August 12, 2019
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Two former White House chiefs of staff will give Policy Summit keynote address



Get a look at life inside the White House with two former chiefs of staff for both Republican and Democratic presidents during the 2019 AWB Policy Summit.

The evening keynote address will feature a joint appearance from Denis McDonough, White House chief of staff (2013-17), and Reince Priebus, White House chief of staff (2017) and chairman of the Republican National Committee (2011-17).

About the speakers:

Denis McDonough served as White House chief of staff for nearly every day of President Barack Obama's second term. He managed the 4,000-member White House staff, as well as Cabinet secretaries and agency leaders. He provided strategic advice to the president on the most significant domestic policy, national security, and management issues facing the federal government. He also planned and coordinated efforts to recruit and retain key talent—including an unprecedented expansion of technology experts, engineers, and content generators within the White House and across the federal government.

Prior to his role as chief of staff, from September 2010 until February 2013, McDonough served as assistant to the President and principal deputy national security advisor. He chaired the National Security Council’s Deputies Committee, leading a multiagency team to address complex national security challenges.

Prior to his eight-year tenure in the White House, McDonough served in senior leadership and policymaking positions in the U.S. House of Representatives, as professional staff member on the International Relations Committee, and in the U.S. Senate, for the Senate Majority Leader and for U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo.

McDonough was appointed senior principal at the Markle Foundation in February 2017. In this role, he is working to address the skills gap, particularly in light of the looming artificial intelligence revolution. As part of this work, McDonough will chair the Rework America Task Force, which will consist of a panel of influential Americans who will advance work on enabling all Americans to develop the skills they need to grow their careers and find a new place in the new economy.

He lives in Maryland with his wife and three children.

Reince Priebus was named White House chief of staff shortly after the 2016 campaign. Prior to managing the White House staff, Priebus served as the longest-serving chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC) in modern history.

He oversaw a dramatic turnaround of the RNC, rescuing its finances, repairing its operations, and rebuilding its ground game. By welcoming new voters and harnessing the power of new technologies, Priebus built the infrastructure needed for landslide GOP victories. He left the RNC as one of the winningest chairmen of either political party in American history.

Prior to his time at the RNC, Priebus was chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, where he created the framework for one of the most historic election cycles Wisconsin has ever experienced. During his tenure, the state’s Republicans elected Ron Johnson to the Senate, gained two additional U.S. House seats, won the governor’s office, and took back both the state Assembly and Senate, defeating the leaders of both those chambers.

Priebus has a long history in Republican politics as a grassroots volunteer. He worked his way up through the ranks of the Republican Party of Wisconsin as 1st congressional district chairman, state party treasurer, first vice chair, and eventually state party chairman. In 2009, Priebus served as general counsel to the RNC, volunteering his time to help manage the party’s most difficult challenges.

Priebus will be a visiting Fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School this Spring.

He and his wife, Sally, have two young children, Jack and Grace.

Registration is open for Policy Summit, but reserve your spot quickly, as space is limited.



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Connect With Congress
Solutions Needed


Washington's China trade dilemma

By The Seattle Times Editorial Board

Trade-dependent Washington state is in a tight spot as the U.S.-China trade war escalates.

Voters should start thinking now about what course they'd like to see the White House take if the trade war continues beyond 2020.

While just 37% of Washingtonians voted for President Donald Trump in 2016, the majority are now depending on him to successfully address China's ongoing theft of intellectual-property and unfair trade practices harming the state's economy.

Whether Trump's unpredictability, bombast and use of tariffs as a bludgeon result in a good outcome remains to be seen. Patience with his tactics will wear thinner if there's no progress this year and the U.S. enters a recession. Then the risk is that Trump caves, letting China off the hook and giving Wall Street a bump ahead of the election.

Both parties share some blame. The Democrats' 2016 presidential candidate joined Trump in turning against the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiated by President Obama. That multilateral trade agreement could have prevented this dispute. It would have imposed fair-trade rules around the Pacific Rim. That bloc would pressure China to comply without resorting to blunt and painful tariffs. Still undetermined is whether Trump has the right strategy, tactics and execution...

Republicans must be ready to seek change if Trump fails, and Democrats must be ready with an equal or better strategy to address China's unfair practices and improve trade relations.

Read the full editorial in The Seattle Times
Lawsuits Aren't the Answer on Climate


No Matter Which Way You Turn, Climate Litigation Hits the AEP Precedent Roadblock

By the Manufacturers' Accountability Project

Plaintiffs and supporters of the climate lawsuits filed against energy manufacturers are cheering recent decisions by federal judges to send cases in Rhode Island, Baltimore, and several California jurisdictions to state courts. The proponents of the cases are desperate to escape federal court, which have continually rejected climate liability suits. But, those cheers will be short-lived, as the cases have no more validity in state court. Mitigating the impacts of climate change is not a liability issue for either state or federal court. Selling and using energy is not a violation of tort law; it is necessary to modern life. Figuring out how best to address climate change concerns along with other key aspects of national energy policy, including affordability and energy independence, is the province of Congress and federal agencies.

In American Electric Power (AEP) v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court made these points abundantly clear, stating that the judiciary is not the venue for making climate change public policy judgments:

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who wrote the unanimous majority opinion, stressed that setting national energy policy to account for climate change concerns was "within national legislative power," and that Congress and EPA are "better equipped to do the job than individual district judges issuing ad hoc, case-by-case" decisions...

What has become clear is that climate change is a shared global challenge whose solution won't be found in a courtroom. Rhode Island and the other communities that want to do something about climate change should join with manufacturers on energy innovations, not target them for baseless litigation.

Read the full column from the National Association of Manufacturers