Washington Weekly
Apr. 27, 2015

Last Week

Both houses worked in committee on a trade agreement, which if passed, is expected to be the largest in history. Both the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committee passed out of committee legislation that would grant the president the authority needed to strike agreements with our trading partners. The legislation has frayed many in the president’s own party, but also is viewed skeptically by those on the right as well, so it will require a bipartisan path to achieve passage. In addition, the Senate struck a deal by passing the Victims of Human Trafficking Act, while also confirming Loretta Lynch as Attorney General. The House concentrated on legislation addressing our nation's cybersecurity policy, an issue of importance to many in the business community. The legislation would direct the executive branch and intelligence community to develop and share cyberthreat indicators, as well as providing businesses with the ability to share threat indicators with each other, while not requiring them to share them with the federal government. To learn more, click here.More

This Week

The Senate will spend the majority of the week on legislation addressing the administration's nuclear agreement with Iran, giving the Senate the opportunity to review and delay the agreement if deemed necessary. The House will turn to the budget, as it is expected to pass a compromised budget agreement. In addition, the House will be taking up federal appropriations the earliest point since 1974, when it takes up appropriations for Veterans Affairs and Military Construction. More

Item of Interest

Does your company have an interest in overseas trade? With the largest trade agreement in history coming closer to full debate on the House and Senate floor, we want to hear from you. If your company would benefit from opening up the doors to new trading partners, contact me at dhilton@asa.net.More

Trade Fight Galvanizing the Left
RollCall
With the first round of appropriations bills and a possible budget conference report on the House floor this week, the chamber's progressive contingent is looking farther down the road at the storm brewing over so-called Trade Promotion Authority, or "fast track." Legislation allowing President Barack Obama to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement would ordinarily be divisive within the House Democratic Caucus, but progressives say there's even more at stake in this most recent fight: 2016.More

Historic Ruling Expected as SCOTUS Takes up Gay Marriage
The Hill
Most of those bans were struck down as unconstitutional in a succession of federal court rulings. But the string of victories for gay marriage supporters came to an end in November, when the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld bans in Ohio, Tennessee, Michigan and Kentucky. The ruling created a lower court split, prompting the high court to answer calls from those on both sides of the fight to revisit same-sex marriage. More

At the Super Bowl of Energy, the Big Game is on the Sidelines
National Journal
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz gave two sets of remarks April 22 at a big energy conference in Houston. The first, a panel discussion with his counterparts from Mexico and Canada, was open to journalists and all attendees at the annual IHS CERAWeek gathering. The second, a conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning energy historian and CERA founder Daniel Yergin, was at a closed-door dinner with energy-industry officials and experts.More

GOP Confident on Fast-Track Votes
Politico
Republicans in both chambers are increasingly confident that they have the votes to pass the linchpin legislation President Barack Obama needs to enact his trade agenda. "In fact, we do have the votes to pass the bill," House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions told POLITICO. His remarks April 22 came before the Senate Finance Committee approved a trade promotion authority bill 20-6 with seven of 12 Democrats voting "yes," meaning the Senate will have a filibuster-proof majority in favor of the bill, barring any Republican defections. More