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This Week in Washington - July 16, 2019

July 16, 2019

Late June and early July thunderstorms have turned into hot and muggy days and humid nights – the kind of weather that has forced Congress out of Washington during the summer since the beginning of our nation. The House of Representatives is scheduled to begin their August recess on July 26, and the Senate is scheduled to recess a week later on August 2. There are many issues that could be addressed before Congress leaves, and there a two absolutely critical problems that must be resolved. Steve Gordon talks about the need to lift the debt ceiling and to come up with a two-year budget agreement, as well as good economic news, trade and USMCA, and a new interim final rule on immigration. All this and a little politics in Heard on the Hill. Dana Marston shares this week’s calendar of hearings and markups, then takes a look at air quality across the U.S. and an outstanding ACA lawsuit that may end up before the Supreme Court in 2020.

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Modernizing the Federal Excise Tax for Heavy-Duty Trucks and Trailers

June 28, 2019

On Wednesday, June 19, the American Truck Dealers (ATD), with support from other members of the Modernize the Truck Fleet (MTF) coalition, held an educational event/press conference on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol. The event featured a vintage truck and new truck to embody the urgent need for modernizing the 102 year-old federal excise tax (FET) on the purchase of new heavy-duty trucks and trailers. The FET is the highest excise tax at 12%. Total Spectrum’s Mike Joyce and Traci Peters were instrumental in designing and executing this event for our clients.

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This Week in Washington - June 27, 2019

June 27, 2019

John McKechnie writes about the retirement savings reform bills being discussed and worked on in both the Senate and the House. Steve Gordon reports on progress toward passage of USMCA, on the President’s Healthcare Executive Order, on infrastructure and the Highway Trust Fund, and politics in Heard on the Hill. Dana Marston dives into the USMCA from a couple angles, looking at public support for the trade agreement and how the House Ways and Means Committee is examining its labor provisions. She also looks at China’s tariff treatment on goods it imports from countries other than the U.S., as well as possible water/ground contamination on military bases due to the use of chemical fire retardants. Congress will be leaving town for the July 4th holiday, as will we. Congress will return on July 8th, and we’ll be back that week with This Week. Have a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July holiday.

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This Week in Washington - June 17, 2019

June 17, 2019

Steve Gordon participated last week in meetings with acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and a senior member of the Republican Senate Caucus. Both provided a clear picture of what’s possible this year, and notes from both meetings and other odds and ends are in Steve’s Heard on the Hill. Dana Marston takes a look at Members named to the House Democrats’ Trade Working Group, charged with negotiating key elements of the proposed U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement with the U.S. Trade Representative. She also looks at Congress’s tackling of a backlog of maintenance needed within the National Park Service.

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This Week in Washington - June 10, 2019

June 10, 2019

Last week was a short week so that a number of Members of Congress could fly to France to participate in the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. Steve Gordon reports on the U.S.-Mexican negotiations that thankfully ended Friday night without the imposition of tariffs. He also covers last week’s jobs report, the status of the appropriations process, and concludes with the key messages from the D-Day ceremony. Dana Marston provides highlights of this week’s legislative calendar, as well deeper looks at consumer confidence and a recent report from the GAO on the impact renewable fuel standards have on fuel prices and emissions. We always appreciate your notes and comments. We’ll continue to bring you a discussion of current activity in Washington every week in This Week.

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This Week in Washington - May 30, 2019

May 30, 2019

Steve Gordon is taking a few well-deserved days of vacation. Jim Miller offers a roadmap and a reason to persevere in Washington even when the mood is sour. It’s called How Legislation Can Be Enacted When The Parties Are At An Impasse And Talk Of Impeachment Is In The Air – and it’s a great read. Al Jackson has also written an excellent monthly review of Defense Appropriations Issues. Dana Marston takes a look at job growth by state in 2019, and a Kaiser Family Foundation report on who’s really paying for prescriptions. Senators and Congressmen will return to Washington next Monday, and so will Steve Gordon. We’ll return next week for the next edition of This Week.

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This Week in Washington - May 24, 2019

May 24, 2019

Senators and Congressmen left last evening for home. Staff took off their business suits and are getting ready for the weekend and the Memorial Day holiday. Next week is known as the Memorial Day recess, when traffic will be cut in half and a reservation will not be needed to dine in your favorite restaurant. This is an abbreviated edition. Steve Gordon wraps up the week by focusing on infrastructure and USMCA, and closes with a note about the meaning of Memorial Day. Dana Marston dives into tariffs – and how the lifting of those tariffs may pave the way for ratification of the USMCA. Steve Gordon has left the building for a few days off. Jim Miller is working on a Miller Time, which he’ll have for you next week in This Week.

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This Week in Washington - May 15, 2019

May 15, 2019

Steve Gordon invited James Carter, an expert on budget, tax and fiscal issues, to present his thoughts on the current state of the federal budget. The picture James paints in his article entitled A Miracle Cure to Save the Federal Budget from Calamity is far from rosy, but it’s worthwhile reading. Steve Gordon brings us up to date on the progress on trade and legislation he’s Heard on the Hill. Dana Marston shares highlights of this week’s legislative calendar, and also dives into the impact of tariffs on states’ trade with China, trends in long-acting opioid prescriptions, and causes of pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S.

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This Week in Washington - May 3, 2019

May 3, 2019

Al Jackson has the cover article with his Defense Appropriations Update. Steve Gordon brings us up to date on activity in the Senate, trade, the White House, and the intersection of a good economy and good polls in Heard on the Hill. Our next report will be next week – reporting on This Week in Washington.

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This Week in Washington - April 16, 2019

April 16, 2019

This is the week of Steves. Steve Ruhlen wrote the cover article on The Budget, The Appropriations Process – and the Chance for Compromise. Steve Gordon reports on trade, Agency Watch, a new Secretary of the Interior, and the sound of frustration in the Senate in his Heard on the Hill. The Senate and the House have recessed for 2 weeks. Senators and Congressmen will return to Washington on April 29, and we’ll be back shortly thereafter.

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