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Catherine Treadwell Perry, J.D., Director of Government Relations
|Pledge to America's Workers
On July 19, 2018, President Trump signed into office an Executive Order on Workforces Development. The Executive Order is to ensure and “provide a coordinated process for developing a national strategy to ensure that the United States’ students and workers have access to affordable, relevant and innovative education and job training.” In order to help address this issue, the White House created the Pledge for America’s Workers. This is a pledge that companies and associations can sign in order to commit to providing training and education to their employees over the next five years. Why is this important to ASA members? Our industry is bleeding from a lack of a trained, skilled workforce. In order for plumbing, heating, cooling, and piping supplies to sell, we must have a trained workforce to install the products. This imitative will help ensure companies are and continuing to train and educate their employees.
The E.O. also created a policy advisory board with the sole purpose of bringing nonfederal entities together outside of the E.O. to come up with a national strategy to address the skilled workers gap. The policy board has 25 members of nonfederal government entities. There are three pillars, so to speak: corporate, educational, and state and local government officials.
Ivanka Trump then created the Pledge for America’s Workers, which is a call to action for the private sector to show support and their ongoing efforts to train workers.
The White House Policy Advisor who handles the Pledge to America’s Workers reached out to ASA Advocacy to talk about the imitative on Friday. This call was in response to last week’s White House meeting, where we teamed up with PHCC and to speak to the White House about infrastructure. ASA is looking into possibility of signing this Pledge.
Currently more than 200 companies and organizations have signed the Pledge, which would equate to over 7.9 million trained American workers over the next five years. You can find the list of companies that have signed on the initiative’s website.
This goes to show that ASA is growing our foot print in D.C. with the administration and on The Hill – the White House reached out to us! We are working hard to be ensure YOUR voice is heard in D.C.
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told senior House Democrats she'd like to see President Donald Trump "in prison," preferring he face prosecution for his alleged crimes after losing re-election to impeachment, according to sources. The comments came in a Tuesday night meeting, during which she clashed with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who pressed her to allow his committee to launch an impeachment inquiry. (Politico)
- Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa confirmed that the DNC will not hold a debate focused on climate change for the 2020 election, nor will it hold any other issue-specific debates, in order to ensure that voters hear from contenders "on dozens of issues of importance to American voters." Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and at least five additional Democratic presidential candidates had called for a climate-based debate. (HuffPost)
- Amid talk of Republicans voting on a disapproval resolution to block Trump's proposed 5 percent tariff on imports from Mexico, the president said in London that Republican lawmakers would be "foolish" to try to stop him. Mexican officials, set to meet with the Trump administration this week, expressed optimism that they could reach a deal to avoid the penalties, which are set to be imposed on June 10. (The Washington Post)
- Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden rolled out his campaign's climate platform, under which the former vice president would recommit the United States to the Paris climate accord and seek to eliminate net emissions of carbon dioxide by 2050 - one of the goals espoused in the congressional Green New Deal resolution. Biden's plan also calls for a $1.7 trillion investment over a decade in environmental justice and clean energy that would be paid for by removing some of President Donald Trump's tax breaks for corporations. (The New York Times)
- The Trump administration has “indefinitely suspended” the tariffs on U.S. imports from Mexico that had been scheduled to be imposed on Monday, June 10.
- The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection rejected permits for Williams Cos.' $926 million Northeast Supply Enhancement natural gas pipeline project but will allow the Tulsa, Okla.-based company to reapply, similar to a decision from New York regulators regarding the project last month. The pipeline would transport natural gas from Pennsylvania to New York, but opponents say it would unsettle tons of polluted
sediment. (The Associated Press)
- The Government Accountability Office said in a report that the Renewable Fuel Standard has not led to reduced gas prices or significantly reduced emissions, with prices likely rising a few pennies per gallon in corn-rich states and likely falling in places with ethanol production plants. The Department of Agriculture, which released a study in April finding reduced emissions from gas with corn-based ethanol, disagreed with the GAO's findings, saying the watchdog's conclusions should take volatile gas prices into account. (Bloomberg)
- The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's orders approving the Tennessee Gas Pipeline's Broad Run Expansion Project, denying a petition on procedural grounds. Petitioners had argued that FERC's orders ran counter to the court's earlier findings for the Sabal Trail Transmission pipeline, whose approval environmentalists challenged for failing to consider its greenhouse gas emissions. (S&P Global Platts)
- The House Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing to discuss the state and local tax deductions cap in late June. The issue, which largely affects high-tax Democratic states such as New York, New Jersey and California, has been politically difficult for Democrats since the cap mostly impacts high earners, but presidential candidates have focused on income inequality and taxes on the wealthiest Americans. (Bloomberg)
- A provision in the recently passed House bill to revamp retirement policy, which would scrap some liability for employers who include annuities in their 401(k) plans, has come under scrutiny from consumer groups who say it could spur more high-cost annuities in 401(k)s. The bill was passed by the House with wide bipartisan support in May, and the Senate is planning to consider similar legislation in the near future. (The New York Times)
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) released a plan that would actively manage the valuation of the dollar, which she said would protect American manufacturing workers. Warren released the proposal before trips to Michigan and Indiana as part of her 2020 presidential campaign. (Bloomberg)
- House and Senate are in Session.
- ASA Advocacy will be on The Hill all day with the High Performance Building Collation.
- Tuesday, ASA Advocacy and the High Performance Building Coalition will be holding a lunch briefing on with Industry and Officials from GSA and the Dept. of State in a briefing focused on Advancements in Federal Buildings.
- Tuesday, June 11, 2019 10:00 am Congressional Hearing: House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Efficiency and Resiliency in Federal Design and Construction
- Wednesday, ASA Advocacy will be holding a reception with the High Performance Building Coalition for members of Congress and their staff.
| || NEWS FROM STATE AND LOCAL |
Update on State Bills Being Tracked
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.
- New York (S04479): Relates to the creation of the strategic investment in workforce development program. has had recent activity: referred to economic development
- Pennsylvania (HB1585 and SB 556): Providing for infrastructure revenue; and making a related repeal including grants to remediate lead contamination in the drinking water of schools and child care centers in this Commonwealth.
The Department on Transportation recently released a proposal that calls for Congress to crack down on protests of existing or under-construction pipelines, as reported by to Politico. Current law punishes damaging or destroying existing pipelines with fines and up to 20 years in prison. The proposal, by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), would expand the offenses to include "vandalism, tampering with, or impeding, disrupting or inhibiting the operation of" pipelines and include both those currently in operation and those under construction, according to the publication.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, a Democrat hailing from New York, jabbed President Trump recently after Trump said he would drop plans to impose tariffs on Mexico because his administration had reached a deal to stem the flow of migrants to the U.S. "This is an historic night! @realDonaldTrump has announced that he has cut a deal to 'greatly reduce, or eliminate, Illegal Immigration coming from Mexico and into the United States,'" Schumer tweeted.
President Trump recently hailed a deal reached between his administration and Mexico to stem the flow of migrants heading toward the U.S. in return for indefinitely suspending tariffs on the U.S.'s southern neighbor. In a series of tweets, Trump focused on those who had praised the deal reached recently while voicing optimism about Mexico's efforts to curtail illegal immigration to the U.S., saying the country "will try very hard, and if they do that, this will be a very successful agreement for both the United States and Mexico!"
The House Appropriations Committee recently advanced a $137.1 billion spending bill covering transportation and housing, about $6 billion above current levels and $17.3 billion more than President Trump's request. The measure was approved in a 29-21 vote, divided mostly along party lines. The Trump administration had requested an $11 billion reduction in spending.
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