Washington Weekly
Apr. 13, 2015

Last Week

The House and Senate were in recess.More

This Week

The House will be turning its attention to Tax Day on April 15 by bringing to the floor a number of bills aimed at the IRS and their recent history of targeting certain ideological leaning groups. They include legislation to prohibit IRS employees from using personal email accounts to conduct official business; allowing groups to file an administrative appeal if the IRS rejects their applications for tax-exempt status; and banning individuals who are delinquent on their taxes from serving in the federal government. In the Senate, the Foreign Relations Committee will take the first steps to addressing the president's nuclear deal with Iran, by taking up legislation that would delay the deal for 60 days while allowing Congress to review it. In addition, the Senate will be taking up the House-passed "Doc Fix" or Sustainable Growth Rate formula, which is the reimbursement rate tied to Medicare.More

Item of Interest

Last week, the State of California took more action to address their ongoing drought. The California Energy Commission approved new standards that will impact both distributors and manufacturers as the state looks to conserve water. ASA remains concerned as these new conservation rates go beyond generally accepted WaterSense standards, which could make it difficult to achieve. This will be a topic of discussion that ASA's Government Affairs Committee will dive into at this week's Legislative Fly-in. To learn more about the new standards, click here.More

California Tightening Water-Use Rules for Urinals, Faucets Amid Drought
Los Angeles Times
Gov. Jerry Brown recently stood in a bone-dry meadow to order historic water restrictions. On April 8, state officials took the drought battle into Californians' kitchens and bathrooms, approving the nation's most efficient standards for water appliances. The new regulations, which limit water flow for all new toilets, urinals and faucets, are expected to save more than 10 billion gallons of water in the first year, according to the California Energy Commission.More

As Drought Pervades, can Markets Make us Water-Wiser?
High Country News
California has been taking strong measures to deal with extreme drought, and on April 9, California Gov. Jerry Brown took his new water policies a step further. After ordering cities to cut their water use between 10 and 15 percent, he approved new regulations to limit the flow of water in toilets, urinals and faucets. But some economists think that there are more efficient and effective ways to mitigate drought, so they're starting to dust off the idea of water markets. More

Gasoline Spending to Hit Lowest Point in a Decade
The Hill
The average household's spending on gasoline is expected to hit its lowest level in more than a decade this year, the Energy Information Administration said. The agency expects average spending to be $1,817 per household, more than $700 less than 2014, it said in a recent report.More

Is Reconciliation a Real Challenge to 'Obamacare?'
Roll Call
Even if some Republicans don't really want to go there, even if it's an exercise in futility, many are convinced the guaranteed-to-be-vetoed process of budget reconciliation promises to put "Obamacare" at the center of the 2016 debate. And that, conservatives say, is exactly where they want it. Reconciliation is the optional legislative process by which Congress may seek to implement fiscal savings by "reconciling" tax and entitlement statutes with a budget resolution. It's a two-step process.More