January 2017
DMGS Capitol Commentary- January 2017
115th Congress Legislative Outlook, Administration, and Congressional Preview
President Elect Trump's Proposed Cabinet-level Nominations
Secretary of State-  Rex Tillerson
Secretary of Treasury-  Steve Mnuchin
Secretary of Defense-  James Mattis
Attorney General -  Jeff Sessions
Secretary of the Interior   Ryan Zinke
Secretary of Agriculture-  TBD
Secretary of Commerce - Wilbur Ross
Secretary of Labor-  Andrew Puzder 
Secretary of Health & Human Services- Tom Price
Secretary of Housing & Urban Development
Ben Carson
Secretary of Transportation -  Elaine Chao
Secretary of Energy -  Rick Perry
Secretary of Education-    Betsy DeVos
Secretary of Veterans Affairs -  TBA
Secretary of Homeland Security-  John F. Kelly
Other Key Appointed Offices
White House Chief of Staff-   Reince Priebus
Director of Office of Management and Budget-  Mick Mulvaney
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency -  Mike Pompeo
Ambassador to the United Nations-  Nikki Haley
Administrator of the Small Business Administration - Linda McMahon
Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency - Scott Pruitt
Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services - Seema Verma
Deputy Commerce Secretary -  Todd Ricketts
Secretary of the Army-  Vincent Viola
Trade Representative-  Robert Lighthizer
Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers - TBA

Director of the Office of Science - TBA

National Aeronautics & Space Administrator - TBA
**Nominees pending congressional approval
  Russian Sanctions
On December 29, President Barack Obama announced a sweeping set of sanctions against the Russian government for its role in a cyberattacks against the Democratic National Committee, U.S. citizens, among other U.S. institutions & organizations. The President’s order forced 35 suspected Russian intelligence operatives working in Russia diplomatic posts to leave the United States. His measures also brought sanctions against two Russian intelligence services and companies that provided material support to Russia agents within the United States.

The Treasury Department also announced sanctions against two Russian men on the FBI’s most wanted list. In response, the Russian government closed an Anglo-American school in Moscow where many American, Canadian, and British diplomats send their children. While President-elect Donald Trump has questioned the ability of US intelligence agencies to identify Russia as the source of the cyberattacks, House Speaker Paul Ryan called the President’s actions “overdue,” while Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain called for stronger action.
 
House Ethics Curtail Rebuffed
On January 2, House Republicans were set to significantly limit the power of the Office of Congressional Ethics, before a tweet from the President-elect precipitated the proposal’s withdrawal hours later. Rep. Robert Goodlatte, (R-VA), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, announced an effort to limit the independent congressional watchdog arm after a GOP meeting, in which House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), both voiced opposition. Following a statement from Trump condemning the decision, the committee said it would not pursue the proposal. However, several GOP congressional representatives did express interest in working with Democrats to reform the Office of Congressional Ethics. 
WIIN Act Signed
President Obama signed the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act on December 16. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) sponsored the legislation, which authorizes vital water projects across the country, including waterway improvements for flood control systems and drinking water infrastructure. The law also authorizes $170 million for communities facing drinking water emergencies, including funding for Flint, Michigan, and Native American reservations. The bill also directs the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to expedite the completion of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, as well as several other projects authorized by USACE.
 
Miners Protection Act of 2015
In December, Congress approved a stopgap measure that extended healthcare benefits to 16,300 coal miners and their dependents until April. However, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) along with Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) have urged Congress to pass the Miners Protection Act of 2015 (SB 1714 and HR 2403) . The comprehensive plan would allocate federal funds to help pay for the pension and health care benefits of tens of thousands of coal miners and retirees. In November, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced a similar bill, the Miners Protection Act of 2016, before the Senate Finance Committee favorably reported it.
 
National Defense Authorization Act
President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization act on December 23. The bill authorizes a total of $618.7 billion, $3.2 billion more than the President requested. The extra money will help pay for raises, as well as troop increases in the Army, Air Force and Marines. The bill also highlights cybersecurity needs by creating a separate combatant command structure for cybersecurity. However, Obama critiqued the bill for allocating too much money to non-defense measures.

January Congressional Schedule
Industry Deep Dive: Advanced Manufacturing

High tech machines and specialized workers have become essential for a competitive manufacturing industry. With new advancements in technology, Germany, Japan and China have challenged America’s dominance in manufacturing. In 2010, following the Great Recession, the United States ranked 4th in the Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Rankings (behind Germany, Japan and China). Six years later, the United States moved into the number two spot (behind China) and is expected to rank number one in 2020, according to the GMCR.

While the number of American manufacturing jobs has fallen, the industry remains incredibly vital to our economy, accounting for $6.2 trillion, or 36 percent of the gross domestic product in the United States. Furthermore, the United States has produced twice as much since 1984 with a third fewer workers. (Production peaked in 2007 before the Great Recession, which saw an 18 percent drop in manufacturing output. However, in 2015 manufacturing output was within 3 percent of the 2007 levels, according to the Federal Reserve’s Industrial Output Report). The production of electronics, aerospace, motor vehicles, machinery and energy equipment is at near-record rates.

We’ve highlighted six state successfully appealing to companies and their investments in the Advanced Manufacturing Space.

DMGS State Updates
Pennsylvania

Philadelphia Reacts as the New Soda Tax Goes into Effect

Philadelphians have known a new soda tax was coming since June, when Mayor Kenney signed into law a bill placing a 1.5-cent-per-ounce levy on sugary drinks, including diet beverages. That tax, which is levied at the distributor level but was expected to be passed on to consumers, went into effect Sunday at the start of the new year. As 2016 ended, outreach teams were making stops around the city to alert store owners about the new tax.But despite those efforts and the months of contentious debate that preceded City Council's vote passing the tax, many consumers have still been surprised this week when they were charged higher prices for sweetened beverages. Read More at Philly.com


Pa. driver's license won't be valid identification at some U.S. facilities

Passed in 2005 as a part of a package of security reforms aimed at combating terrorism, the REAL ID Act requires states to standardize security measures for issuing cards and share driver's license information with other states. Pennsylvania and more than a dozen other states resisted the measure;  in 2012, the commonwealth passed a law barring it from complying with the federal mandate. Some states, including New Jersey, have been granted extensions, but Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Washington and Pennsylvania are staring down the January 2017 deadline. Delaware and 24 other states are in compliance.Pennsylvania and the other holdouts cite issues ranging from the heavy lift of funding the changes to what some view as an encroachment on civil liberties. Read more at Newsworks 

Delaware and Ohio
Delaware: Recently Elected Officials Sworn In

January saw the swearing in of several newly and re-elected officials in the First State. Wilmington's new mayor Mike Purzycki was inaugurated in the city’s Grand Opera House. 

During his speech, the democrat and former Riverfront Development Corporation executive focused on the city’s challenges and previous administrations’ failures, and his administration’s commitment to setting high standards and achieving success. “It has been said the greatest danger is not aiming too high and missing the mark, but aiming too low and hitting it,” Purzycki said. “You can be assured we will never in my administration aim too low.”

In addition to Purzycki, newly elected congresswoman Lisa Blunt-Rochester was sworn in at the US Capitol. During her ceremony, Vice President Biden (a Delaware native) stopped by to offer his congratulations.  Read more at Newsworks. 

Ohio: Gov. John Kasich's plans to 'Uber-ize' state government include deep data mining

Gov. John Kasich's move to push state government deep into data mining continues Thursday as administrators begin shopping for specialists. Kasich is scheduled to discuss the plan and announce the launch of a request-for-proposals process during an afternoon event here at the Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute.

The initiative is among the most ambitious goals the term-limited Republican has on tap for his final two years in office. Kasich believes the kind of advanced data analytics that have become common in the private sector can identify public policy problems and solutions.

More than 100 state agencies collect and store information in more than 1,600 separate electronic information systems. The Kasich administration's plan calls for a simpler way to cross-analyze data among departments while also protecting confidentiality. (The Associated Press reported last month that the plan would "strip personal identifying information.") Read more at Cleveland.com

New Jersey
Atlantic City mayor urges Icahn to sell Trump Taj Mahal casino building

Atlantic City's mayor is calling on billionaire investor Carl Icahn to sell the shuttered Trump Taj Mahal casino, saying his struggling city can't afford to let such a big piece of its Boardwalk lie vacant indefinitely. Republican Don Guardian said Wednesday that allowing the casino to stay vacant is "the worst of the worst" in terms of outcomes for the property, which Icahn closed Oct. 10 after a bruising strike by the city's main casino workers' union. Icahn replied he'd be happy to sell the casino to the mayor -- if he ponied up the $300 million Icahn says he has lost on it. Read more at NJ.com

What's driving new wave of patients signing up for medical marijuana in N.J.?

Nearly 500 people with post-traumatic stress disorder have enrolled in the state's medicinal marijuana program in the four months since Gov. Chris Christie agreed to include the debilitating psychiatric condition among the list of qualifying illnesses, a state Health Department spokeswoman said. PTSD qualified 466 people for the program - representing about 4 percent of the 10,800 patients who legally purchase pot from one of the state's five dispensaries, health department spokeswoman Donna Leusner said. But patient advocates said the swift addition of these patients to the program demonstrates the pent-up demand for the anxiety-reducing and pain-relieving effects of the cannabis plant, as well as the need for the Christie administration to further expand the seven-year-old program. Read more at NJ.com 

Updates from the Firm
DMGS Director Ted Christian served as Secretary of the Presidential Electoral College in PA. Here is a candid shot of Ted during the vote in December.
DMGS Manager of Special Projects  Brett Goldman met with US Senator Robert P. Casey during a meeting with leaders in the Philadelphia Jewish Community in mid-December 2016.
Make sure to follow  DMGS on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for real-time updates. Also, check out  www.captiol-commentary.com for further in-depth analysis on PA, NJ, OH, NY, DC, and beyond. If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or suggestions, please contact  Brett Goldman, DMGS Manager of Special Projects.
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