This Week In Washington…

Posted on May 15, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized |

The Arsenal for Democracy Flyover filled the skies over Washington with WWII military aircraft this week.

The Arsenal for Democracy Flyover filled the skies over Washington with WWII military aircraft this week.


  • The Federal Transportation Safety Board is in the early stages of investigating this week’s Amtrak derailment outside Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the crash occurred in an area of track that is not protected by Positive Train Control, a technology that would have automatically slowed the train. Under a 2008 rail safety law, railroads have until the end of 2015 to implement this technology across heavily travelled lines but federal funding remains an issue and the deadline is likely to be missed. Ironically less than 48 hours after the deadly crash, a House subcommittee began marking up a GOP spending bill that would cut Amtrak funding by $1.1 billion. Looking Ahead: While both parties and most Americans agree infrastructure is a top priority, funding shortfalls are a perpetual problem.
  • A day after rebuking President Obama on a key Pacific trade deal, Senate Democrats fell in line, reaching an agreement with Republicans that is expected to lead to passage of fast track authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the broad trade and tariff deal the president is seeking with 11 Pacific rim nations.  Looking Ahead: The deal clears the way for passage in the Senate, but the House still poses a challenge.
  • With Jeb Bush, the undeclared heavyweight GOP presidential candidate still on the sidelines, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker leads the field of Republican presidential hopefuls, but the pack is gaining on him. Looking Ahead: Bush is expected by everyone to announce shortly.
  • The Washington Post cited an internal memo that claims the Veterans Administration did not follow federal procurement guidelines, resulting in a risk to veterans and $6 billion in wasted expense. The scathing report, written by Jan R. Frye, deputy assistant secretary for acquisitions and logistics, says the VA failed to engage in mandated competitive bidding. Looking Ahead: Frye will testify about waste and fraud before the House Veteran Affairs Committee on Thursday, May 14th.
  • Senator Chris Coons (D-Del) who leads the Manufacturing Jobs for America campaign, is earning a reputation for his bipartisan approach in gathering support for this legislation that aligns university programs with advanced manufacturing requirements. This week Roll Call described the senator as a matchmaker, meeting with majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and searching for common ground to win critical GOP support. Looking Ahead: A bipartisan bill that President Obama would back would be a win for members of both parties.

The Law: Proposed Rule makings

  • The Federal Communications Commission announced the procedures, upfront payment amounts, and minimum opening bids for the auction of certain FM broadcast permits, July 23.
  • The President’s Export Council  announced that it will meet on North American supply chain competitiveness; innovation; Open Skies agreements; regulatory cooperation; infrastructure; and promoting sustainable building practices and products in developing countries.
  • The Department of Energy is extending to June 3 the deadline for submitting comments on the request for information on the Methodology for Assessing the Cost-effectiveness of Building Energy Codes, which was originally published in the Federal Register on Thursday (80 FR 19974).


Resources: A quick and easy way to get info fast:

  1. For more on federal government rulemaking, visit the Federal Register
  2. Want to follow the 2016 presidential sweepstakes? All the polling data you’ll need is a click away.
  3. Get the latest from the declared presidential candidates: Democrat Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and Republicans Ted CruzRand PaulMarco Rubio, Mike HuckabeeCarly Fiorina, and Ben Carson

Follow Caren Z. Turner @


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