to politicize the border crisis only to bolster a potential White House run in 2016. Yes, there could be some of that going on, but Mr. Perry also has a succinct reason for speaking out, loudly and often, about the surge of young illegal immigrants: The Lone Star State has already spent a half-billion dollars on the situation. Published July 14, 2014