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Last Week in Washington

Washington
  • The wife of Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) pleaded guilty to conspiring with her husband to "knowingly and willingly" convert campaign funds for personal use and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. Margaret Hunter's agreement with prosecutors - in which she admits to spending more than $200,000 in campaign funds for personal use - poses a political and legal threat to her husband. (CNN)
  • White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will step down at the end of the month. In a tweet, Trump urged Sanders to run for governor of Arkansas. (The New York Times)
2020
  • Presidential candidate John Hickenlooper (D) released a climate change platform that would secure the United States' position in the Paris climate agreement and introduce a carbon tax whose revenues would be returned to taxpayers. The former Colorado governor would also put $200 billion into domestic transportation and renewables, as well as $150 billion into grid enhancements. (Politico)
Healthcare
  • A new rule from the White House will allow employers to back out of providing health insurance for their workers and instead give them the option to use tax-free health reimbursement arrangements to purchase their own health plans in the individual market. According to the administration, the expansion of these accounts is targeted at small or mid-sized businesses grappling with high costs of premiums, and estimates up to 800,000 employers and more than 11 million workers and family members will benefit from the change. (The Associated Press )
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to mark up legislation to lower the cost of prescription drugs sometime this month, according to Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), including Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Richard Blumenthal's (D-Conn.) bill focusing on pharmaceutical companies abusing the patent system. (The Hill)
Infrastructure
  • Repair Aging Water Infrastructure. Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-NY) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced legislation to help repair the nation’s aging water infrastructure. The Promoting Infrastructure and Protecting the Economy (PIPE) Act would create a new grant program to help communities across the country invest in critical water system upgrades. The bill would authorize $5 billion over 10 years to provide discretionary grants to state and local governments, tribal governments, and public water utilities for projects related to drinking water and waste water infrastructure. The PIPE Act would allow communities to continue to provide clean water for their residents and reliable water systems that help promote economic development. Grants funded through the PIPE Act could be used to construct, replace, or repair public drinking water and waste water treatment facilities. This could include projects to repair or replace water pipes, projects to ensure drinking water sources comply with water quality regulations, and projects that promote water conservation and efficiency. There is a lot of support for this legislation and a group of members of congress are pushing for hearings on this legislation (The IAPMO Washington Update June 14, 2019)
  • EPA Completes Work on New Lead Rules, White House Review more


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