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This Week in Washington - July 28, 2021

July 28, 2021

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Congress’s continuing discussions on infrastructure remains this week’s hot topic. Patrick Robertson’s Washington Whispers details the latest on all the moving parts of an agreement and how the August recess weighs on the process. Congressman Erik Paulsen writes about the risks – immediate and long-term – of relinquishing intellectual property protections on medicines like the COVID-19 vaccines. Al Jackson shares recent progress of the House and Senate versions of the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act. Ramona Lessen reviews two recent Senate committee hearings covering cryptocurrencies and the implementation and enforcement of the USMCA (U.S.-Mexico-Canada) trade agreement.

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This Week in Washington - July 14, 2021

July 14, 2021

Heard on the Hill covers the continuing and changing-by-the-minute story of the President’s traditional and social infrastructure agenda. We also wade into the President’s 20-page executive order on competition. Congressman Erik Paulsen writes about six tax incentives that will play a major role in the President’s agenda. Steve Ruhlen brings us up to speed on the appropriations process for the 2022 fiscal year. Ramona Lessen reviews a recent House Small Business Agriculture and Rural Development Subcommittee hearing on economic recovery in rural America.

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This Week in Washington - June 23, 2021

June 23, 2021

Patrick Robertson writes about the round-and-round (and round) negotiations we’ve seen on infrastructure in this issue’s Washington Whispers. Todd Smith and Blake T. Fulenwider take a closer look at the Supreme Court’s latest defense of the Affordable Care Act, Al Jackson updates us on activities impacting the defense sector, and Ramona Lessen summarizes a Senate Commerce hearing on building resilient networks. Congressman Erik Paulsen has a special and vitally important Total Spectrum Spotlight interview with Jay Timmons, the President and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers. This is the last This Week for our friend and colleague Erica Wrublik, who is leaving the Arizona Chamber. Dana Marston and I wrote a short article about Erica’s great help and assistance in producing This Week and Total Spectrum Spotlight.

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This Week in Washington - June 9, 2021

June 9, 2021

Americans – finally and thankfully – are coming out of our COVID cocoons. One of the things I have been thinking about over this past year is how a changing society is forcing some changes on Congress, and sometimes how the structure and traditions of Congress are pushing back. It is an important subject, and not just an academic or historical one, because we are seeing it play out in the Senate in its deliberations over the President’s infrastructure bill. Heard on the Hill is about the potholes on the road to an infrastructure bill, but it is really about the struggle between ‘want to’ and ‘can do’… and how this bill ultimately gets done. Ramona Lessen provides reviews of two key legislative hearings – one before the Senate Finance Committee on the IRS budget for 2022, and another of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee discussing threats to our critical infrastructure.

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This Week in Washington - May 19, 2021

May 19, 2021

There is an exceptionally high level of distrust between Republicans and Democrats in this Congress. Patrick Robertson writes in Washington Whispers about how this distrust and the ghosts of past negotiations could impact the current attempt to develop bipartisan legislation. Congressman Erik Paulsen writes about the Biden Administration’s proposal to increase taxes on the wealthy, and how it would impact people who are not so wealthy. Al Jackson brings us up to date on the Biden Administration’s national security budget in his Defense Update. Total Spectrum Spotlight is designed to bring you interviews with news makers and news shapers – and Congressman Drew Ferguson (R-GA) is both. A graduate of the University of Georgia with a degree in dental medicine, Congressman Ferguson founded a successful family dental practice and was Mayor of West Point, Georgia before being elected to Congress. He is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Chief Deputy Whip for House Republicans. Erik Paulsen’s interview with Congressman Ferguson is both entertaining and informative.

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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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