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Catherine Treadwell Perry, J.D., Director of Government Relations
May 13th – 17th marked the 7th annual Infrastructure Week. Infrastructure Week brings America’s businesses, workers, citizens, and elected leaders from all levels of government – all united around one message, “America’s future will be shaped by the infrastructure choices we make today. So let’s #BuildForTomorrow.” This is especially important to ASA members! As talks of a trillion dollar infrastructure package start to take place in D.C. and with Congress, the ASA Advocacy team is here to ensure that building and what goes inside of buildings, such as, PHCP and PVF products are not left out of the discussion.
Infrastructure Weeks isn’t just a D.C. event. It’s a national event. All over the nation, events are helping to bring awareness to the need for infrastructure. The events range from briefings, planning sessions, receptions, themed summits, and of course, my personal favorite, a D.C. Fly-In.
The awareness of the week has grown so much that even Congressional members are starting to help put the word out and build their agenda around it. Recently Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI-2) twitted, “This #InfrastructureWeek, let’s remember we need a skilled #InfrastructureWorkforce in order to rebuild America. That’s why @CongressmanGT, @DonaldNorcross @RepMcKinley & I are pushing for career and technical education (#CTE) funding in any upcoming infrastructure legislation.” Not only was he promoting awareness of Infrastructure Week, but he was incorporating his agenda to help workforce development, which happens to be another big issue for ASA members. As you can see, Infrastructure Week is an exciting time for organizations to come together to collaborate, educate, and advocate for better infrastructure.
In other news, ASA Advocacy has been on The Hill advocating for The DRIVE Safe Act. I am scheduling meetings with democrats on the House Transportation Committee, who also sit in districts where ASA has members. I recently met with Congressman Steve Cohen’s (D-TN-9) office. The Teamsters and safety groups who oppose the bill have also been hitting The Hill. This is why it is so important for YOU to click here and send your members of Congress a letter in support of The Drive Safe Act.
The ASA Advocacy Team is dedicated to being your voice on The Hill and in D.C. Please contact Catherine Treadwell Perry at email@example.com with what issues are effecting your business.
- Montana Gov. Steve Bullock announced he is running for the Democratic nomination for president. In a video announcing his candidacy, Bullock referred to his own 2016 victory in a state Trump won by 20 points to tout his ability to attract Republican voters. (CNN)
- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio launched his presidential campaign, becoming the 23rd Democrat to join the field to challenge Trump next year.
- The U.S. Trade Representative's office has released a list of the $300 billion in Chinese goods to be targeted by a new 25 percent tariff that would cover nearly all remaining Chinese imports but would not go into effect until late June at the earliest. President Donald Trump said that he would meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Group of 20 summit in Japan on June 28-29 and that it would be clear "in about three or four weeks" if trade talks were successful. (Bloomberg)
- China's Finance Ministry said it will raise tariffs to 25 percent from 10 percent on U.S. liquefied natural gas exports on June 1, a move likely to reduce U.S. LNG shipments to North Asia during summer peak demand season. The set of new tariffs announced today on $50 billion worth of products from the United States excludes crude oil, giving China leeway in future trade talks. (S&P Global Platts)
- The Chinese government said it will never surrender to external pressure after the United States hiked tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, but stopped short of saying how it will hit back. As the two countries continue to search for a trade deal, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said there is a "strong possibility" Trump will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at a G-20 summit in Japan next month. (Reuters)
- President Donald Trump has reviewed an updated military plan that would put up to 120,000 troops in the Middle East should Iran attack U.S. forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons, according to administration officials. The revisions were ordered by National Security Advisor John Bolton, but it's uncertain whether Trump would send a force of that size back to the region after seeking to disentangle the United States from Afghanistan and Syria. (The New York Times)
- Top Democratic leaders agreed to fund a portion of the White House's emergency funding request to address the surge of migrants at the southern border in a long-stalled disaster relief package, sources said. The formal offer from Democrats rejected the Trump administration's more contentious requests, such as more money for detention beds or for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
- Following passage of legislation that would protect people with pre-existing conditions, the House is set to continue its focus on health care this week, voting on a package of seven bills designed to strengthen Obamacare and lower prescription drug prices. The Senate is expected to spend the week continuing to confirm Trump's nominees, including some of the more contentious judicial appointees. (Roll Call)
- The Trump administration has spent months strategizing on how to improve price transparency in health care by using administrative tools, such as the Department of Labor's authority over private health plan standards and hospital-payment rules under Medicare. According to people party to these discussions, the White House wants insurers to disclose the rates they negotiate for services, and wants providers to give patients their total cost of care before receiving any in-network or out-of-network service or treatment. (The Wall Street Journal)
- Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts announced online a plan that would require the U.S. military to reach net-zero carbon emissions across non-combat bases by 2030. The idea, she said, is "consistent" with the Green New Deal resolution, and Warren will introduce a bill laying out the policy this week. (The Hill)
- In a 3-1 vote, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved an expansion project at the Freeport LNG export terminal in Texas which, if completed, would increase the terminal's liquefaction capacity by up to 5.1 million metric tons per year.
- The EPA changed its Renewable Fuel Standard biofuel blending waiver policy at least four months before a U.S. appellate court issued a decision in August 2017 that the agency has subsequently cited to justify the exemptions, according to court records and former EPA air official Mandy Gunasekara.
- During Small Business Week, the Internal Revenue Service reminds small business owners and self-employed individuals to take deductions and credits that will help their bottom line. This year, National Small Business Week is May 5-11. For more than 50 years, the week has recognized the important contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. Reviewing options and eligibility now can help business owners better estimate their tax situation and plan ahead. Here are just a few key deductions and credits that can benefit small business taxpayers. Click here to read more. (IR-2019-93, May 10, 2019)
- The House and Senate are in session this week
- Thursday May 24th ASA Advocacy is meeting with Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3) to speak about infrastructure.
- May 29th ASA Advocacy is meeting with Congressman Colin Allred’s (D-TX-32) to speak about the DRIVE Safe Act.
| || NEWS FROM STATE AND LOCAL |
|State Legislative Activity
Update on State Bills Being Tracked
Colorado (HB1231): New Appliance Energy And Water Efficiency Standards has had recent activity: Sent to the Governor.
Nevada (AB163): Revises provisions governing water conservation. (BDR 48-798) has had recent activity: Taken from General File. Placed on General File for next legislative day.
New York (SO 1947): Relates to hours, wages and supplements in contracts for public work. Bill obtained two new sponsors: New York Assemb. Charles Barron (NY-60) and Sen. Brian Kavanagh (NY-26)
New State Bill Activity
Illinois (HB 3427) Water Heater Safety Valve Act - Creates the Water Heater Safety Valve Act. Provides that a manufacturer or supplier of a hot water heater for use in a residential home or facility must supply or attach a temperature mixing valve or other safety valve to the hot water heater or tank that prevents water with a temperature above 130 degrees Fahrenheit from coming from any faucet or other source of water into direct contact with a person.
Rep. Harley Rouda (D-Calif.) said on Friday that infrastructure may be the only issue on which Republicans and Democrats can come together to pass legislation.
"This is probably the only major piece of legislation that we will be able to see both parties come together and make sure that happens," Rouda told Hill.TV's Kyrstal Ball and Saagar Enjeti on "Rising."
"My hope also is that the president takes the recommendations of the committee, and Congress in general, and not try to throw monkey wrenches into it, and again, follows our lead," he continued.
The Washington Post
There are, at this point, more than 20 candidates running for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2020. Since March 1, they’ve cumulatively tweeted nearly 12,000 times.
About 7 percent of those tweets were about President Trump or Republicans. Another 7 percent were about the economy (determined by looking for keywords like “jobs" or “wage”).
The Trump administration made it easier for oil refineries to get waivers from the nation’s biofuel law at least four months before a 2017 court decision it often cites to justify the move to the corn lobby, and the move was motivated by a desire to save the oil industry money, Reuters has learned.
President Trump in a new interview chided acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney for throwing cold water on the chances of completing an infrastructure deal with Democrats.
In an interview on "The Next Revolution" on Fox News, host Steve Hilton noted Mulvaney's skeptical comments coincided with a meeting late last month between Trump and Democratic leaders at the White House.
Today, U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Rob Portman (R-OH), co-chairs of the Senate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, introduced the Jumpstart Our Businesses By Supporting Students (JOBS) Act, a bill that would help students access training for the 7.3 million vacant jobs that are unfilled in part due to a shortage of qualified workers.
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