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Catherine Treadwell Perry, Director of Government Relations
|ASA Goes to the White House to Pledge to Train 35,000 Employees
Last Friday, ASA went to the White House to sign the Pledge to America’s Workers. ASA pledged to train and educate 35,000 employees over the span on five years. This is important to ASA members because there is a huge skilled workers gap in our industry and the Pledge to America’s Workers is an initiative to address the gap.
ASA President, Steve Cook, pledges to train 35,000 employees.
There is a critical need to hire and train qualified replacements throughout the supply chain. In fact, statistics show that for every five plumbers that retire, only one is being replaced. According to ASA’s 2015 Labor Study, the total workforce for the PHCP/PVF wholesale industry is estimated at 205,408 full time and part time employees and by 2020, 25% of the employees in the PHCP and PVF industries will have retired.
Beginning in 2018, ASA volunteer leaders met to discuss the future needs of our industry and the customers we serve. One outcome of the discussions is the strategic initiative - ProjectTalent™. The overarching goal of ProjectTalent™ is to enable ASA members to attract workers. The initiative has 3 key components: 1) development of a media campaign to brand the PHCP and PVF industries as an industry of choice; 2) development of a career portal where potential candidates can access to learn more about career opportunities in our industry and connect with ASA members looking for qualified candidates; and 3) providing ASA members with a “career opportunity toolbox” that will help them market the industry and their companies and ultimately, attract qualified candidates.
The Pledge to America’s Workers stemmed from part of the National Council for the American Worker, the Trump Administration is asking companies and trade groups throughout the country to sign our Pledge to America’s Workers—committing to expand programs that educate, train, and reskill American workers from high-school age to near-retirement.
Since President Trump signed the Executive Order, more than 300 companies and organizations have signed the Pledge, contributing to over 14 MILLION new education and training opportunities for American students and workers over the next five years.
ASA is committed to the pledge and excited to participate. However, there is still more hard work to do. ASA members were on the Hill last Wednesday advocating for legislation such as the Jumpstarting our Businesses by Supporting Students (JOBS) Act. This bill would extend Pell Grant funding to short, job-focused community college education and training, which means that Pell Grants would now be available to students looking to go into the skilled trades. Also, the Building U.S. Infrastructure by Leveraging Demands for Skills (BUILDS) Act, The BUILDS Act promotes industry partnerships made up of local businesses and industry organizations, workforce boards, and education and training providers to support workforce training programs in targeted infrastructure industries.
ASA members didn’t stop there! ASA members also came together to advocate for CTE programs and apprenticeships in any upcoming infrastructure bill! Any investment to improve our infrastructure systems could create millions of new jobs, requiring millions of skilled workers to fill them. ASA supports ensuring that there is an educated and well trained workforce to meet the demand. It is important that during this discussion what goes into buildings such as plumbing, heating, cooling, and piping, but the need for a workforce to manufacture, distribute, sale, install, and build these critical products are not left out.
Together, with the Pledge to America’s Workers and this critical legislation, there can finally be a bridge to start addressing the skilled workers gap in our industry.
To learn more about ProjectTalent™ and the other two ASA strategic initiatives D.Next™ and ProjectVitality™ and how you can help to support these initiatives please contact ASA’s CEO, Mike Adelizzi, at email@example.com.
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced a formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump amid a scandal involving a July 25 phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
- House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said his committee reached a deal with the anonymous intelligence community whistleblower to testify about his complaint about President Donald Trump's call with the Ukraine president, in which Trump urged Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden. Lawyers for the whistleblower, who have raised safety concerns for their client amid Trump's attacks, said no date or time has been set for the whistleblower's testimony. (The Washington Post)
- Democratic donors on Wall Street are prepared to either sit out the 2020 presidential campaign fundraising cycle or support President Donald Trump if Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) wins the Democratic primary, several top-line Democratic donors and fundraisers in the business community told a media outlet. Considered a Wall Street hawk, Warren has sworn off big money fundraisers for the primary and has promised not to take donations from special interest groups.
- Advisers to former Vice President Joe Biden are considering a new tax on Wall Street as part of Biden's 2020 presidential pitch, according to three people familiar with the discussions. Biden, whose tax could affect financial transactions such as the sale of stocks and bonds, according to one of the people, is the only Democratic front-runner candidate who has not proposed a multitrillion dollar wealth tax.
- Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) released a plan for an "extreme wealth tax" beginning at 1 percent on net worth more than $32 million, and a maximum of 8 percent on wealth that exceeds $10 billion. The plan would also create a "national wealth registry" that Sanders said would prevent people from avoiding the tax.
- CDC To Conduct Water Quality Studies. The CDC will conduct two health studies focusing on drinking water quality in private wells and on individuals in Florida exposed to airborne toxins produced by cyanobacteria. The CDC is recruiting fishing guides and others who work on Florida’s Lake Okeechobee to participate in a study to measure the health effects of airborne toxins like microcystin that are produced by cyanobacteria. Researchers aim to recruit 50 volunteers for the study. Lake Okeechobee has a history of cyanobacteria outbreaks, also known as harmful algal blooms. The CDC also plans to investigate drinking water quality from private wells. To gauge health risks, researchers will request water samples as well as urine or blood samples from some 200 individuals in roughly 10 locations per year. (IAPMO Washington Update)
- The Trump administration's plan to improve health cost transparency could hit a snag, as hospitals and patient advocates are sparring over a White House proposal to require that hospitals publicly disclose the prices they have negotiated with insurers. The proposed rule garnered more than 750 comments during the public input period that closed on Friday, and the administration is preparing to release a finalized rule in November that would go into effect Jan. 1, 2020. (The Wall Street Journal)
- The average cost of employer-sponsored health insurance for a family in the United States has hit a record high, reaching $20,576 and outpacing wage growth, according to Kaiser Family Foundation's annual survey of employers.
- Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has introduced a plan to eliminate an estimated $81 billion in existing medical debt and alter the current system of debt collection and bankruptcy, in part by overhauling credit reporting agencies and installing one "public credit registry."
- Third Way, a centrist Democratic think tank linked to former Vice President Joe Biden, commissioned a survey to test which anti-"Medicare for All" messages are the most convincing among Democratic primary voters.
- China is sending Vice Premier Liu He, its top trade negotiator, to Washington for the next round of trade talks, Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen said. He said the talks will begin after China's National Day holiday, which ends Oct. 7. (The Associated Press)
- Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in a speech to more than 100 business and political leaders in New York, warned that the United States should "avoid picking a misguided fight with the wrong country" and that the decoupling of the Chinese and American economies "would be to decouple from opportunities, and the future." However, Craig Allen, president of the U.S.-China Business Council, said afterward that Wang didn't express "an enthusiasm" about concluding stalled U.S.-China trade talks.
- The United States and Japan have reached a limited trade deal reducing tariffs on agricultural and industrial products and outlining rules for digital trade, Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. As part of the agreement, Japan will reduce or get rid of tariffs on beef, pork and other commodities similar to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Trump withdrew from early in his presidency.
- US-Mexico-Canada Free Trade Agreement. Ironically, the pressure on Speaker Pelosi to demonstrate to voters that Democrats are not singularly focused on impeachment may persuade her to schedule a vote on the USMCA this year, which she has not done yet. A vote on USMCA, which is currently President Trump’s biggest legislative priority, would allow her to show that the House is capable of addressing other pressing issues. If a vote was to occur, the USMCA would likely pass and be a big accomplishment. (IAPMO Washington Update)
- The Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously voted to send a $35.8 billion fiscal 2020 spending bill to the floor to fund the Environmental Protection Agency, the Interior Department and other agencies. The bill would increase EPA funding by $161 million, or 2 percent more than its current appropriation of $9.01 billion.
- Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) introduced carbon tax legislation similar to a bill he co-sponsored last year with former Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), which would have placed a tax on carbon in return for the repeal of federal taxes on certain fuels, in addition to helping fill the coffers of the Highway Trust Fund. Fitzpatrick's legislation would direct most of the tax revenue to infrastructure, as well as research and development of carbon capture technologies.
- The impeachment investigation launched into President Donald Trump could indefinitely delay an agreement over federal biofuel policy, according to U.S. biofuel industry sources, one of whom said that Trump's "interest has waned" in recent days for such a deal.
- Senate Energy Committee Advances 20 Energy Bills. The Senate Energy committee this week advanced 20 energy and water bills, including the bipartisan energy efficiency bill, S. 2137 (116), that was reintroduced earlier this year by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio). That energy efficiency bill was the only one to get a roll call vote, which was sought by Republicans who objected to provisions that expand the Department of Energy's role in setting building standards. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) tried to amend the bill to remove that provision, arguing that the bill gave the federal government too much influence over building standards at the expense of local governments. Lee's amendment was defeated 12-8, with all Democrats along with Chairman Lisa Murkowski, Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) opposing. That same group was joined by Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) to advance the bill, 14-6. "I am going to oppose the amendment this morning to give everyone time to work this out, I don't want to see this bill fail if the building code provision is stripped out," Murkowski said. The bills approved by voice included Sen. Susan Collins' (R-Maine) energy storage bill, which would increase federal funding for energy storage research and has received broad bipartisan support. Murkowski said she is planning for a markup of another batch of bills focusing on federal lands in November. (IAPMO Washington Update)
- The House and Senate are both on recess until Oct. 15.
| || NEWS FROM STATE AND LOCAL |
Update on State Bills Being Tracked
New State Activity
- New York (A07253) - Requires potable water testing at schools and state and local parks at least once every three years and any finding of lead contamination must be abated within ninety days. New sponsor for the bill - Assemb. Phillip Steck (NY-110) is now a sponsor.
- Wisconsin (AB399) - Bonding for lead service line replacement and granting bonding authority. New Action – fiscal estimate received.
- No new state activity to report.
Republican senators scrambling to protect President Trump from a formal impeachment inquiry are attacking the credibility of the whistleblower who filed a complaint. GOP lawmakers are asserting the whistleblower did not have firsthand knowledge of the actions detailed in the complaint and question whether the person had a political agenda.
China will send its top negotiator to lead the next round of trade talks with the U.S. amid a standoff between the two nations. Vice Premier Liu will travel to Washington, D.C. for the negotiations, China’s vice commerce minister, Wang Shouwen, announced recently, according to The Associated Press. “The two sides should find a solution through equal dialogue in accordance with the principle of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit,” Wang told reporters, according to the AP.
Illinois republican Rep. Rodney Davis said recently that separate legislation addressing infrastructure in the House will likely not be passed in the near future, citing a lack of leadership on the issue. “We’re already past the point of doing a separate infrastructure bill,” Davis, who is the ranking member on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highway and Transit, told The Hill Editor-in-Chief Bob Cusack.
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