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This Week in Washington - May 5, 2021

May 5, 2021

This is a recess week in Washington – at least for the Senate – so I took the time to reflect rather than report in Heard on the Hill about President Joe Biden and Senator Tim Scott. The President gave his State of the Union message last week and Senator Scott gave the Republican response; two very different speeches by two very different individuals. Congressman Erik Paulsen wrote an article on the President’s estate tax proposal and the impact it will have on family businesses, ranches, and farms. Total Spectrum Senior Partner John McKechnie has been working in and with the financial services sector for over 30 years. He has written an update on pending activity in the Senate and House Financial Services Committees. Ramona Lessen provides briefs on two House hearings held this week, one on lowering the cost of prescription drugs and another on climate and energy research at the Department of Energy.

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This Week in Washington - April 21, 2021

April 21, 2021

There is nothing generating more interest and more intensity in Congress right now than President Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal and the equally massive corporate tax increase that Democrats want to pay for their plan. Patrick Robertson summarizes some of the corporate tax changes Democrats are talking about as part of this infrastructure proposal, then teases some of the changes to the individual tax code that are being discussed for their next legislative agenda. Al Jackson brings us up to date on defense issues, and Ramona Lessen highlights two Senate hearings, one for the nominations of Deputy Secretary of HHS and Administrator of CMS, and a second focused on the American Jobs Plan, infrastructure, climate change, and America’s future. Congressman Kevin Brady, former Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and now the committee’s Ranking Member, recently announced his retirement from Congress at the end of 2022. Congressman Erik Paulsen served with Congressman Brady and they were housemates in Washington. Erik wrote a wonderful short article about his friend, colleague, and mentor. I also want to introduce you to Blake Fulenwider, our newest Total Spectrum partner, and this week's Total Spectrum Spotlight focuses on Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Republican of West Virginia.

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This Week in Washington - April 7, 2021

April 7, 2021

The cherry blossoms are out and tourists are beginning to return to Washington. Congress is on recess, so we thought that we would take a deep look at the American Jobs Plan. Steve Veverka top-lines many of the provisions of the infrastructure proposal. Heard on the Hill looks at the plan from the Administration’s perspective and that of Senate Republicans and suggests some things to watch as this bill works its way through Congress. We are happy to include a guest column by Steve Trussell, Executive Director of the Arizona Rock Products Association. Steve discusses the outlook for state and local transportation in Arizona.

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This Week in Washington - March 24, 2021

March 24, 2021

Patrick Robertson talks about the next items on the Senate’s legislative agenda and the future of the filibuster in “Washington Whispers.” Congressman Erik Paulsen writes about the new challenges being confronted by America’s small businesses. Al Jackson provides a defense update, and Ramona Lessen shares details from a March 17th hearing of the Senate Finance Committee entitled, “Covid-19 in the Nation’s Nursing Homes – a National Tragedy.” Today’s Total Spectrum Spotlight features an interview with Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), who has served as a key member of both House and Senate Republican Leadership. He sits on three key committees and is the former chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, Human Services, and Education. Senator Blunt announced that he will not seek reelection to the Senate in 2022, so we asked him to share some of his reflections, views on current issues, and his vision going forward. In this discussion with Congressman Paulsen and Michael DiMaria, you will see why Senator Blunt is getting the recognition and praise he richly deserves as a “legislator’s legislator.”

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This Week in Washington - March 10, 2021

March 10, 2021

Heard on the Hill covers three big items in Washington – Senator Roy Blunt’s announcement that he will not run for re-election; the passing of the American Rescue Plan, the latest COVID emergency legislation; and the possible return of legislative earmarks. Total Spectrum Partner and Southwest Regional Director Michael DiMaria provides some thoughts on data privacy. Congressman Erik Paulsen writes about why tax hikes are the wrong medicine for a struggling economy in his article originally printed last week by the Washington Examiner and reprinted by Real Clear Politics. Ramona Lessen summarizes a hearing held this week by the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee entitled ‘Who Won on Wall Street – GameStop, Robinhood, and the State of Retail Investing.” Our Total Spectrum Spotlight this week is a replay of the webinar hosted last week by the Arizona Chamber featuring Total Spectrum’s Strategic Consultants Erik Paulsen and Patrick Robertson. Speaking of Patrick, hats off and congratulations to him for his work on behalf of the Independent Restaurant Coalition and 500,000 local restaurants and bars – and the 11 million people they employ. Restaurants will be receiving $28.6 billion as part of the American Rescue Plan to help rebuild their sector. We will cover how restaurants and bars can apply for this program in the next issue of This Week.

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This Week in Washington - February 24, 2021

February 24, 2021

Patrick Robertson reports on the status in Congress of the Biden Administration’s proposal for COVID relief, and well as their plans for infrastructure and immigration reform in “Washington Whispers.” Todd Smith and Congressman Erik Paulsen report on the Administration’s healthcare wish list. Al Jackson provides his monthly defense update, and Ramona Lessen provides an overview of yesterday’s Senate hearing on the January 6th attack on the Capitol. We received a significant number of requests asking us to reshare our Total Spectrum Spotlight interview with Senator Mark Kelly, and we are pleased to oblige. Please mark your calendars - Congressman Erik Paulsen and Patrick Robertson will present a 2021 Outlook from Capitol Hill in a March 3rd webinar from 10:00 AM to 10:30 AM MST as part of the Arizona Chamber’s Virtual Leadership Series.

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This Week in Washington - February 10, 2021

February 10, 2021

Today’s “Heard on the Hill” focuses on the new Democratic majority, pendulum politics, some off-the-record comments from a member of the Republican Senate Leadership, and concludes with a tip of our hat to Glenn Hamer. Steve Ruhlen, our budget and appropriations expert, takes a closer look at budget reconciliation. You will not want to miss today’s Total Spectrum Spotlight. My colleague Congressman Erik Paulsen sat down for an exclusive and candid interview with Senator Mark Kelly, where he talked about his priorities and first impressions of life in the Senate.

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This Week in Washington - January 27, 2021

January 27, 2021

This is the fourth anniversary of This Week, so “Heard on The Hill” is devoted to some of the new features you will see this year and thanking all those who have made this milestone possible. Patrick Robertson covers early action in the Senate in “Washington Whispers,” and Al Jackson provides an update on defense. Be sure to watch Total Spectrum Spotlight for a discussion on rural broadband opportunities with resident telecom experts Michael DiMaria and Jim Campbell.

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This Week in Washington - January 21, 2021

January 21, 2021

Thanks for your interest in Washington, and welcome back to the special inauguration issue of This Week in Washington. I attended my first inaugural in 1985 and subsequently in 1989, 2001, and 2005. Inaugurals are celebrations for the winners. But for all of us, inaugurals celebrate the continued victory of American democracy.

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This Week in Washington - January 7, 2021

January 7, 2021

I knew it would be a significant week. The big event was Tuesday’s runoff elections in Georgia because they were winner-take-all, the results set to determine the shape of government and the direction of federal policy for the next two years. The other event – Wednesday’s Congressional certification of the electoral college results – is typically ceremonial. A great number of speeches were planned and there were certainly questions about how Vice President Pence would handle his function, but we knew how the story would end. What I didn’t know is what would happen before the Presidential election results were certified.

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