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Catherine Treadwell Perry, J.D., Director for Government Relations
|ASA Advocacy Fights Hard for USMCA
Last week ASA Advocacy participated in a Fly-In hosted by the National Association of Manufactures to tell Congress to pass the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) now! This is especially important to our members because the Congressional passage of the USMCA will help manufactures grow in the United States, compete globally and support millions of well-paying manufacturing jobs across the country.
The Fly-In flooded The Hill with 140 meetings over the day. We met with Rep. Mike Quigley (IL-D-05), Rep. Daniel Lipinksi (IL-D-03), Rep. Danny Davis (IL-D-07), and Rep. Sean Casten (IL-D-06). Our message was clear and concise; North America trade is critical for manufactures across America, the USMCA helps strengthen and modernize America’s innovation engine, the USMCA expands America’s manufacturing access to Canada and Mexico, and the USMCA levels the playing field for manufactures in America.
The continued success of U.S. manufacturing depends on our critical North American partnerships. Canada and Mexico alone purchase one-fifth of the total value of U.S. manufacturing outpost. Canada and Mexico purchase more U.S.- made goods than our next 10 trading partners combined despite representing only six percent of the world’s population.
The USMCA updates and makes significant improvements in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and provides manufactures much needed certainty within the North American market. In fact, the USMCA has the best labor and environmental provisions in any trade agreement, including the original NAFTA.
Let us not forget to talk about jobs! The jobs of more than two million American manufacturing workers depends on exports to Canada and Mexico, along with more than 43,000 small and medium sized businesses. I also conveyed the message that if our manufactures are strong, our distributors will be strong!
What can you do to help Congressional passage of the USMCA? We have started a grassroots campaign to help urge Congress to pass the USMCA immediately. We can NOT wait another year for this agreement. Please click here to send your letters to your members of Congress. Also, please forward the link to your employees, friends, and family. There is power in numbers and Congress needs to hear from us NOW! A vote for the USMCA is a vote for America’s manufacturing workers!
- President Donald Trump's re-election campaign received substantial contributions from fossil fuel industry executives, with several donors reaching the $360,600 donation maximum to the Trump Victory Committee, a joint fundraising campaign with the Republican National Committee. Donors included executives from Energy Transfer Equity; ABC Supply Co., Continental Resources Inc. and Lucas Oil Products Inc. (E&E News)
- Former Vice President Joe Biden and California Sen. Kamala Harris will face a rematch during the second set of Democratic debates over July 30-31, following a random draw by CNN. Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts will lead the first night of debates, joined by several more moderate candidates. (The Associated Press)
- Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is pledging to turn away donations from the health insurance and pharmaceutical lobby during his bid for the White House, while challenging fellow candidates seeking the Democratic presidential nomination to follow his lead. Sanders is set to deliver a speech on "Medicare for All" this afternoon, and has vowed to deny contributions from companies represented by groups such as America's Health Insurance Plans and PhRMA, though he will accept donations from "rank-and-file workers" employed by such companies. (Politico)
- Former Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) said he is considering a run for the Republican presidential nomination against Trump next year. Sanford - who lost a primary last year after publicly criticizing Trump - said if he runs, his campaign would be about pushing a debate on the debt, deficit and government spending. (The Post and Courier)
- Trump administration and congressional negotiators are rushing to reach an agreement on a budget and debt deal by the end of the week, and people familiar with the talks said they are likely to include few or zero actual spending cuts, marking a retreat for the White House. The process remains in limbo, with negotiators awaiting final approval on the two-year debt limit and caps deal from President Donald Trump. (The Washington Post)
- President Donald Trump said he will nominate Eugene Scalia, a well-known figure in labor policy and son of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, to be his next Labor secretary. Trump's announcement came after a push from Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who suggested his name to several senior administration officials after Alexander Acosta announced plans to resign amid scrutiny for his role in a Jeffrey Epstein plea agreement. (The Wall Street Journal)
- Trump said a Navy ship shot down an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz after it came too close to the USS Boxer in international waters, which a Defense Department official confirmed. The action came after Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said it had seized a foreign tanker. (The Wall Street Journal)
- The EPA is ending a practice that allowed pollution enforcement staff to perform unannounced inspections of power plants and chemical facilities, according to a recent memo to the agency's regional administrators. Environmentalists said the policy change removes an enforcement tool, while the EPA said the change will improve communication with businesses. (The Hill)
- Today marked Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur's final open meeting before she leaves the panel next month. Her departure will bring the five-person FERC down to three commissioners - two Republicans and one Democrat - which is still enough for the quorum needed for FERC to sign off on larger actions. (E&E News)
- In a 3-1 vote, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission signed off on a liquefied natural gas project application from Kinder Morgan Inc., making it the commission's fifth such approval of 2019. The Gulf LNG project would increase capacity at an existing terminal in Pascagoula, Miss., by 11.5 million metric tons and would allow for two-way gas flow. (Houston Chronicle)
- A group of congressional Democrats led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has proposed legislation that would require private equity funds to take responsibility for debt, pension-related obligations and other liabilities of companies under their control. Private equity firms, which Warren likened to "vampires - bleeding the company dry and walking away enriched even as the company succumbs," would also be legally liable for violations of federal laws and would have to make fees and returns public. (The Wall Street Journal)
- The House voted largely among party lines to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, more than doubling the current federal minimum wage, though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he will not take up the legislation. The country has not raised its minimum wage since 2009 and is currently in the longest stretch of stagnant minimum wages since it was established in 1938. (The New York Times)
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she is aiming to have a bill on the House floor next Thursday that would raise the debt limit and discretionary spending caps before her chamber adjourns for its August recess. Joined by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Pelosi had another call with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin today, and she said talks would need to end by Friday evening to meet the timeline. (Roll Call)
- Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced S. 2156, the 2019 version of the S Corporation Modernization Act. The new Modernization Act focuses on leveling the rules between S corporations and other business forms while increasing the opportunity for S corporations to raise capital.
- New Jersey, New York and Connecticut sued the Trump administration, challenging Internal Revenue Service rules that outlaw certain state efforts to work around the 2017 federal tax law's cap on state and local deductions. The three states, along with Maryland, filed a lawsuit last year challenging the SALT cap and have since sought to help their residents skirt the cap by allowing them to pay much of their taxes to a government-blessed charitable fund and then claim that contribution on their federal tax bill. (Politico)
- The Senate approved updates to international tax treaties with Switzerland, Japan and Luxembourg, the first such approvals in decades. The treaties allow companies with operations in these countries to avoid previous tax penalties for transferring money abroad to their operations. (The New York Times)
- Trade negotiations between the United States and China have hit a bump as the two countries continue to not meet demands on key issues, according to people familiar with the matter. Beijing isn't buying the amount of agricultural goods that President Donald Trump promised at a press conference, while China wants the United States to issue special licenses for U.S. suppliers to resume shipments to Huawei Technologies Co., according to a person familiar with the matter. (Bloomberg)
- The Democratic House is prepared to approve legislation overturning the Affordable Care Act's "Cadillac tax," a tax levied on generous and costly employer-sponsored health plans that was set to go into effect in 2022. Members of both parties say the provision, which was intended to help pay for the ACA and reduce overall health spending, would unfairly burden the middle class, though the Congressional Budget Office estimates the repeal of the tax will cost about $193 billion over the next 10 years. (CNBC)
- House and Senate are in session.
- ASA will meet with Congressman Drew Ferguson (R-GA) to discuss tax issues.
| || NEWS FROM STATE AND LOCAL |
No new state activity to report on this week.
During his 2013 State of the Union address, the first of his second term, then-president Barack Obama proposed something shocking. “Tonight, let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage to $9.00 an hour,” he said. “We should be able to get that done.” Around the same time, former senator Tom Harkin of Iowa went even further and proposed raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. But progressives wanted more.
U.S. and Chinese senior officials spoke by phone this week, the second call since the late June summit at which the two sides agreed to a truce in their ongoing trade conflict. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Treasury Steven Mnuchin spoke to the Chinese side earlier, a USTR spokesman said. China’s Commerce Ministry said Vice Premier Liu He and Commerce Minister Zhong Shan were among those on the call. There were no details released from both sides on what was discussed.
The Wall Street Journal
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi set a deadline for Congress and the Trump administration to reach an agreement on raising the U.S. government’s borrowing limit and setting new overall spending levels. Mrs. Pelosi, who has been regularly speaking with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, said she wanted to vote on any potential agreement one day before the House goes on recess.
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