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Catherine Treadwell Perry, J.D., Director of Government Relations
As everyone is gearing up for go time with the 116th Congress, the ASA Advocacy Team attended a meeting with the Job and Careers Coalition. The meeting centered on a legislative agenda for 2019 pertaining to the workforce development and the skilled labor gap. The team also attended a meeting with the Drive Safe Coalition to address the Drive Safe Act and addressing the transportation issues that ASA members are facing. These issues are something that ASA members are already being effected by and these coalitions help position the Advocacy Team have a stronger voice on the issues in D.C.
At the Jobs and Careers Coalition meeting there were twenty seven other organizations, including ASA, at the table to discuss two possible bills to be on the lookout for and track. 1. The reauthorization of the Higher Education Act- which gives about 130 billion to higher education, among other things. 2. A possible bill that would give an additional 1 billion to the Perkins Act, which was recently reauthorized and currently only has 1 Billion in funding, which would be divided by all 50 states. There will be a “hill day” pertaining to educating the new members of Congress on the skilled labor gap in the trade industry and coalition letters that will be sent. However, there will still need to be a hard push at the state level to ensure funding,
At the Drive Safe Coalition, Andrew Terpe, from the office of Senator Todd Young (R-IL) was there to brief everyone in attendance on Senator Young’s plans to reintroduce the Drive Safe Act into the 116th Congress. This bill would allow 18-21 year old truck drivers to drive intrastate and interstate, as long as they complete certain driving requirements. One of which is obtaining an additional 400 hours of driving with supervisor!
The coalition and the ASA Advocacy Team is in the process of setting up meetings with Congress to find co-sponsors, an equal amount republican and democrat, to ensure the bill is introduced bipartisan. If your company is effected by the transportation issues and you would like to meet with your member of Congress about it, please contract Catherine Treadwell Perry, Director of Government Relations at email@example.com.
The coalition will start a communications campaign on the bill as soon as it is introduced. As of now, there is concentration on educating the new members of Congress on the transportation issues that are plaguing the industry and making sure that they are aware, so that when the bill is introduced there is no hesitation to get it passed.
The ASA Advocacy Team is dedicated to being your voice on The Hill and in D.C. These coalitions give the team a stronger voice and allow other organizations to work with the team in make sure that Congress hears ASA and the issues that really matter to ASA members.
- The Treasury Department and other shuttered agencies are set to reopen after Trump agreed to a deal to fund the government through Feb. 15, which does not include any money for his proposed border wall. The president said that if a final agreement doesn't have funding for the wall, he would shut down the government again or declare a national emergency that he says would give him the authority to build a wall without Congress' approval.
- Even after the Trump administration ordered about 30,000 Internal Revenue Service employees to return to work without pay, hundreds of Internal Revenue Service workers skipped work out of protest or financial necessity due to the partial government shutdown, and union leaders say the lack of personnel will delay tax refunds.
- White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said in an interview that there could be "very close to zero" economic expansion this quarter if the partial shutdown persists through March, though he predicted "humongous" growth of "4 or 5 percent" in the second quarter if federal agencies reopened by then. (Bloomberg)
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) proposed a "wealth tax" on Americans with more than $50 million in assets.
- At a White House roundtable, President Donald Trump said stopping surprise medical bills - an issue with bipartisan support - is a high priority for him. Both the House and the Senate have seen proposals to crack down on this practice, and the president said his goal is for patients to be aware "exactly what the cost is" before receiving care.
- The Office of Personnel Management extended the grace period for missed dental and vision premium payments from two missed pay periods to three, meaning federal workers in a non-pay status will not be billed for another two weeks, if the partial shutdown is ongoing at that time. The policy change was solidified Wednesday, but the OPM website did not immediately update its guidance, leading to confusion and concern among government employees. (The Washington Post)
- The Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department are set to reopen after President Donald Trump announced a deal with House and Senate leaders to fully fund the government until Feb. 15.
- The White House is considering new executive orders that would weaken states' authority to block energy projects and would help speed the construction of pipelines, according to sources familiar with the matter.
- An analysis of EPA data shows that the civil penalties imposed on polluters during the Trump administration fell during the last fiscal year to the lowest average level since 1994. Before Trump took office, EPA civil fines averaged more than $500 million a year, when adjusted for inflation, but last year's total was $72 million, or 85 percent below the historical average.
- Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) resigned as the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation amid fallout from a lawsuit claiming she fired an aide who said she was sexually assaulted by a supervisor at the foundation. The lawmaker also stepped down temporarily from her chairmanship of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told President Donald Trump in a letter that the House will not consider a resolution authorizing him to deliver his State of the Union address - originally set for Tuesday - until the government has reopened. Her note to the president came after Trump sent his own letter telling Pelosi he still planned to deliver the annual address next week, despite her concerns. (The Washington Post)
- House and Senate are both in session this week.
- National Association of Wholesalers is holding their Winter AEC meeting Monday and Tuesday.
A Republican U.S. representative on Thursday introduced White House-drafted legislation that would give President Donald Trump more power to levy tariffs on imported goods in an effort to pressure other countries to lower their duties and other trade barriers.
The measure offered by Representative Sean Duffy, which has been touted by Trump administration officials, has already been declared unacceptable by some Republican senators, including Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley.
The new tax legislation passed at the end of 2017 was already setting this tax season up to be a confusing one. But new tax laws plus a government shutdown? “Those two together, quite frankly, mean the perfect tax storm,” one accountant told Yahoo Finance.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) wants to curb spiraling inequality in the United States and make the rich pay, according to a scoop from Jeff Stein and Christopher Ingraham at the Washington Post.
They report that the UC Berkeley economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman are working with the presidential candidate on designing a proposal to levy a wealth tax on Americans with fortunes worth over $50 million.
Lawmakers in both parties are skeptical about President Trump’s chances of securing funding for his wall on the Mexican border after a 35-day partial government shutdown that bruised the White House’s political standing.
The deal reached last week gives Trump and Congress until Feb. 15 to reach a new deal to prevent another partial shutdown, and the president is demanding new legislation again that would fund his signature campaign issue.
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