By Andy Blom, TES Contributor
A combination of oppressive heat and Presidential tweets paralyzed Congress, so we still do not have a budget or spending bill. However, free market conservatives continue advancing ideas and legislation that cover a startling diversity of topics. Here’s a roundup of last week’s activity in Washington…
Starting with Some Good News – Bi-Partisan Legislation! Senators Coon (D-DE) and Cotton (R-AR) and Reps Stivers (R-OH) and Foster (D-IL) have introduced The STRONGER Patent Act of 2019. Concerned that patent protection has weakened over time, and that patent infringement threatens inventors and investors, the legislators have introduced reforms to restore the U.S. patent system “to the world’s gold standard”. Learn more about S.2082/H.R.3666 at Conservatives for Property Rights (@4PropertyRights).
Understanding Tariffs? Consider the Impact of Regulations. Veronique de Rugy, a Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center has published a thoughtful look at the impact of different countries’ regulations on tariffs and the balance of trade. As reporting rates have improved globally, interesting findings evolve. High-income nations average lower effective tariff rates. Effective tariff rates between the U.S. and China have fallen by more than two-thirds over 25 years. U.S. goods going to Mexico no longer face tariffs…and more. Look at the report in The Bridge: https://www.mercatus.org/publications/trade/six-tariff-trade-facts.
How Will AI Actually Impact Job Loss? One of the top concerns over the increasing use of Artificial Intelligence is how it will affect jobs. Will automation/technology destabilize labor markets, depress wage growth and lead to long term decline in the labor market and the economy as a whole? Studies vary on their conclusions and are often flawed in some assumptions and baselines. The American Action Forum looks at the conflict over competing methodologies , seeking a consensus for the best policy path going forward. See their thinking at www.AmericanActionForum.org, or at https://bit.ly/2YZROyc.
Will the Senate Stop #MeToo from Weaponizing VAWA? In April the House reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act by an essentially party line vote. Now, as the Senate moves to consider it, consider this: the reauthorization (H.R. 1585) dramatically increased the definition of “violence” to include emotional abuse, verbal abuse, technological abuse and financial abuse. Emotional and verbal abuse aren’t actually defined in the law but calling your partner a nasty name or giving your spouse the silent treatment could certainly apply. The Conservative Action Project called it an “act of immense political overreach”. These changes could impact nearly every couple and every relationship. Learn about it at the Coalition to End Domestic Violence, www.tiny.cc/efkt9y.
No Citizenship Question on the Census – the Technicalities Explained. After much legal wrangling, the Trump Administration has decided not to pursue putting a citizenship question on the census report. While this may seem a simple and obvious request by many Americans, it was definitely not viewed that way by the courts. GianCarlo Canaparo explains why things happened the way they did in The Daily Signal, https://www.dailysignal.com/print?post_id=541167.
Calling for HealthCare Reform. The American Council for Health Care Reform has published a large ad calling on President Trump to repeal Obamacare and introduce his own GREAT HEALTHCARE PLAN. They offer over a dozen key suggestions. See the plan at www.AmericanCouncil.com.
Reminder: Learn About It or Regret It: Podcasting. On Thursday, July 25 from 10 – 1 PM New Media Exchange Focus: Podcasting will cover what you need to know about Podcasting for center-right organizations. An optional hands-on workshop on production will follow in the afternoon. The event takes place at Americans for Tax Reform or on interactive online livestream. Lunch will be provided (not for livestreamers). Registration is free. RSVP: Adam Radman firstname.lastname@example.org.
More Upcoming events:
- ASSESSING ASIA’S DIGITAL FUTURE. Panel discussion Wednesday, July 24, 11 AM – 12:30 PM. Heritage Foundation’s Lehrman Auditorium. Info and RSVP: heritage.org/events.
- AMIA 25th ANNIVERSARY Improving Regional Counterterrorism Cooperation in the Wake of a Tragedy. Policy Discussion. Keynote: Sen. Ted Cruz. Thursday, July 25, 9 AM – 12 PM. Russell Senate Office Bldg., Room 485. RSVP: email@example.com.
- HAPPY HOUR RECEPTION. The Northwest Center Pregnancy Center and Maternity Home. Thursday, July 25, 6:30 – 9 PM. Info and tickets at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 10th ANNUAL SUMMER SOIREE, Mary’s Shelter, Fredericksburg, VA. August 3. No cost to attend. Info at marysshelterva.org.
House Passes $15 Minimum Wage. Senate to Consider? The Competitive Enterprise Institute issued a coalition letter signed by over 30 groups opposing the $15 minimum wage. As the Senate takes up the issue, learn about the problems at www.cei.org.
Chamber Warns of Dangers of PRO Act. The Chamber of Commerce is preparing information about the dangers of The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, an attempt to force unionization on a very broad scale. More information next week.
RSC Official Position on BCA Caps. The Republican Study Committee has released its official position on any agreement to raise spending limits imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011. The call for more fiscal responsibility can be found at www.rsc-johnson.house.gov.
Bipartisan Group of Senators Push White House Budget Office for Comprehensive List of Federal Programs. Led by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Senator James Lankford (R-OK), a bipartisan group of senators is calling on the White House Office of Management and Budget to publish a comprehensive list of all Federal programs. The list “is critical to helping Congress make informed budgetary decisions and ensuring that we are able to identify – and take appropriate steps to eliminate – duplication, fragmentation and overlap in Federal programs”, according to the Senators. A good idea long overdue.
Don’t Forget: NATIONAL FEDERATION OF REPUBLICAN WOMEN is holding their 40th Biennial Convention, September 26 – 29 in Indianapolis. The NFRW Convention will bring together nearly 1,300 women who are political and business leaders in their communities and states. For Exhibitor Opportunities and/or Program Advertising, contact Lucy Powers at email@example.com.
Plan Ahead: Austrian Economics Center, Hayek Institut, and Fundacion Internacional Bases, are organizing a conference with top tier intellectual contributors on the subject, Austrian School of Economics in the 21st Century, November 13-14, Vienna, Austria. Web site.
Andy Blom is a senior policy and political writer, strategist, analyst and activist.