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Deborah Simmons — Life As It Happens

Deborah Simmons

Deborah Simmons was a senior correspondent who reported on City Hall and wrote about education, culture, sports and family-related topics.

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Senate Appropriations Committee member Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., speaks during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, April 20, 2021 in Washington. (Chip Somodevilla/Pool via AP) **FILE**

Chris Van Hollen crime-mental health bill misses mark

- The Washington Times

The key problem with Mr. Van Hollen's bill is that the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees social programs, would lead the federal pack (because of the mental health angle) to say that police are part of the problem if and when a "situation" escalates. His proposal would create a $100 million federal program to bolster local agencies that look to alternatives for a law enforcement response.

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser testifies before a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on the District of Columbia statehood bill, Monday, March 22, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Carlos Barria/Pool via AP) **FILE**

The cost of D.C. living

- The Washington Times

The cost of living in the nation's capital is on the rise, whether you want it to or not. Why? The cost of the pandemic is reaping much of the blame. Like most big cities, the District was shuffling personnel and agreements involving public, private and public-private ventures.

President Joe Biden participates virtually in the CEO Summit on Semiconductor and Supply Chain Resilience in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Monday, April 12, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

President Biden stumbles again

- The Washington Times

President Biden did it again. He stumbled on his way up, but this time instead of the stairs of Air Force One, he let his mouth get in his way. Mr. Biden weighed in on the fatal shooting this weekend of a young Black man named Daunte Wright.

In this April 28, 2020 file photo, Democrat Kweisi Mfume reacts while speaking to reporters during an election night news conference after he won the 7th Congressional District special election, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File). **FILE**

Baltimore's Kweisi Mfume waiting on federal cash

- The Washington Times

Baltimore calculates that it expects to receive $670 million from President Biden's American Rescue Plan -- and for a city whose pre-pandemic unemployment rate stood at 12% for Black residents compared to 4% for Whites, it can surely use some help. Is a rehash of the Lyndon Baines Johnson's Great Society the most effective and efficient road to travel? Rep. Kweisi Mfume seems to think so.

Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder talks with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, right, before an NFL football game between the Redskins and the Cowboys in Landover, Md., Monday, Dec. 7, 2015. (AP Photo/Mark Tenally) **FILE**

Washington Football Team's fishbowl is shrinking again

- The Washington Times

Dan Snyder is on the hit list again. This time, it's the cancel culture's Time's Up who has drawn a bull's-eye on his back. The organization, whose supporters include Hollywood bigwigs Shonda Rhimes and Mark Walhberg, say the owner of the NFL's Washington Football Team is making a power grab.

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser gives a coronavirus update at a news conference, Monday, March 15, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Summer employment or political sham?

- The Washington Times

It's that time of year again, when mayors tout their summer jobs programs — and how things will turn out during the second summer of the COVID-19 pandemic is as uncertain as the first and as questionable as school openings.

President Joe Biden and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, right, meet with Vice President Kamala Harris and members of the House of Representatives in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Thursday, March 4, 2021, on infrastructure. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) **FILE **

Who's going to rebuild our infrastructure?

- The Washington Times

Mayors and governors, in particular, love ribbon-cutting ceremonies. President Biden is no different. Mr. Biden calls his infrastructure plan the "Build Back Better Plan." But it's really not a plan. It's a vision. Mr. Biden's vision to live "greener."

First lady Jill Biden speaks with students as she tours Fort LeBoeuf Middle School in Waterford, Pa., Wednesday, March 3, 2021. (Mandel Ngan/Pool via AP) **FILE**

Ask questions before schools reopen

- The Washington Times

Now that President Biden has signed the $1.9 trillion stimulus package and speechified during prime time, it's time for average Americans to ask a few sensible and detailed questions.

In this image made from video, an empty classroom is shown at David Ellis Academy in Detroit, Monday, Feb. 8, 2021. It's coming up on a year since most of the students at the pre-K through 8th grade public charter school last had an in-person school day. (AP Photo/Mike Householder) ** FILE **

Schools must leave no child behind

- The Washington Times

Students registered in public school systems around the nation are "missing" school due to closures blamed on COVID-19. But that the very public education systems designed to rescue children and save them from themselves leave kids behind is jolting.

Fourth grade teacher Kelly Brant stands in her classroom as she talks to her students who were learning remotely Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021 at Park Brook Elementary School in Brooklyn Park, Minn. While prekindergarten through second grade students returned for in-person learning, the older elementary students will return to the building for class in February. (Christine T. Nguyen/Minnesota Public Radio via AP)

A pop quiz on education

- The Washington Times

Forget, momentarily, that Joe Biden is president; Nancy Pelosi is the speaker of the House of Representatives, which controls the nation's purse strings; Chuck Schumer of New York rules the Senate roost; and a relatively unknown union leader oversees the federal Department of Education.

Save D.C.'s music history

- The Washington Times

The global music scene ain't what it used to be. Indeed, if DJ D-Nice hadn't taken to online music airwaves from his kitchen in March as the world shut down clubs, bars and concerts because of COVID-19, we all would have been deprived of one of the few things that unite us.

President-elect Joe Biden speaks during an event at The Queen theater, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Wear the mask and do as I say

- The Washington Times

To lean in on the words of Donald John Trump, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. is a "swamp" creature, a member of the silent generation who's waded in Washington waters since 1973.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., speaks to reporters during a news conference, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) **FILE**

Who does Chuck Schumer mean by 'we?'

- The Washington Times

A lot depends on what Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer do in the next few weeks and months. All four will be trying to placate young people, who have been moved to protest for the past couple of years and allowed to skip school in the name of free speech and civics lessons.