Archive for November, 2011
The bipartisan congressional committee tasked with finding at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction announced on Monday it cannot reach agreement by the Wednesday deadline. The declaration came in a written statement from the 12-member of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.
The committee, in the end, could not resolve that Republicans would not go as far as Democrats wanted on allowing more revenue raisers, and Democrats did not want to move on entitlement reforms. Intense messaging by both political parties on which was more to blame is surely to spill out for days, if not months.
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In response to a request by Sen. McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Graham (R-SC), SecDef Panetta sent a letter that provided more specifics on what the DoD would cut if budget levels fell per the levels mandated by full sequestration of the JSCDR or Congress failed to agree on $1.2 billion in deficit reduction per the Budget Control Act of 2011. Both Senators have stated they would introduce legislation in the next session of Congress to overturn sequestration’s impact on the DoD if there is no budget deal.
Turner GPA is a leading D.C.-based national lobbying and government affairs firm dedicated to delivering cutting edge policy advocacy for the manufacturing, defense, aerospace, and energy industries. Members of our professional policy team can be reached at (202) 466-2511. We are also on the Web at www.turnergpa.com.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
By Caren Z. Turner
In this case, it’s an untested, unprecedented recommendation by NJ Democrats to divide the power of the first female Majority Leader in half!
Nowhere in any state legislature nor the Congress has the role of Senate Majority Leader been divided between two people. In fact, the only evidence of a Co- majority Leader is in a California Day School!
Certainly, with only 24 Democratic members in the Senate, the job is not overwhelming. Nationally, the House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor, leads 254 members.
Of 188 nations in the world, the US now ranks 90th worldwide in terms of the number of women in elected office. We are behind Afghanistan!
The subtle and not so subtle subjugation of women has to end.
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By John Hofmeister
It’s unfortunate that the current administration’s fundamental opposition to domestic natural resource development and traditional energy resources persistently omits energy investment and reinvestment from the growth prospects of the national and global economy. In the name of political correctness and in deference to many of its political funders the absence of political leadership on reinvesting in the 98 per cent of the nation’s energy supply that depends on traditional energy resources is neglected, forgotten or dismissed in the President’s energy agenda. It pains me to say this as a registered Democrat who supported his 2008 candidacy, following then-Senator Clinton’s decision to leave the presidential race.
Here is what could be were the President to have serious interest in the nation’s economic well-being and private sector job creation as regards maintaining and building a 21st century energy system in the U.S.:
• My testimony in the U.S. House last February at the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power noted that U.S. oil and gas production peaked at 10 million barrels per day in the 1970’s and ‘80’s not because of shortages of natural resources but due to permitting obstacles that prohibited expansion of exploration and production in 85% of the nation’s continental shelf and on most federal lands. The current 7 million barrels per day production is more than likely to decline further due to the steady regression of deepwater drilling due to the arbitrary political shutdown of the Gulf of Mexico and its glacially slow recovery. A return to 10 million barrels per day, achievable over the coming decade, could result in the creation of up to 3 million new domestic jobs, including the multiplier effect, along the entire supply chain and into the broader economy.
• Looking at oil and gas investments more comprehensively, if access were made available on offshore and federal lands, in addition to private land, the prospect of the oil and gas industry spending up to or more than $1 trillion of private capital in the U.S. over the coming decade is essentially a given. Since the nation consumes 20 million barrels of oil per day now, lifting U.S. production to higher levels reduces imports of oil which we are going to consume anyway, because there is no substitute for such consumption in the foreseeable ten year future.
• The recent announcement by the U.S. Energy Security Council, on which I serve, that legislating an Open Fuel Standard would lead to the further reduction in foreign oil imports by dramatically increasing alternative alcohol fuels in the U.S., including ethanol, methanol, butanol, as well as natural gas and hydrogen for fuel cells, represents the opportunity for additional hundreds of billions of dollars of private investment to create further domestic energy supply increases, leading to additional U.S. job creation.
• Our aging coal and nuclear fleet of power generation facilities is in need of a dramatic replacement program as plants begin to exceed their original design lives. With our 600 plant coal fleet averaging 40 years in service, more than 100 new coal plant replacement projects have been put on the shelf by utilities in just the past six years. Some 60 out of 104 nuclear generation plants will be tasked to run an additional 20 years with permit extensions in lieu of building newer safer facilities. Were we to replace rather than extend old existing plants with technologically improved, clean coal and modern nuclear facilities up to another $1 trillion of private capital could go to work over the next decade, resulting in upwards of another 1 million jobs during the period. For those who believe the coal era is history in the U.S., they really need to dive deeper into the reality versus the rhetoric of future supplies of alternatives. Absent a dramatic expansion of the nuclear fleet, up to an additional 100 new plants, there will be a sustained need for coal, in addition to more natural gas plants, for at least another generation of coal facilities. Why not build them using clean coal technology, including coal gasification and carbon capture and sequestration, to dramatically reduce the environmental impacts of coal?
• Aging energy infrastructure that is in need of replacement, including transmission and pipelines, switchgear, transformers, storage tanks, in addition to smart grid and distributed generation, again privately funded, represent hundreds of billions of additional investment opportunities over the decade were political leaders willing to step up and make it possible.
• We can also double the amount of power generated by wind, solar and biofuels, if we choose, and double it again. But over the next decade it will be a lot of public, not private money, to make it happen given the questionable commercial viability of such alternatives.
• The point of my testimony and these additional comments is simple: lacking political leadership the nation is taking a $3 trillion pass on much needed energy infrastructure private investment over the coming decade. The jobs that won’t be created will never know the prospects of the additional economic multiplier that could result in an addition $3-6 trillion of further economic value creation. So the nation foregoes a $9 trillion uplift, upgrades to our aging 20th century energy system, and the economic impact of investing in a 21st century replacement energy system, so that political funders and traditional energy naysayers can call for more taxpayer funding for the sake of expanding 2 percent of our energy system. We’re upside down as a nation on the future of energy. We’re paying a huge price in sustained unemployment and we’re engaging in brinksmanship with our energy security by staying on our current course.
• $9 trillion private dollars spent on energy and infrastructure, including the multiplier effect, placed on top of a $14 trillion per year status quo economy would represent a roughly 7% GDP growth rate each year over the next decade. How bad a jobs bill would that be?
Founder and CEO, Citizens for Affordable Energy, Inc.
Former President, Shell Oil Company (retired)
Author, Why We Hate the Oil Companies: Straight Talk from an Energy Insider (Palgrave Macmillan 2010)
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Turner GPA is one of the premier, highly respected government and public affairs firms in the nation. Turner’s state-of-the-art advocacy has earned them respect and acclaim from the media, clients, policymakers and even their competitors! Turner advocates on behalf of cutting edge businesses, municipalities, and non-profits that wish to ensure their perspectives and needs are taken into account in Washington, in state capitols and in City Hall, as well as in the media. The firm creates and implements intensely focused and targeted advocacy campaigns designed to meet and exceed its client’s expectations and goals. For more information on Turner GPA, visit http://www.turnergpa.comor call 202-466-2511.
The Way Forward: Moving From The Post-Bubble, Post-Bust Economy To Renewed Growth And Competitiveness
By Daniel Alpert
I am pleased to share with you the news that, together with Robert Hockett of Cornell University Law School, and the inimitable Nouriel Roubini of New York University and Roubini Global Economics, I have authored what I hope will be viewed as a significant new white paper on behalf of the Washington, D.C think-tank, The New America Foundation (www.newamerica.net). The paper is entitled “The Way Forward: Moving from the Post-Bubble, Post-Bust Economy to Renewed Growth and Competitiveness.”
Our paper, and its official release, is the subject of a column by Joe Nocera on the op-ed page of the New York Times, and can be found in it’s entirely on the New America Foundation web site.
“The Way Forward” has been authored for New America’s Economic Growth Program/World Economic Roundtable to provide policy makers, political leaders, members of the media and business sectors, and the general public with:
(i) a thorough overview of the still underappreciated reasons why the great credit bubble of the previous decade has proved so extraordinarily harmful – in particular, by virtue of its occurring against a background of ongoing “supply shock” taking the form of excess global labor, productive capacity, and capital, all stemming from the emergence of post-socialist countries whose populations dwarf those of the developed world with which they now compete;
(ii) a review of why policy responses to date, in ignoring the aforementioned supply shock as they do, have failed to resolve U.S. domestic economic troubles and, moreover, global economic imbalances that act as an obstacle to renewed growth and competiveness in the U.S.;
(iii) a critical appraisal and rejection of the most widely cited policy alternatives that have lately been under consideration in major government circles, which also ignore the supply shock, and the reasons why they would prove ineffective or even damaging;
(iv) a concise but thorough elaboration of the criteria that any successful post-bubble, post-bust recovery program must meet; and
(v) most importantly, a three-pillared recovery plan, informed by the mentioned criteria, designed by the authors to address the major challenges facing the U.S. and the world, including:
a. a major U.S. re-employment program that goes far beyond what is currently being considered in Washington;
b. a plan that aggressively addresses the household debt overhang and ongoing debt-deflationary pressures; and
c. detailed proposals for international action aimed at the successful resolution of chronic global economic imbalances that stand in the way of renewed growth in, and the competitiveness of, the U.S. and other nations in the developed world.
“The Way Forward” has been formally offered at a meeting of New America’s World Economic Roundtable, and a subsequent dinner with the authors, in New York. It will also be presented in Washington, D.C. over the coming weeks.
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The New America Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy institute that invests in new thinkers and new ideas to address the next generation of challenges facing the United States.
New America emphasizes work that is responsive to the changing conditions and problems of our 21st Century information-age economy — an era shaped by transforming innovation and wealth creation, but also by shortened job tenures, longer life spans, mobile capital, financial imbalances and rising inequality.
Launched in 1999, the foundation was guided through a period of rapid growth by founding president Ted Halstead. The institute is now led by President Steve Coll and an outstanding Board of Directors, chaired by Eric Schmidt. New America is headquartered in Washington D.C.
Westwood Capital, LLC and affiliates
Turner GPA is one of the premier, highly respected government and public affairs firms in the nation. Turner’s state-of-the-art advocacy has earned them respect and acclaim from the media, clients, policymakers and even their competitors! Turner advocates on behalf of cutting edge businesses, municipalities, and non-profits that wish to ensure their perspectives and needs are taken into account in Washington, in state capitols and in City Hall, as well as in the media. The firm creates and implements intensely focused and targeted advocacy campaigns designed to meet and exceed its client’s expectations and goals. For more information on Turner GPA, visit http://www.turnergpa.com or call 202-466-2511.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
By Bruce Toll
Co-Founder of Toll Brothers Inc.
Putting Americans back to work is a top priority for the President and members of Congress.
There are certainly some positive aspects to the President’s jobs bill. There are business tax cuts and initiatives aimed at rebuilding the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, deteriorating public schools and neglected homes and commercial buildings in the $447 billion dollar proposal to boost U.S. employment and create as many as 2 million jobs.
While 2 million jobs sounds good, it is not good enough particularly when so many of the men and women once employed in real estate construction are sidelined and when a simple change to President Obama’s jobs package could put as many as another 600,000 back to work. Eliminating Davis-Bacon from the jobs act will make all the difference.
The Davis-Bacon act is a Depression-era law which established the requirement for paying local prevailing wages on all federal government construction projects. Critics of the act note that it greatly increases the cost of federally assisted construction projects when employers are forced to pay union scale wages.
Eliminating the Davis-Bacon requirement from the jobs bill could create 30% more jobs giving hundreds of thousands of additional people jobs who would be left out if the prevailing wage provision is enforced. A recent Washington Examiner article noted that Davis-Bacon wages were on average 25% higher than the real world prevailing wages.
Several times in our country’s history the Davis-Bacon law has been suspended to address an extraordinary national crisis. In 1992 to facilitate recovery from Hurricane Andrew, President George H. Bush suspended the act indefinitely. A year later the law was reinstated by President Bill Clinton. In 2005 President George W. Bush suspended the act in the states hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina citing a national emergency.
Clearly there is a precedent to suspend Davis-Bacon during a national emergency. An unemployment rate above 9% with 14 million workers out of work qualifies as a national emergency. If we are going to spend federal money to repair our bridges, highways and other infrastructure, we will get a lot more bang for our buck without Davis-Bacon.
Turner GPA is one of the premier, highly respected government and public affairs firms in the nation. Turner’s state-of-the-art advocacy has earned them respect and acclaim from the media, clients, policymakers and even their competitors! Turner advocates on behalf of cutting edge businesses, municipalities, and non-profits that wish to ensure their perspectives and needs are taken into account in Washington, in state capitols and in City Hall, as well as in the media. The firm creates and implements intensely focused and targeted advocacy campaigns designed to meet and exceed its client’s expectations and goals. For more information on Turner GPA, visit http://www.turnergpa.comor call 202-466-2511.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )