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This Week in Washington - November 11, 2020

November 11, 2020

This Week, we lead with Patrick Robertson’s Washington Whispers. Patrick notes that President Trumphas the right to explore all of his legal options, but in the meantime it is important to watch and think about the ideas and agenda of the Biden Team as they address transition of the administration, filling cabinet positions, continuing COVID response, prioritizing infrastructure, and if – or how – to reform the Senate. I cover the upcoming lame duck and how both the Senate and the House look after last week’s elections, as well as an overview of Georgia’s January 5 runoff elections, in Heard on the Hill. Erik Paulsen has written a fascinating – albeit frightening – article about future ‘super-bugs’. Ramona Lessen monitored two Senate hearings – one before the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs committee focusing on the oversight of financial regulators, and another of the Commerce Science and Technology committee on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

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This Week in Washington - Special Issue November 6, 2020

November 7, 2020

Thanks for your interest in Washington, D.C., and thanks for reading this VERY special issue of This Week in Washington. This past Tuesday’s election was monumental. Over 65% of eligible Americans voted – the highest percentage since 1908. More people voted absentee than ever before, and the level of interest in Tuesday’s election was as high as I have ever seen it. This special issue will bring you up to date on what we know, and what we still do not know about the outcome of key races. I joined with former Congressman Erik Paulsen, Michael DiMaria, and Todd Smith to summarize the unfolding presidential election, key senate races, and the big surprise over in the House of Representatives. Andy Ehrlich and Dana Marston summarize the upcoming Senate runoff in Georgia, and Michael DiMaria also provides a top-line view of what happened at the state level in Arizona.

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This Week in Washington - October 28, 2020

October 28, 2020

We decided to do a bonus This Week as a clean-up-and-button-down issue before next week’s elections. In Heard on the Hill, Erik Paulsen and I summarized ‘No Judge Left Behind’ and the successful confirmation of Justice Barrett. We also look at the reason why the COVID stimulus bill couldn’t happen before the election, what’s behind all the optimism about a COVID vaccine, the Congressional Review Act and how it could be used next year, and the outlook for a continued Republican Senate majority from the perspective of Republican strategists. Al Jackson reports on prospects for defense appropriations over the next four years under a Trump or Biden Administration, and with a Republican or Democratic Majority in the Senate. Total Spectrum Spotlight features part two of our interview with Neil Newhouse, co-founder of Public Opinion Strategies. Neil is an outstanding pollster with over 40 years of experience. He is a pro’s pro and a wonderful communicator. We had a wonderful response to part one of the interview, and I am sure you will find part two just as informative and interesting.

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This Week in Washington - October 14, 2020

October 14, 2020

“Heard on the Hill” looks at the last mile of this Congress, with a particular focus on additional stimulus legislation by discussing what happened, what did not happen, and why. We look over the fence at the upcoming lame duck session, cover some odds and ends, preview the “Art of Polling” interview in Total Spectrum Spotlight, and cover the changes in campaign finance over 40 years in a section we call It’s Raining Money. “Washington Whispers” takes a deep dive into the battle for the control of the U.S. Senate. It breaks the races into four tiers, and shows why national interest in which party controls the Senate has never been greater. Ramona Lessen covered three hearings – one before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation about a pathway to a vaccine, another before the House Small Business Subcommittee on Investigation and Regulations about preventing fraud and abuse in the Paycheck Protection Program, and finally the opening of this week’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the Honorable Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to be an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court. Ramona has condensed her reports but provides links for those who want to read and watch further. I urge you to watch the part one of our Total Spectrum Spotlight interview with Neil Newhouse, co-founder of Public Opinion Strategies. Neil provides real insights about what does - and what does not – make a reliable poll and how his art changes with the times.

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This Week in Washington - September 30, 2020

September 30, 2020

Erik Paulsen and Steve Gordon cover the October surprise in September, the last push for additional COVID legislation, the upcoming lame duck session, and significant developments at the Labor Department, the Small Business Administration, and the IRS – all that and more in Heard on the Hill. Steve also takes another look at issues surrounding the U.S. Postal Service with a very relevant interview of an industry insider, and shares a link to an insightful research report from the American Enterprise Institute separating fact from fiction. Al Jackson shares his expertise in providing a Defense Update, and Ramona Lessen provides brief summaries of two Congressional hearings: one before the House Financial Services Committee focusing on the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve Oversight, and a second of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee with an update on the federal response to COVID-19.

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This Week in Washington - September 16, 2020

September 16, 2020

The NEW This Week in Washington starts now. We lead off with Patrick Robertson’s first “Washington Whispers” column. Erik Paulsen recently wrote an op/ed in Newsweek about the need for our trade agreements to prioritize American intellectual property, and we are reprinting it here. I write about what happened in August and some of the things to watch as we go forward toward the election in “Heard on the Hill”. Al Jackson provides an update on defense, and Ramona Lessen reports on a Senate Homeland Security hearing in August on the U.S. Postal Service. And finally, Steve Gordon interviews former Congressman Erik Paulsen in our inaugural episode of Total Spectrum Spotlight, our newest feature bringing you short but meaningful video interviews with both news makers and news shapers.

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This Week in Washington - August 13, 2020

August 13, 2020

This week we have a special ‘Cleaning off the Desk’ version of Heard on the Hill. Ramona Lessen covers a recent House Subcommittee hearing discussing the urgent need for a national plan to contain the novel coronavirus. Dana Marston shares some detail on vaccination strategies, G-20 energy recovery funding, and an early look at health care policies supported by former Vice President and likely Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. My Total Spectrum colleagues are taking some time off, and I am going to follow them out of town. We will be back right after Labor Day, or before if circumstances warrant. Stay well.

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This Week in Washington - August 5, 2020

August 5, 2020

In this week’s Heard on the Hill, Steve Gordon and Erik Paulsen cover the process, negotiations, and the progress toward the next COVID-19 recovery legislation. They share an interview with Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), and provide updates on bringing pharmaceutical manufacturing back to the U.S., last evening’s Kansas Republican Primary Election – the first battle for control of the U.S. Senate – and they report on the race for a COVID-19 vaccine in an update that’s appropriately titled ‘The Cavalry Is REALLY coming.’ Al Jackson brings us up to date on defense issues, while Ramona Lessen reports on a hearing held before the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on the PACT Act and Section 230, the law that helped create the Internet and an examination of proposed reforms.

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This Week in Washington - July 22, 2020

July 22, 2020

The overriding subjects consuming Washington are COVID-19, the shutdown that has caused economic distress and hardship for millions of Americans, the development of vaccines that will lift us out of this fog, and the upcoming elections. Steve Gordon and Erik Paulsen cover the beginning of negotiations for the next legislative response to COVID-19 and the first important election in the race for control of the U.S. Senate in Heard on the Hill. Ramona Lessen covered Tuesday’s hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee entitled ‘Efforts to develop a safe, effective, and accessible COVID-19 vaccine’, and she’s included key portions of the three-hour hearing in her report. We are pleased to introduce Patrick Robertson to Arizona, though he travels to Arizona each year. He is new to the Total Spectrum family, but he is not new to Washington, D.C. Patrick is a licensed attorney who served on the staff of former Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) for nine years, the last five as the Senator’s Deputy Chief of Staff. Patrick has now been in Washington’s private sector for more than 12 years representing a range of clients including Fortune 50 companies, small associations, the government of a U.S. territory, and other companies and entities. He is an expert on tax, commerce, trade, telecom, and transportation issues, and we asked him to write his first article for This Week on independent restaurants – and a way to help them.

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This Week in Washington - July 8, 2020

July 8, 2020

Sean Callinicos is a policy expert and government relations expert in health care, but he has a special focus in the vaccine industry. He was Assistant Vice President for Federal Government Affairs for Sanofi Pasteur during the avian and swine flu crises, and his work helped open the door for the development of America’s vaccine industry. Steve Gordon and Ramona Lessen interviewed Sean to learn about his experiences at Sanofi Pasteur and to discuss the current state of our vaccine industry. The House of Representatives Financial Services Committee held an oversight hearing last week on the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve’s response to the pandemic. The invited guests were Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin and Chairman of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell. John McKechnie, Total Spectrum’s Senior Partner and financial services expert, provided a summary and overview, and Ramona Lessen monitored the entire hearing.

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