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Catherine Treadwell Perry, J.D., Director of Government Relations
|ASA Advocacy at the White House Twice This Week!
Last week, ASA Advocacy was at the White House twice advocating for infrastructure and workforce development. This is important to ASA members because the Administration is very supportive of an infrastructure package moving this Congress, but ASA needs to ensure that water infrastructure and a trained infrastructure workforce is included in ANY infrastructure package that moves.
Chuck White (PHCC), Mark Valentini (PHCC), Catherine Treadwell (ASA), and Michael Copp (PHCC)
On Friday, ASA joined the Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors at the White House! We spoke to the White House Office of Public Liaison about the importance that water infrastructure being included in any infrastructure package. This meeting was a foundational meeting to build a working relationship with the administration and build on a future meeting with PHCC and ASA to continue the discussion about Infrastructure.
The President is very supportive of a huge infrastructure package and understands the Nation’s need for it. In fact, he would like to have a two billion dollar package come across his desk to sign. However, he must address trade first and until Congress passes the United States Mexico Canada Agreement is signed, he will not move on infrastructure.
ASA has wrote a statement of support for the President's negotiation and signing of the USMCA on December 3, 2018, but we need YOUR help! In order to help move the USMCA along, we will be starting a grass roots campaign on our website where you can write your members of Congress on the importance of getting the USMCA passed and into law, so that we can then concentrate on infrastructure. Stay tuned for details!
Earlier in the week, I met with the Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director, Office of Legislative Affairs in the East Wing of the White House to speak about water infrastructure and workforce development. Once again, I spoke about the need for a trained infrastructure workforce to not be left out of the discussion when talking about infrastructure. Due to this meeting, I will be in contact with Ivanka Trump's team who leads workforce development. ASA Advocacy looks forward to connecting with Ivanka's team, so pleased stay tuned for details!
The ASA Advocacy team is working hard to ensure that our industry is heard in D.C. Please let us know what issues are important to you. Contact Catherine Treadwell Perry, J.D., Director of Government Relations at email@example.com with any legislative or regulatory issues you may be dealing with at your company.
- A third Republican — John Rose of Tennessee — blocked a bipartisan $19.1 billion disaster aid bill from passing the House, but the chamber is expected to send the measure to Trump's desk on Monday when lawmakers return for recorded votes. Republicans did not block passage of a two-week extension of the National Flood Insurance Program, which had been set to expire at the end of this week. (Roll Call)
- Former Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), the 10th-longest-serving senator in U.S. history, died at age 81. First elected in 1978, he served in the Senate until he resigned last year as chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee due to health concerns. (Mississippi Clarion Ledger)
- Attorney General William Barr said he felt special counsel Robert Mueller "could've reached a decision" on whether Trump committed obstruction of justice regardless of the Justice Department's policy that prohibits the indictment of a sitting president. While Mueller would not make a determination on obstruction, Barr said he and then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein "felt it was necessary" for them to render judgment on the issue. (CBS News)
- On May 16, Senate Finance Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) announced the formation of five task forces charged with providing recommendations for 42 expired or expiring tax provisions. The task forces cover the following issue areas: (1) workforce and community development, (2) health taxes, (3) energy, (4) business cost recovery and (5) individual, excise taxes and other temporary policies. There is a separate task force for disaster relief provisions. The goal of the effort is to provide long-term tax certainty by ending Congress's practice of making short-term and retroactive extensions of various tax provisions. With that in mind, the task forces will consider whether a tax extender should be made permanent, extended for a period time, eliminated or reformed. Meanwhile in the House, Ways and Means Democrats are reportedly working on a draft extenders package that would be paid for by moving up by two years — from the end of 2025 to the end of 2023 — the expiration of tax reform's increased estate tax exemption. (NAM Tax and Corporate Finance Update May 31, 2019)
- President Donald Trump announced an escalating series of tariffs, starting at a 5 percent tariff on all goods from Mexico beginning June 10 and increasing until it reaches 25 percent on Oct. 1, in an attempt to force the Mexican government to prevent Central American migrants from crossing its territory on their way to the United States. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said the new tariffs could upend the new North American trade deal and called Trump's announcement "a misuse of presidential tariff authority and contrary to congressional intent."
- U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin opposed President Donald Trump's decision to impose tariffs on Mexican imports, according to a source close to the White House. Immigration hawk Stephen Miller pushed the tariffs, which occurred while Trump was "riled up" by conservative radio about an uptick in recent border crossings, according to the source. (CNBC)
- U.S. Vice President Mike Pence will push Congress to ratify the new North American trade agreement this summer, he said at the start of a meeting in Ottawa with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Pence has been pushing for the deal in the United States, but the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement will likely face opposition in the House from Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) (Financial Post)
- Ohio's House of Representatives passed a bill, 53-43, to create a $300 million subsidy program for two nuclear facilities and two coal generators in the state, paid for by eliminating Ohio's energy efficiency standard and renewable energy standard. The bill now heads to the Senate, and it passed the House after Bob Paduchik, a senior adviser to President Donald Trump's re-election campaign, called at least five House members urging them to vote "yes," according to five people familiar with the calls. (Politico)
- • The Trump administration formally appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals a recent ruling that blocks President Donald Trump from removing an Obama-era ban on offshore drilling in much of the Arctic Ocean. Early in his presidency, Trump sought to revoke the ban by executive order, but environmental groups challenged the move. (The Hill)
- Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said the department will not hold oil and gas leasing in the area around Chaco Culture National Historical Park for a year, as officials complete a new management plan for energy development in the region. Native American tribes consider the area sacred and want an official buffer to protect areas within 10 miles of the park. (The Associated Press)
- ASA Advocacy met with Representative Colin Allred's (D-TX) office to discuss the DRIVE Safe Act.
- The House and Senate are in session this week.
- ASA Advocacy will be attending a meeting at the National Association of Manufactures to discuss regulatory and legislation updates.
- June 10th starts High Performance Building week and will be a "Hill Day" for the High Performance Building Coalition and ASA.
| || NEWS FROM STATE AND LOCAL |
Update on State Bills Being Tracked
Colorado (HB1231): New Appliance Energy and Water Efficiency Standards has had recent activity: Governor has signed bill into law. Click here for the final document. Key aspects of the new legislation are:
Nevada (AB163): Revises provisions governing water conservation. This bill was passed and sent to the Governor for signature with an amendment to the implementation phase which will allow, when a WaterSense requirement is updated, for a 12 month grace period for products to be certified to the new requirements.
- Effective September 1, 2019, a person shall not sell a new low-efficiency plumbing fixture not certified to the EPA WaterSense Program standards, other than a flushometer-valve water closet, in Colorado.
- Effective January 1, 2021, a person shall not sell a new low-efficiency flushometer-valve water closet not certified to the EPA Watersense Program standards in Colorado.
- The designation "new" does not apply to products held in inventory on or before the effective date of the applicable standard.
New State Activity
Connecticut: ASA has become aware that the Connecticut Legislature could vote at any time on a new state budget and tax package that includes a $53 million income tax hike on most small businesses. Last year, the legislature implemented a new tax on pass-through entities (LLCs, LLPs, partnerships, sole proprietorships, S Corps) with an offsetting income tax credit to mitigate federal caps on state and local tax deductions. However, that program — meant to support Connecticut small businesses — is now being targeted as a new source of revenue to help fund ever increasing state spending. Please click here if you are a resident of Connecticut to document your opposition this possible action.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly taken aim at drug makers for contributing to the nation's runaway healthcare spending.
Now he's setting his sights on insurers, hospitals and other providers as a way to achieve one of his top promises — lowering costs for consumers.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) recently called for an impeachment inquiry against President Trump, becoming the tenth 2020 presidential hopeful to do so.
"I believe the Judiciary Committee should begin impeachment inquiries," Sanders said at a campaign rally in Henderson, Nev. "That is inquiries, not impeachment, to determine whether or not Trump has committed impeachable offenses."
The New York Times
The House will not act on a long-delayed disaster relief package until the full chamber returns, after a House Republican again blocked final passage of the measure. Representative John Rose of Tennessee is the third Republican in a week to object to House Democrats' attempt to use a procedural motion to pass the $19.1 billion package, which would allocate aid to communities and farmers still recovering from natural disasters. Without the full chamber present, passage would have to be unanimous.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) recently said she's "optimistic" that lawmakers can strike a bipartisan infrastructure deal, but acknowledged the long odds if President Trump keeps lashing out over investigations into his administration.
Pelosi noted that Trump has said he wants to work on infrastructure in most of their past conversations in person or on the phone, leading her to "still feel optimistic" that it remains an issue the president is interested in pursuing.
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