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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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This Week in Washington - Week of September 11, 2017

September 13, 2017

Welcome back to This Week in Washington. Steve Gordon is on assignment, and his Heard on the Hill will be back next week. Steve asked four of his colleagues to give an overview on where we are on key agenda items -- and their thoughts on where we’re going. Jim Miller provides the lead story with his analysis on the upcoming tax reform/tax reduction effort. Al Jackson updates on defense appropriation, Larry Smith reports on developments in both NAFTA and trade in general, and Jake Ostenso provides his Agency Watch report. Dana Marston offers a look at a few of the deadlines facing Congress before the end of the year, developing self-driving vehicle regulations, states’ use of highway user revenue, a potential bipartisan fix for healthcare, and lastly, Congressional action avoiding a government shutdown, lifting the debt ceiling, and providing relief to those affected by Hurricane Harvey. We’ll soon be adding several new columns, including one focused on transportation and infrastructure. Thanks as always for your thoughts and suggestions, and for your continued interest in This Week in Washington.

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This Week in Washington - Week of August 7, 2017

August 9, 2017

Congress’s August recess came late this year, but it did come last Thursday night. Steve Gordon summarizes the news and the noise from last week, and adds few of his reflections from the last seven months in Heard on the Hill. Larry Smith summarizes NAFTA and trade, Al Jackson updates on the Defense Authorization Bill, and Jake Ostenso continues looking at the Trump Administration’s efforts to provide regulatory relief in his Agency Update. Dana Marston looks into potential changes in U.S.-China trade policy, latest in unemployment reports, solutions sought by centrist lawmakers in the continuing health care debate, and the economic sanctions process. We’re off for a few weeks, and we’ll return on September 5th.

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This Week in Washington - Week of July 31, 2017

August 2, 2017

July went out like a lion, especially for Republican Senators, health care lobbyists, and anyone who watches congressional activity. Steve Gordon covers the news and the noise last week in Washington – including important information on tax reform – in Heard on the Hill. Larry Smith updates on trade and NAFTA, and Dana Marston takes a look at recent GDP growth, the tax reform baseline, and the commercial space race. Here’s our August schedule. The Senate is planning to adjourn next week, so we’ll report in and button down the first 7½ months of the year in next week’s This Week. Then we’ll rest a little, and start planning for the fall.

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This Week in Washington - Week of July 24, 2017

July 26, 2017

The key story this week of course was unfortunately Senator John McCain’s illness. The announcement impacted everyone in Washington, D.C. – but it hit especially hard his colleagues, current and former staff, and friends from both sides of the aisle. Steve Gordon was a consultant to his campaign committee during the 1990’s, and wrote about his thoughts and reflections in Heard on The Hill. The healthcare agenda was center stage, and will continue to be for the next few weeks. Steve also summarizes where Congress is on repealing Obamacare, tax reform, the debt ceiling, the budget, and infrastructure. Larry Smith brings us up to date on activities in the NAFTA/Trade area. Dana Marston provides this week’s legislative calendar, as well as a look at the multiple GOP health care proposals, the coming debt limit, President Trump’s executive orders to date, and US-owned and operated satellites. The House is expected to recess on or around July 28th. The Senate is still planning to stay in session through the first two weeks of August. We’ll continue reporting this week and every week Congress is in session.

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This Week in Washington - Week of July 17, 2017

July 19, 2017

Our goal is to be both accurate and current – which means that last week’s review can be impacted by this week’s developments. We have come to expect the unexpected, especially on Mondays. There was every reason to believe that health care was hanging by a thread. Health Care Proposals 1.0 and 2.0 were both opposed by two senators, and the Majority Leader needed to get every remaining Republican senator. Monday started with Senator McConnell moving back activity on health care in response to Senator McCain’s surgery, and ended when two Republican senators announced their opposition to 2.0. Steve Gordon responded by updating this week’s edition of Heard on the Hill to include all of the changes that occurred yesterday and today in healthcare, and covers tax reform, the budget, and the debt ceiling. Blake Fulenwider gives us a view of what was in Health Care Proposal 2.0. There was significant activity on NAFTA/trade – including the release of our trade negotiating objectives, and Larry Smith reports on them all in his update. Agency Watch, a new column debuting today, will focus on activity in the Executive Departments and Agencies, and will be written by Jake Ostenso. Dana Marston lends a look ahead at the Hill hearing and meeting schedule, more on health care – details on Health Care 2.0, and how ACA is weighing on voters’ minds as the 2018 midterm election draws closer. She also provides insights into the opioid crisis and potential cuts in mandatory spending.

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This Week in Washington - Week of July 10, 2017

July 11, 2017

Senators, Congressmen, and members of the political and advocacy communities are back in Washington, D.C. after last week’s July 4th holiday recess. Work will continue on a number of items, but the elephant in the room is healthcare reform. That’s our lead topic this week. Steve Gordon summarizes the policy, the politics… the promise and the problems of the first Republican Senate draft proposal and the upcoming 2.0 version in Heard on the Hill. Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) is a major author of the Republican Senate proposal. Included below is an article Senator Toomey wrote Monday with Lawrence Lindsey, who was the Director of National Economic Council for President George W. Bush. The article describes the mathematical need to reduce the growth of Medicaid before the program eats up the entire federal budget and puts huge financial constraints on the states too. Larry Smith updates Trade/NAFTA. The House Committee on Appropriations’ Defense Subcommittee is poised this week to pass its Fiscal Year 2018 defense-spending bill, and Al Jackson provides a summary. Dana Marston provides a look at Majority Leader McConnell’s attempts at compromise on health care, trucking in cargo from Mexico, and June’s unemployment reports. She also provides a calendar of the coming week’s Capitol Hill hearings and meetings. It’s three weeks until the beginning of the annual Congressional August recess. Jim Miller and Steve Gordon are planning a series of articles on the tax reform debate that will begin right after Labor Day. Watch for these articles in early August.

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This Week in Washington - Week of June 26, 2017

June 28, 2017

The theme for today’s edition of This Week is health care. We prepared last week for the release of the draft bill, the report from the Congressional Budget Office, and deliberations building up to a vote in the Senate prior to July 2nd. We visited last week with a number of folks on the Hill, and their view was that passing the bill was going to be hard – the odds were a little less than 50-50 – but that if anyone could get it over the line, Senate Majority Leader McConnell would be the man to get it done. The bill was released late last week and early deliberations quickly exposed concerns from Republican Senators who represent all sides of the health care issue. It was clear by Monday night that Senators McConnell and Cornyn needed more time to work with members of their caucus -- and perhaps just as clear that Republican Senators needed to get the perspective of Republican Governors. Tuesday afternoon Senator McConnell said he would continue working with his caucus, but moved the vote to after the July 4th recess. The theme for this week is still health care. We have elected to stay away from the details of the draft legislation for the time being because they will continue to change as the Majority Leader works to get fifty Senators on board. Steve Gordon in Heard on the Hill gives us his notes from a meeting last week with a member of the Republican Senate leadership on a number of legislative issues. He also shares what he has heard on tax reform, the budget, immigration, and describes how politics impacts policy. Steve also reports on the Arizona Association of Health Care’s meetings last week in Washington, D.C. supporting Arizona’s Medicaid program, and Glenn Hamer’s follow-up letter. Jake Ostenso reports on two congressional hearings held last week on the topic of NAFTA/trade. Dana Marston takes a closer look at the Senate’s health care proposal, at states’ experiments in health care reform, budget shortfalls at the state level, and Republicans’ narrow wins in recent special elections.

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This Week in Washington - Week of June 19, 2017

June 20, 2017

Thanks for your continued interest in Washington, D.C., and for reading This Week in Washington. John McKechnie describes the House bill designed to reform Dodd-Frank. Larry Smith updates us on trade and NAFTA. Steve Gordon describes last week’s bravery at the ballpark as well as what is being said about the legislative agenda in Heard on the Hill. Dana Marston provides insight into Iowa’s attempts to restructure and stabilize its health insurance market, as well as run-down of this week’s legislative markups, meetings, and hearings on Capitol Hill.

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This Week in Washington - Week of June 12, 2017

June 13, 2017

The pace of Washington stalled last week as the legislative agenda was replaced by all things Russia. The Senate is working behind the scenes to make healthcare work because they know what is at stake. Tax reform/reduction is next up. Steve Gordon covers it all in Heard on the Hill. Steve also captures the thoughts of Senator John Thune (R-SD), Chairman of the Senate Republican Caucus and the Senate Commerce Committee. Larry Smith reports on the latest in trade/NAFTA. We profile this week Senator Lamar Alexander and Senator Mike Enzi. Dana Marston provides this week’s calendar of hearings and markups, as well as a look at the rise in household debt. She also digs into the recent U.S.-Mexico sugar accord, which some say sets the stage for NAFTA re-negotiations later this year.

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