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Catherine Treadwell, J.D., Director of Government Relations
Last week was a BIG day on The Hill for the ASA Advocacy Team! We met with twelve congressional offices. The theme throughout the day was infrastructure. As the 116th Congress takes office, this will be a huge area where there can be a bi-partisan win and a big infrastructure bill passed. The ASA Advocacy wants to ensure that ASA has a seat at the table when congressional members start thinking of the upcoming infrastructure bill.
We met with the offices of Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL), Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA), Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA),
Rep. Diana Degette (D-CO), Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), Rep. Anna Eshoo ( D-CA), Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA), Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA), Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), and Rep.Kurt Schrader (D-OR).
The talking points at the meetings centered on the fact that buildings are a critical part of America’s infrastructure. This includes everything in a building, including plumbing, heating, and cooling. Investing in our nation’s aging building, transportation, energy, and water infrastructure is vital to the economy. It is critical that Congress develops policies that promote high performance buildings as part of its focus on infrastructure.
Building infrastructure needs investment. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave public schools a D in its 2017 infrastructure report card, finding that more than 53 percent of schools would need to make investments toward repairs, renovations. And modernizations to be considered in “good” condition. Schools and other public buildings frequently serve communities as emergency shelter. Which require these facilities be resilient and will maintained. In order to fulfill this, it would require upgrades.
Infrastructure helps the U.S. economy and grows jobs. Recent studies have demonstrated that every $1 billion invested in nonresidential construction would add $3.4 billion to the gross domestic product, add $1.1 billion to personal earnings, and create or sustain tens of thousands of jobs. Energy efficient appliance and buildings sub-sectors directly employ more that 2 million Americans.
Infrastructure takes the load off of our energy and water infrastructure. Federal agencies have made significant progress in upgrading existing facilities towards high-performance standards. Federal agencies reported a 25.1% reduction in energy use intensity since 2003 and a 49% reduction since 1975. Federal facilities also exceeded the 18% potable water intensity goal with a 23.6% reduction from 2007. There is still much that can be done by the Federal Government and the private sector.
Finally, high performance buildings save the Federal Government money. Investments by Federal agencies in increased energy and water efficiency since 2007 provided cumulative utility cost savings of approximately $5 billion in 2016. The Federal government will receive cumulative cost savings of $22.5 billion in 2020, which would pay back the cumulative investment in efficiency from 2007 to 2016.
ASA Advocacy has ensured that we will be at the table for these important discussions on The Hill by taking these meetings early on and discussing the importance of the issues. This ensures that when the new majority takes over in January and they start to lay out their agenda, our priorities will be at the front of their minds.
In other news, President trump has signed the United States Mexico Canada Agreement. This is a tri-lateral trade agreement between the three countries. Please click here to find ASA’s letter of support to the White House in regards to President Trump’s hard work on the issue.
- Trump signed legislation to fund the government through Dec. 21
- A state funeral was held in Washington, D.C., to mark the passing of President George H.W. Bush. President Donald Trump joined all living former presidents in attendance, and unlike at the funeral for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) earlier this year, there was not an overt sense of rebuke of the current commander-in-chief, though there were unspoken contrasts. (The New York Times)
- A Sept. 10 trial has been set for Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), who was re-elected last month, and his wife, Margaret. The two are facing 60 federal charges, including conspiracy wire fraud and making false reports to the Federal Election Commission, in a prosecution Hunter has called a witch hunt. (San Diego Union Tribune)
- China will implement specific items within a 90-day "timetable and road map" in relation to commitments that led to the country's weekend trade truce with the United States, China's Ministry of Commerce said in a statement. Officials have reportedly begun preparations for restarting imports of U.S. soybeans and liquefied natural gas. (Bloomberg)
- Trump named U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to lead trade negotiations with China after the G20 meeting. Chinese officials, who have been working for months with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, were surprised with the selection of Lighthizer, who is thought to be a hard-liner on trade with China.
- Trump said he will withdraw the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement "shortly," in an attempt to force House Democrats to enact the new North American trade deal he signed at the G20 summit. Congress would have six months to pass the new measure, and if no deal can be reached, both versions of the treaty would be void.
- Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a letter to President Donald Trump that any infrastructure bill on the table next year must include clean energy investments and mitigate domestic risks to climate change. Infrastructure legislation could be an area of compromise next year, and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has already talked with Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on the issue. (Bloomberg)
- In a 50-49 vote, the Senate voted to limit debate on Bernard McNamee's nomination to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, clearing his path to confirmation, in an upcoming subsequent vote, for a term through June 30, 2020. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who supported McNamee in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, switched positions and voted against the cloture motion yesterday. (Platts)
- Global carbon dioxide emissions have hit a new record, with emissions expected to rise 2.7 percent in 2018 - an increase from the 1.6 percent increase in 2017 and mostly flat emissions from 2014-16, according to studies published by scientists with the Global Carbon Project. The increase is largely attributable to an almost 5 percent estimated increase in emissions growth in China along with a 6 percent and 2.5 percent increase in emissions growth in India and the United States, respectively. (The Washington Post)
- Top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow expects the Federal Reserve to pause interest rate hikes for "quite some time" after an expected December increase at a mid-month meeting. With a neutral rate on the horizon, Fed officials have suggested that increases in 2019 should be gradual. (Bloomberg)
- The House will vote this week on bipartisan legislation from Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) that would penalize drug companies for misclassifying their products as generics, according to two House aides. Wyden said he hopes the bill, opposed by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, is written into law before the new year. (The Hill)
- About 3.2 million people enrolled in health insurance plans on the ACA exchange in the first five weeks of open enrollment - an 11 percent decline from the same period last year, during which 3.6 million people signed up.
- The House and Senate are in session this week.
- The Fed is entering its quiet period before a Dec. 18-19 meeting of the Federal Reserve Open markets Committee. FOMC is expected to hike interest rates again at the meeting.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) pitched President Trump on reviving a bipartisan fix to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) when the two had lunch on Monday.
“I said he's the one who can make a difference,” Manchin told reporters on Wednesday, describing his message on health care in his meeting with the president. “We already have a bipartisan agreement. If he signs onto it, it would be great.”
A requirement for new homes built in California starting in 2020 to include solar rooftop panels is now formally part of the state's building code. It follows approval Tuesday by the California Building Standards Commission of a plan endorsed in May by a state energy panel.
The action by the state building standards commission came in a unanimous 8-0 vote and makes California the first state in the nation to mandate solar-energy installations on most single-family homes as well as multi-family residential buildings up to three stories, including condos and apartment complexes.
J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said a permanent trade agreement between the U.S. and China will be tough to reach in just 90 days. "There's no way you can see the complexity of these trade negotiations in 90 days," Dimon said at the Goldman Sachs Financial Services conference on Tuesday. "I'm hoping they'll announce that they've made progress enough to continue negotiating."
The Wall Street Journal
Democrats are building a new power base that will play an elevated role in a divided government in Washington: state attorneys general contesting President Trump’s agenda in the courts.
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