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Catherine Treadwell Perry, J.D., Director for Government Relations
|Lead and Copper Bills Reintroduced
The National Opportunity for Lead Exposure Accountability and Deterrence (NO LEAD) Act and Get the Lead out of Military Housing Act were both recently reintroduced by Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus in the House and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (¬¬D-IL) in the Senate. Both of the bills pertain to lead and copper. The NO LEAD Act would help ensure drinking water is safe from lead and copper and the Get the Lead out of the Military Housing Act would improve testing and inspection for lead in military housing and military schools.
These bills are important to ASA members because ASA supports and promotes policies which advance the restoration of our nation’s water infrastructure.
The NO LEAD Act would do several things: it would make lead testing reports more easily available for the public, create a lead-service-line inventory to help monitor contaminated service lines and ensure the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) develops a universal testing protocol to make sure the entire lead service line is replaced if water contamination is detected, and update the Lead and Copper Rule, which has not been updated in 25 years, by lowering the lead action level from 15 parts per billion (ppb) currently, to 10 ppb by 2020 and 5 ppb by 2026.
Congressman Kildee stated, “The Lead and Copper Rule is outdated, putting children and families across the country at risk. My hometown of Flint knows all too well the consequences of failing to protect our families from lead in our water and we must prevent a similar man-made crisis from happening elsewhere. I am proud to introduce the NO LEAD Act with Senator Duckworth and update the Lead and Copper Rule to better protect public health and restore public confidence in their water systems.”
Military Housing Act would improve testing and inspection for lead in military housing and military schools would The Kildee legislation would, guarantee all children of military families who are at risk of lead exposure are tested in compliance with the American Academy of Pediatrics’ and Allow third-party testing for lead-based paint in homes on military bases.
ASA Advocacy is dedicated to being YOUR voice on the Hill and in D.C. We are closely following the progression of these bills. Please stay tuned for updates.
- Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg released a health care plan focused on rural America, proposing "Medicare for All Who Want It" as a pathway to universal coverage for all rural Americans, using loan forgiveness plans to grow the workforce and raising Medicare reimbursement for providers in underserved areas, among other things.
- Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said his 2022 reelection bid will be his last political race.
- Rep. Kenny Marchant announced he will not seek re-election next year, becoming the fourth Texas Republican who will leave Congress after the 2020 elections. Like some of the other Texas seats held by Republicans heading for the exits, Marchant's district is viewed as competitive for Democrats hoping to pad their House majority, due in part to changing demographics.
- Trump's re-election campaign, the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee said they will stop spending to advertise on Twitter after the company temporarily locked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's campaign account until Friday. McConnell's campaign had posted a video of violent threats against him, something the company said violated its "violent threats policy" but that Republicans view as an escalation of bias against conservatives.
- President Donald Trump is scheduled to deliver a speech next month introducing his plan to restructure the health care system, according to White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, and it is expected to include the international pricing index - a proposal to link drug prices in the United States with prices in comparable nations. Conway has already met with House Republicans about the plan.
- Democratic presidential hopefuls Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), alongside a group of senators, wrote a letter to the Food and Drug Administration pressing the agency to use its full authority to reprimand Novartis AG-subsidiary AveXis Inc. for failing to disclose data manipulation affecting FDA approval of Zolgensma, its $2.1 million gene therapy. The lawmakers said the behavior from Novartis, which conducted its own internal investigation before alerting the agency, "smacks of the pharmaceutical industry's privilege and greed" and asked the FDA to explain its process for handling cases of data falsification. (Stat News)
- EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed a proposal that would increase federal authority to grant permits for infrastructure projects, like pipelines, under the Clean Water Act.
- In November, California showed the EPA an outline of the pact that the state subsequently finalized with four automakers to improve fuel economy of vehicles sold in the United States, according to excerpts of a presentation. A California Air Resources Board spokesman confirmed that the state had suggested the plan to the EPA but was reportedly told by the agency that the idea was not "a productive alternative."
- The Environmental Protection Agency went beyond President Donald Trump's directive to cut two regulations for each new one issued, rescinding 26 rules while issuing four new ones, according to the agency's internal watchdog. The EPA inspector general found that the agency "had the highest number of deregulatory actions" among federal agencies in Trump's first year. (CNN)
- The U.S. Department of Energy announced $50 million for new and innovative research of technologies for trucks, off-road vehicles, and the fuels that power them. Funded through the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), these selections highlight the DOE’s priorities in gaseous fuels research, including natural gas, biopower, and hydrogen; heavy-duty freight electrification; hydrogen infrastructure and fuel cell technologies for heavy-duty applications; and energy efficient off-road vehicles.
- DOE Request for Information - in an August 9, 2019 Federal Register notice from the U.S. Department of Energy the DOE announced initiating an effort to determine whether to amend the current uniform national standard for unfired hot water storage tanks (“UFHWSTs”). Under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975, as amended, DOE must review this standard at least once every six years and publish either a notice of proposed rulemaking (“NOPR”) to propose an amended standard (or standards) for UFHWSTs or a notice of determination that the existing standard does not need amended.
- Trump imposed new economic sanctions on the Venezuelan government as it seeks to have President Nicolás Maduro removed from office. Some experts predicted a modest economic effect from the sanctions, given that Trump has already repeatedly placed sanctions on Maduro's government.
- The Trump administration has designated China as a currency manipulator, the first time the United States has given a country that label since the 1990s, even after China's central bank chief, Yi Gang, said the country wouldn't leverage its currency against the United States in trade disputes. If there is no progress a year from China receiving the label, the country faces sanctions from the United States, including its companies getting a ban from U.S. government contracts.
- President Donald Trump suggested that trade negotiations with China slated to resume in September may not happen, saying "if we do, that's fine. If we don't, that's fine." Trump's comments came after tensions escalated after he said he would impose 10 percent tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese imports beginning Sept. 1. (The Wall Street Journal)
- The House and Senate are in recess.
| || NEWS FROM STATE AND LOCAL |
Update on State Bills Being Tracked
Pennsylvania HB1636 – (Lead in drinking water) Providing for the Public School Building Emergency Repair and Renovation Grant Program; establishing the Public School Building Emergency Repair and Renovation Grant Fund; and making an appropriation. Bill obtained two new sponsors: Rep. Jason Dawkins (PA-179) and Rep. Jeanne McNeill (PA-133)
New State Activity
No new state activity.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has had a steady lead in Iowa polls, but Democratic strategists say Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a democrat from Massachusetts, is rising and poses the greatest risk to him in the Hawkeye State.
Iowa has long been seen as a tough state for Biden, as its caucusgoers tend to go for more progressive candidates.
That would seem to fit the bill for Warren, though she is battling fellow progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, for support among Iowa caucusgoers.
Taxes are playing a leading role in the health care debate that’s dividing the field of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.
Centrist candidates are criticizing their opponents on the left who support the single-payer proposal known as “Medicare for All” by arguing that it is too expensive and would require tax hikes for the middle class.
Progressives counter that Americans will be better off overall under their plan because the amount households spend on health care will go down, even if their taxes go up.
Democrats, environmentalists and state officials have lambasted a new proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that would limit states’ ability to stall the construction of pipelines. The regulation targets a portion of the Clean Water Act known as Section 401, which states have used to block controversial pipeline projects, arguing they pose a risk of contaminating drinking water. The Trump administration proposal would cement guidance issued in June that critics say seeks to limit states’ influence over controversial pipeline projects.
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