August 19, 2019
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Federal Issues

Senate committee approves largest highway bill in history

The wheels are officially in motion on major infrastructure legislation in Congress. On July 30, K&L Gates reports, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee unanimously approved the recently introduced “America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019,” which would authorize $287 billion in surface transportation spending over five years — a 27 percent increase over current funding levels. That would make ATIA the largest highway bill in history. The bill also addresses significant policy issues related to highway safety, accelerating project delivery, and climate change, among others.

With the approval of the bill, the Senate panel has fired the starting gun in the race to reauthorize surface transportation spending programs before current authority expires in September 2020. The process going forward will involve multiple congressional committees on both sides of the Capitol, as well as the Trump administration.

It may also serve as a potential vehicle for broader action on other infrastructure initiatives. Employers with an interest in surface transportation policy should evaluate the impacts of the changes that would be made by ATIA and consider engaging in the debate as the process moves toward the finish line. The K&L Gates infrastructure policy team has an action alert with more information, and can help clients develop effective strategies to advance policy priorities.

Contact Amy Anderson, AWB government affairs director for federal issues, to learn about federal highway and infrastructure bills.

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Choose HealthChoice
America Needs the Ex-Im Bank

Help state's diverse exporters keep making sales

By The (Everett) Herald Editorial Board

As a "good, and easy to win" trade war escalates with China, now would be a dumb time to take a useful tool away from Washington state's exporters of wine, seafood, software and -- oh, yes -- airliners and other advanced manufactured products.

Especially so, since that tool's full utility was restored only earlier this spring after being left hobbled for nearly four years.

That tool is the U.S. Export-Import Bank.

The Export-Import Bank, in operation for 85 years, helps businesses large and small by providing loans, insurance and other assistance that help promote exports by those businesses. That trade assistance helps those businesses secure sales that otherwise might not be facilitated by private-sector banks. While the federal government provides some funding for the bank's administration, its lending makes the bank self-supporting, and it actually is a money-maker for the nation, returning $5.2 billion to the U.S. Treasury during the last 10 years...

Read the full editorial in The Herald
Trade War Casualties

The Tariff Battle With China Threatens Washington's Well-Being

By Spencer Cohen

If left unchecked, the trade war between the U.S. and China has the potential for long-lasting damage to the Washington state economy. U.S. businesses have many legitimate grievances toward China, including intellectual property theft and industrial policies that seemingly disadvantage them in China. But the longer the dispute remains unresolved, the greater the risk to Washington's historically prosperous trade relationship with China. Trade wars, as a general rule, yield no true winners. The collateral damage -- in terms of lost overseas market share, aggravated supply chains, a reduction of cargo handled at our ports, reduced investment, and impacts to households in the form of higher costs -- can be pernicious.

Washington's close linkages with China make this region all the more vulnerable to an extended contraction of trade, impacting local businesses and communities across the state. For years, U.S.-China economic ties have helped mollify impulses for more aggressive agitation and flare-ups. A reduction in economic interdependence means less economic benefits are immediately at stake from a more strained relationship or even confrontation, a dangerous scenario for the world and Washington state's economic well-being.

Read the full editorial in Seattle Business Magazine