Latest news from Washington, D.C. produced by Total Spectrum/SGA exclusively for members of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry
More Info: Michael DiMaria | Partner and Vice President of Business Development | 602-717-3891 | [email protected]
Thanks for your interest in Washington, D.C., and thanks for reading This Week in Washington.
We try very hard to bring you news that’s both timely and accurate information, even if we need to adjust late into the night because of a changing story.
Patrick Robertson is an outstanding lawyer, advocate, and political strategist. He sent us on Tuesday night his Washington Whispers column, where he reported on what was going to happen in the Senate and the House before their August recess and previewed some Congressional activity during the balance of the calendar year. But on Wednesday, Majority Leader Schumer and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) surprised almost everyone and announced an agreement on a reconciliation package. Patrick worked on Thursday to update his column with both timely and accurate information. Tip of the hat to you Patrick, and many thanks.
Al Jackson updates us on defense and defense appropriations issues. Ramona Lessen monitored the July 26th hearing of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Criminal Justice and Counterterrorism on decriminalizing cannabis at the federal level, and we’ve included her report in this edition.
Help wanted signs are really a sign of the times. Unemployment rates are remarkably low, there are as many as 11 million open jobs, and there are only about six million unemployed people. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce published a report last week entitled Understanding America’s Labor Shortage which will lend insights to the length and breadth of the problem.
We are busy planning our schedule for the balance of the summer and the fall. We’ll share with you an interesting Spotlight interview with Kyle Zebley of the American Telemedicine Association on August 3, and then we will let our staff spend a little time with their families for a few weeks.
Congressman Erik Paulsen is planning a number of very important interviews in the fall for Total Spectrum Spotlight, and we’ll start sending out special announcements on these interviews after Labor Day.Stay well. Stay cool, and we’ll be back after Labor Day with the next issue of This Week.
Steve Gordon
Total Spectrum Managing Partner
By Patrick Robertson, Total Spectrum Strategic Consultant
Congress is racing toward its annual August recess – a break that allows members to campaign in an election year, be home with their constituents, take a little family vacation, and spend time out of Washington, D.C.’s oppressive August heat and humidity. D.C. meteorologists remind us that the last two weeks of July are almost always the city’s hottest, and the action in Congress always reaches the same fever pitch just before the August break.
This year is no exception. Both the Senate and House passed a compromise bill to encourage the domestic manufacturing of computer processing chips. This bill started as a much larger package, including some anti-China measures, a tax title, and some other pro-American manufacturing pieces. The bill has very few tax provisions and limits the incentives to semiconductor makers, but the incentives will total about $52 billion.
This bill came together because the United States lags other countries in chip making and everything in our modern society uses chips – from cars to refrigerators and laptops to doorbells. The bill does not solve critical mineral shortages or other issues, but it will significantly increase the number of semiconductors made on U.S. soil and increase the component parts made here as well.
The House is scheduled to begin its August break at the end of this week while the Senate remains in session next week to wrap up its pre-Labor Day work. One item on Senate Democrat’s to-do list is to pass a reconciliation bill. 
Many words have been written in this column and elsewhere on reconciliation, and this week, Senators Joe Manchin and Chuck Schumer agreed on a reconciliation bill that includes deficit reduction, a corporate minimum tax, an increased tax rate on carried interest, the ability for the federal government to negotiate drug pricing, and a suite of energy and climate provisions. You can find a summary of the bill here as well as the full text. If the Senate passes this bill via reconciliation next week, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer has indicated that the House will return to Washington the week of August 8 to pass the bill and send it to the President’s desk in time to avoid increases in health care premiums.
This deal seemed impossible just a week ago, but it seems Senators Schumer and Manchin talked down the possibility of a deal after Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell suggested he would scuttle the semiconductor bill if Democrats moved forward with reconciliation. Once the chips bill passed, the Democrats announced their deal.
It is still not certain the bill will pass as all 50 Democrats in the Senate must be on board. The liberal wing of the party has wanted significantly more in climate change resources and less in subsidies to fossil fuels than are currently in the bill. In addition, Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) has not said whether she will support the package. 
At this point, most experts see Republicans winning the five seats needed to gain control of the House. Even with dismal polling for President Biden, the Senate is closer to a toss-up than it has been in recent months due to the primary results and the localization of some of the Senate races. But an adage says that no one pays attention to midterm elections until after Labor Day at the earliest. That may be less true now with the barrage of television ads, but there are still 10 weeks or so until Election Day.
There will almost certainly be a lame duck session, where the members of this 117th Congress return to Washington to finish their work before their successors in the 118th Congress take the oath in January. During the lame duck session, Congress will pass a Fiscal Year 2023 spending package to fund the government, which will be extended by a continuing resolution at the end of September. There will also be a push for a package of tax bills that propose to change the rules around interest deductibility and the research and development credit – the leading priorities for businesses – while child tax credit will be important to others. There will also be other Members who will push their priorities during the lame duck.
One Democratic Congressman told me he thought as much as half of the legislating in this Congress could happen in the two months after the election. I think that is an overestimation, especially if this new reconciliation bill passes next week, but it does show how much action is possible. It is not yet clear beyond funding the government what proposed legislation will make the cut, but what legislators hear from their constituents in August and then in November will go a long way toward shaping the lame duck agenda.
By Al Jackson, Total Spectrum Strategic Consultant
The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) released its annual defense policy bill, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), for Fiscal Year 2023 earlier this month. It would authorize a $45 billion increase in defense spending over the budget request, to a total of $847 billion to counter the increase in inflation and the ever-increasing threat of both Russia and China. Additionally, the United States is shipping weapons to Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion of the country. The House version of NDAA, highlighted below, provided $839 billion in FY2023 authorized funding.
The legislation also provides $800 million in funding for the Ukraine Security Assistance Fund. The U.S. recently sent another $400 million of weapons, bringing total U.S. security aid for the Ukrainians to $8 billion since the start of the Russian invasion. In the Pacific region, due to the influence of both Russia and China, the Senate version of NDAA increased authorized funding for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative by $1.1 billion “for unfunded requirements identified by the Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.”
By Ramona Lessen, Executive Director, Total Spectrum
Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Criminal Justice and Counterterrorism hearing on Decriminalizing Cannabis at the Federal Level: Necessary Steps to Address Past Harms
Tuesday, July 26, 2022; 02:30 PM
To view a livestream of the hearing please click here.
Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Subcommittee Chairman
Majority Statement
Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR)
Subcommittee Ranking Member
Minority Statement
Dr. Malik Burnett
Medical Director
Maryland Department of Health’s Center for Harm Reduction Services
Baltimore, MD
Edward Jackson
Annapolis Police Department
Annapolis, MD
Weldon Angelos
President And Co-Founder
The Weldon Project
Salt Lake City, UT
Steven H. Cook
Former Associate Deputy Attorney General
Knoxville, TN
Alex Berenson
Former New York Times Reporter
Hudson Valley, NY
All times ET
Monday, July 25
Tuesday, July 26
Wednesday, July 27
Thursday, July 28

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