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This Week in Washington - January 21, 2020

January 21, 2020

This is our 3rd anniversary edition. Three years ago, we began This Week by reporting on the inauguration of Donald J. Trump. We have been pleased to report to the members of the Arizona Chamber almost every week on the successes and the problems… the noise and the news… in Washington, D.C. during President Trump’s first two years in office. Our founders created a structure that divided equally the power of government between the Administration, Congress, and the Judiciary. Historians will look back and review the decisions of the Supreme Court, as well as actions (and sometimes the inaction) of a Democratic House and a Republican Senate. But there is no question that it has been – from inauguration day right up to today -- President Trump’s Washington. That is not a partisan statement. It is an honest one. President Trump has controlled or been a major part of the news and the noise for the past 3 years. How else to explain that last week, a) USMCA passed in the Senate; b) Phase One of the US-China Trade agreement was signed into law; and c) The House passed and sent Articles of Impeachment of the President to the Senate. Presidents – fairly or unfairly – get either credit or blame for the economy. The jobs report for December continued its wonderful run and the stock market continues to break records. Everyone will look at the last three years in Washington from their own vantage point. But President Trump clearly has been the major driver of news and noise in Washington since his inauguration – and last week was no exception. In this 3rd anniversary edition, I provide some perspective on how USMCA passed and who gets special awards for persistence and valor… what was in the Phase One agreement with China… updates on the economy… and the process and key players in the impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump. Also, in this edition is my colleague Al Jackson’s monthly update on Defense and Defense Appropriations issues.

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This Week in Washington - December 20, 2019

December 20, 2019

This was the last week of the 2019 Congressional calendar. Steve Gordon wraps up what only can be described as a wild week in Heard on The Hill. Calm of Christmas Washington, DC this Friday morning is quiet, and all of the activity of this week is in the rear view mirror. A great migration took place yesterday out to Reagan National Airport and stragglers like us will be heading out this weekend. It is a sincere joy to put Heard on the Hill together each week and to describe some of the thoughts and activity in Washington. We’ll be off now through the holidays and will return when Congress does the week of January 6, 2020. On behalf of Steve Gordon, Ramona Lessen, Dana Marston, and all the Total Spectrum partners who contribute to This Week, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and all best wishes for a healthy, happy, and successful New Year.

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This Week in Washington - December 12, 2019

December 12, 2019

We live in a polarized world where ‘compromise’ is a dirty word for some and out-of-date for others. Yet the breakthroughs on USMCA and the 2020 Appropriations funding came through hard fought negotiation where everybody got some and everybody can say they won. Steve Gordon reports on USMCA, Appropriations, Judges, the economy, and next year’s Impeachment trial in the Senate that will begin the week of January 6th – all in this week’s Heard on the Hill. Al Jackson discusses the 2020 Defense Appropriations agreement. Ramona Lessen has linked to the Senate and House Calendars for 2020 – and are shown here. We’ll be back next week to wrap up the year before we wrap up our presents.

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This Week in Washington - November 20, 2019

November 20, 2019

There are not a lot of days left in this legislative year. Steve Gordon writes about what must pass, what should pass, and what will get pushed into next year in Heard on the Hill. Al Jackson has prepared an update on Defense and the Defense Appropriations. Steve Gordon then presents an interview that he recently did with Richard Sawaya, who is the Vice President of the National Foreign Trade Council and Director of USA *Engage, a coalition that promotes alternatives to unilateral trade sanctions. Dr. Sawaya makes a strong case that sanctions are not effective. Ramona Lessen, the Executive Director of our Washington office, has included the Congressional Committee hearing calendar for the week of November 18th. We’ll be off next week enjoying Thanksgiving with our families. We hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving too. We’ll be back the first week of December with This Week.

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This Week in Washington - November 8, 2019

November 8, 2019

Dana Marston is our Business Partner at Total Spectrum, and she has been the Editor of This Week since we started in January of 2017. This week Dana added a new title to her business card: Mom. Commander Alex McConnell and Dana Marston (Mr. and Mrs. Alex McConnell) had a baby girl this week – Gatsby Alexandra McConnell. Mom, Dad, and Gatsby Alexandra are all tired, but doing very well. Steve Gordon covered all the other news around the Washington in his Heard on the Hill. Ramona Lessen, the Executive Director of our Washington office, is subbing for Dana for the next few months, and has included the Congressional Committee hearing calendar for the week of November 11th. We’ll be back next week with more of This Week.

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This Week in Washington - October 30, 2019

October 30, 2019

This week’s cover story is on the progress (or lack of progress) on this fiscal year’s appropriation process, and there is no better person to watch and explain it than Steve Ruhlen. In a career that spanned over 20 years on Capitol Hill, Steve served former House Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Henry Bonilla (R-TX) as his Chief of Staff, and he also was Chief of Staff for Congresswoman Kay Granger (R-TX), the current ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee. You’ll enjoy Steve’s article – and articles that he’ll write in the future. Steve Gordon summarized what’s he’s heard in today’s Heard on the Hill.

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This Week in Washington - October 16, 2019

October 16, 2019

Al Jackson brings us up to date on defense and defense appropriations issues. Steve Gordon summarizes recent trade activity, discusses Secretary Chao’s initiative to support rural infrastructure, waves the flag about the Washington National’s pennant run, and reports on what he is hearing in Heard on the Hill.

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This Week in Washington - September 24, 2019

September 24, 2019

Steve Gordon highlights last week’s Arizona Chamber Fly-in, summarizes progress on trade and appropriations, and has a special nomination for the ‘I haven’t heard that in a long time’ award – all in his Heard on the Hill. Dana Marston looks into Americans’ top health care priorities, rates of student cannabis vaping, and progress in congressional appropriations.

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This Week in Washington - September 17, 2019

September 17, 2019

Steve Gordon talks about what people who work with Congress do when Congress is on recess, and provides Total Spectrum’s list of what Congress must do, should do, or could do between now and the end of the year. Al Jackson brings us an update on defense appropriations. Dana Marston shares highlights of this week’s legislative calendar, then takes a look at the ongoing appropriations process, a surge in federal cannabis lobbying, and variances in medical treatment for homeless veterans with opioid addictions. We’ll have a full schedule this week with members of the Arizona Chamber flying into Washington today, and we’ll report on some of who they saw and some of what they heard next week in This Week.

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This Week in Washington - July 29, 2019

July 29, 2019

The House of Representatives approved the Budget and Debt Ceiling agreement – and then adjourned for their August break. The Senate is in this week and will consider the budget agreement and a series of confirmation votes before they leave Washington. Al Jackson reviews activity on the upcoming Defense Appropriations bill. Steve Gordon covers the budget and debt ceiling agreement, the Senate’s floor agenda this week, trade news on USMCA and China, and a look at Federal Election Commission reports for the 2nd quarter from key Senate incumbents and their challengers. Steve provides a summary of the Surface Transportation Bill that was just released by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee…and closes with a note on Dan Coats – all in Heard on the Hill. We’ll follow the Senate and House out of town. But we’ll be back in a few weeks on a preview of what looks like a busy September and October. As always, thanks for your notes and suggestions. We’ll be back in a few weeks with the next edition of This Week.

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