Washington Weekly
May. 26, 2015

Last week

The House wrapped up the week by passing a short-term extension to the Highway Trust Fund, which will need addressing this summer. In addition they passed legislation related to America's scientific competitiveness and developing the space industry. The Senate spent the week trying to finish a trio of must-pass bills. Beginning with the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP, the largest trade deal in history. The legislation now moves to the House, where it faces as equally an uncertain fate. In addition, the Senate attempted, but failed to reauthorize provisions of the Patriot Act, most notably granting tools to the National Security Agency to conduct "bulk surveillance" on overseas phone records. More

This week

The House and Senate are in recess.More

Item of Interest

This week members of the House and Senate will be in their communities meeting with constituents and visiting with business like your own. While the Memorial Day recess is only one week, Congress takes the entire month of August to conduct these same visits and meetings. If you are hosting a counter day for your customers, have a new product line or branch opening; consider reaching out to the offices of your locally elected officials for their participation. Remember, you don't just represent one vote to them, your employees and customers are also potential voters that they'd be eager to meet. Contact our Washington office to learn how easy it is to set up a member visit at dhilton@asa.net.More

NSA Starts to Shut Down Mass-Spying Program
National Journal
Senators will return to Washington May 31 for a last-minute, last-ditch effort to reach an agreement on the National Security Agency's bulk surveillance, but the Obama administration says it's already shutting the program down. "We've said for the past several days that the wind-down process would need to begin yesterday if there was no legislative agreement," an administration official said May 23. "That process has begun."More

Unions Plan Nationwide Trade Protests
Unions are keeping their fight against a trade bill alive. The AFL-CIO and its allies are organizing dozens of events over the Memorial Day recess to keep the pressure on House Democrats and Republicans as the chamber nears consideration of "fast-track" trade legislation. More

Obama's Toughest Trade Fight Lies Ahead
The Hill
The White House and Republican leaders have a lot of work to do to push fast-track trade authority through the House. The Senate approved a fast-track bill just before leaving for the Memorial Day recess, with supporters beating back Democratic efforts to delay the bill or undercut it through amendments. But while the Senate managed to work out its procedural knots, the House outcome remains in doubt with proponents and opponents each claiming they can win the toughest legislative battle of the year.More

Asbestos Bill Roils Public Health Groups
The Hill
GOP-backed legislation touted as necessary to keep lawyers from raiding funds set up for people suffering from asbestos poisoning is coming under fire from public health advocates who say the proposal will only create hurdles for victims of diseases like Mesothelioma. The dispute centers on roughly 60 trusts with nearly $40 billion in assets set up to compensate people sickened by the mineral fiber linked to cancer. More