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This Week in Washington - Week of November 13, 2017

November 14, 2017

There are really two major focuses in Washington right now – politics and tax reform. Steve Gordon discusses both in “Heard on the Hill”, and then Steve and Jim Miller update us on the progress of the tax reform legislation. Larry Smith brings us up to date on NAFTA/trade. Dana Marston details federal recommendations offered by a presidential commission on tackling the opioid crisis, and also includes infographics on the tax reform debate, possible repeal of the individual health insurance mandate, and recent state laws in response to the opioid crisis. Congress will be in recess next week for Thanksgiving, so we’ll also take a short break to rest, recover, and count our blessings. We’ll return on November 28th with the next edition of This Week in Washington. We wish each of you and your families a warm holiday.

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This Week in Washington - Week of October 30, 2017

November 3, 2017

We created This Week to report on what’s happening – and what will happen – in Washington. Sometimes what’s happening fits into a calendar schedule, and sometimes we move the schedule to fit into the week’s activities. And so we did for this edition of This Week. We knew that it was going to be an important week because the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee planned to release the first draft of the tax reform legislation. But what we quickly realized that it was going to have that news and a whole lot of suspense and drama. Steve Gordon kept a running log of it all day by day – and it’s all in Heard on the Hill. Steve then interviewed Jim Miller for his first cut of thoughts on the tax bill. Larry Smith brings us up to date on Trade/NAFTA, and Jake Ostenso reports on his Agency Watch. Dana Marston shares some background on Jay Powell, named this week to be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve, passage of the budget resolution to kick off tax reform, and a look at trends in House Member retirements. We’ll continue to follow the unfolding tax reform work. We appreciate your response to our report.

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This Week in Washington - Week of October 23, 2017

October 25, 2017

We had planned to run an extensive article on the process and the thinking around the tax reform – but Senator Flake’s speech on Tuesday hit Washington like an earthquake. We decided to let Steve Gordon tackle the mood in Washington and the future of tax reform in Heard on the Hill. Mike Joyce delves into the importance of trade to trucking and what would happen if NAFTA fell apart. Dana Marston shares an updated list of President Trump’s executive orders and memoranda, some detail on ramifications of a NAFTA exit, the latest bipartisan bill to stabilize Obamacare, and the difference in tax liabilities for mortgage interest handling. We’ll provide a first cut of the proposed tax reform legislative language from as soon as it’s available, and we will analyze the process and the problems next week.

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This Week in Washington - Week of October 16, 2017

October 18, 2017

The House of Representatives was in session last week. This coming week the Senate is in session. It’s been calmer than usual – and that means that there is a storm on the horizon. Steve Gordon gets the cover slot this week. He participated in last weekend’s National Republican Senatorial Committee retreat held in Sea Island, Georgia, so his Heard on the Hill column has been renamed - for this week only - to Heard in Sea Island. Larry Smith provides an alarming but factual update on the lack of progress in NAFTA discussions, and Jake Ostenso’s Agency Watch provides the latest in the Trump Administration’s efforts to affect regulation. Dana Marston shares this week’s calendar of hearings and markups, as well as a look at fuel taxes, drunk driving and other traffic fatalities, heroin’s role in opioid epidemic, and of course, recent executive actions impacting Obamacare. We’ll provide a very early copy of the House Ways and Means Committee’s draft tax legislation as soon as we get it. Thanks again for your notes and suggestions, and your continued interest in Washington, D.C.

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This Week in Washington - Week of October 9, 2017

October 11, 2017

John McKechnie takes the lead this week with two articles. His first article is on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and its new rule concerning payday loans and the additional rules that are expected. John’s second article is about Randal Quarles, who was confirmed to the Federal Reserve Board by the U.S. Senate on October 5th. Mr. Quarles is the first Trump appointment to the Federal Reserve. Larry Smith brings us up to date on NAFTA/trade, Al Jackson writes about the slow progress on defense appropriations. Steve Gordon highlights the news and the thoughts behind the news in “Heard on the Hill.” Dana Marston shares more about two significant tax deductions that may change with proposed reforms, a look into the Jones Act and how it impacts disaster relief in Puerto Rico, and a calendar of Capitol Hill hearings and markups for this week.

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This Week in Washington - Week of October 2, 2017

October 4, 2017

Our lead article is from Jim Miller, who highlights the principles, the knowns and the unknowns of the upcoming work on tax reform. Mike Joyce brings us up to date on autonomous vehicles. Larry Smith updates on NAFTA/trade. Jake Ostenso reviews some of the recent regulatory changes in Agency Watch. Steve Gordon talks about the most promising, the most perplexing, the most underrated, and the best feel good stories of last week in Heard on the Hill. Dana Marston brings this week’s busy Hill calendar, as well as a few different ways to look at tax reform – in all its complexities.

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Credit Unions Should Remain Engaged on Republican Tax Plan

September 28, 2017

The much-anticipated GOP tax reform framework released yesterday does not offer much detail on how the cuts will be funded, leaving credit unions a bit concerned. "The section that deals with 'rules affecting specific industries' tells me we need to remain on our toes a little longer,” said John McKechnie, senior partner at Total Spectrum and long-time advocate for credit unions. “This is a process that is ongoing, and even though I'm optimistic and confident that credit unions will be unscathed, this is too important of an issue to sleep on."

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This Week in Washington - Special Edition

September 27, 2017

As a follow up to our This Week in Washington coverage of earlier today, the much-anticipated Republican tax reform proposal has been released. Download it by clicking the link below.

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This Week in Washington - Week of 9/25/2017

September 27, 2017

Washington, D.C. during the last week of the quarter is similar to pushing an elephant through a straw – it all goes through and gets done but how is another question. It reminds some of us of final exam week in college… others of us have put those years out of our mind. Publishing on a set date provides predictability, but forces our work to fit a set schedule rather than responding to developments. We want to do both. We gave our experts a bye this week but that allows us to initiate more creative reporting. Here’s an example. Steve Gordon in today’s Heard on the Hill gives us a glimpse into the tax principles that are coming out this week. Steve interviewed Jim Miller for his predictive thoughts… and once the framework is released, we’ll publish Jim’s analysis of the announced principles as soon as possible. We’ll be back next week with articles on other subjects important to Arizona. Thanks for your interest and thanks for reading This Week in Washington.

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This Week in Washington - Week of September 18, 2017

September 20, 2017

The cover story this week is an article on the outlook for an infrastructure bill. It’s written by Mike Joyce, a new partner at Total Spectrum. Mike was most recently the Senior Vice President and Chief of Government Affairs for the American Trucking Association, and worked previously as a chief of staff or legislative director for three congressmen who served either on the Transportation and Infrastructure or the Ways and Means Committees. Larry Smith provides an update on trade and NAFTA renegotiation. Jake Ostenso reports on regulatory changes in Agency Watch. Steve Gordon returns with a very timely update on healthcare reform and the pending tax reform work in Heard on the Hill, and Dana Marston takes a look at global corporate tax rates and this week’s schedule on Capitol Hill. We always welcome your comments and suggestions. Please stay in touch and thanks again for reading This Week.

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