President Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to make large investments in infrastructure and continues to prioritize the issue at the top of his governing agenda. In his first address to Congress, he called on lawmakers to pass legislation that produces $1 trillion in infrastructure investments, financed through both public and private capital.

Recently, the president suggested to the New York Times that he was considering “accelerating” a package that could be attached to tax reform or even health care, using the popular policy as a sweetener as he looks for a legislative victory.

But while Democratic support for such a move remains unclear, the president has also not yet addressed the financing question, and his call for the largest expansion of federal infrastructure spending in recent years provides an opening for innovative funding solutions.

To get you up to speed on the current state of play for infrastructure, we have preapared a breakdown below of all of the action in the administration, on Capitol Hill and some of the possible vehicles for getting a package over the finish line.

The Trump Administration

On the heels of a campaign agenda where cracking down on trade was key, President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office have yielded significant developments in the international trade arena.

The president has signed Executive Orders requiring review of all existing US trade deals as well as an aggressive collection of import duties, announced the imminent renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and held official meetings with the United Kingdom’s (UK) Prime Minister Theresa May, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, all of which produced trade-related outcomes for the United States. This week, the President will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, a visit widely thought to include talks about trade cooperation.

Below is a roundup of the latest activity on trade. The key takeaways are:

The Podesta Group was thrilled to announce Monday that Kevin McLaughlin, former Deputy Executive Director of the NRSC and top aide to Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), has joined the firm as a principal.

Here's what Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) had to say about our latest catch:

"Kevin was an invaluable part of my NRSC team that defied the odds and held the GOP Senate majority when virtually everyone said it could not be done. His temperament, vision, and work ethic were critical to our efforts and success in 2016. Those traits will no doubt serve him well in his new endeavor.”

As a chief strategist at the NRSC, McLaughlin defied the pundits, crafting and implementing messaging and strategy for Republican Senatorial candidates for the past two election cycles. He powered the historic Republican takeover of the Senate in 2014, and most recently shepherded in the sweeping victories that retained the Republican Senate majority. 

Podesta Group CEO Kimberley Fritts added:

 

In the wake of Donald Trump’s victory last Tuesday, there has been a lot of discussion about the president-elect’s repeated pledges to roll back hundreds or even thousands of Obama-era regulations. On the campaign trail, he called out dozens of specific rules that he would overturn, from EPA’s Clean Power Plan to the Department of Labor’s rule on overtime pay. In a larger context, Republicans see an opportunity for making changes to the administrative framework of both the Affordable Care Act and the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

In the wake of last night’s historic and for most, surprising, election, we know that now, more than ever, in this fluid, uncharted political landscape, getting precise, data-based information and insights in real time will be incredibly important.

Fortunately, for our clients, we have the tools and the smarts to provide just that.

In the coming days/months, we will be watching and anticipating committee assignments, chamber make-up, Trump’s still forming agenda and focusing on the best ways to navigate what may be some choppy waters.

Here is our comprehensive election recap, including a breakdown of all of the results, committee leadership charts, and new members you should know.

 

 

In Washington, DC, the one constant is change. And change we have just seen. 

While much remains unknown, our Podesta Group team has been in direct touch with House and Senate GOP leadership overnight and throughout the day about the impact of last night’s results on the lame duck and the agenda for the 115th Congress.

There is palpable excitement regarding the legislative possibilities that are now within reach over the next two to four years with a new Congress and administration positioned to get things done  - and we are excited about the opportunities that climate will present.

As the political deck chairs begin to find their new places, we will be gathering intelligence and providing analysis to clients on developments that will shape everyone's public affairs strategy. Below is the first batch of intelligence we have gathered to that end.

While all eyes seem focused on next week's presidential election and the prospect of the country's first female president, there are a host of congressional races that could make the 115th congress one of the most diverse yet.
The Census Bureau projected earlier this year that groups now known as racial and ethnic “minorities” will make up the majority of Americans within 30 years.

Accordingly, the 114th Congress (2015-2016) was the most diverse ever, bringing 46 African American, 32 Latino, 11 Asian American, and 2 Native American members to the House and Senate. 

Congress has slowly but surely become more diverse, matching the changing face of America itself. As an increasingly multiracial voter base demands federal representatives who look like them and understand their experiences, we took a look at the diversification that is expected to continue for some time. In this post, we examine how the coming election could further grow the racial and ethnic diversity of the voting members of 115th Congress.

Likely new members in 2017

The Podesta Group is monitoring the ups and downs of this election season closely and wants to keep you in the political loop. Here is our detailed look at all of the latest polling numbers and state of play in the presidential race, as well as an update on the House, Senate and gubernatorial races you should be following.

But we know the action doesn't end on Election Day. The upcoming changes in the House and Senate - and subsequent rearranging of committee deck chairs - will have a profound impact on everyone's legislative goals. Here are our latest leadership and committee projections charts for the next congress.

As TV viewers everywhere get their popcorn ready for tonight's third episode of the fall season's biggest hit, the presidential debates, we thought we'd give our take on what to expect in the way of rhetorical fireworks.

When it comes to presidential candidates’ debates, the third rounds usually result in snooze, not news.

From a tanned and confident John F. Kennedy striding alongside a sallow and subdued Richard Nixon in 1960, the moments that mattered most were nominees making favorable first impressions in their first debates, such as Ronald Reagan’s dismissal of President Jimmy Carter: “There you go again.” Or else we remember candidates committing gaffes in their second debates, such as Mitt Romney in saying he considered “binders full of women” for jobs when he served as Governor of Massachusetts.    

By the third debates, candidates have drawn down their supply of sound bites and are practiced enough to avoid gaffes. But, for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, their third-debate, Wednesday night in Las Vegas, promises to be a slugfest, not a snore-fest.

While the action on the campaign trail continues to dominate the headlines, Washington is bracing for what is sure to be another eventful fight well past the election.

Congress has enacted a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to keep the federal government funded until midnight on December 9. The CR included in the popular annual Military Construction and Veterans Affairs funding bill, a $1.1 billion package to combat the Zika virus, and $500 million in aid for flood-affected states. However, the CR was just a temporary solution, and another funding fight is in store to keep the government running for the rest of fiscal year (FY) 2017, when Congress returns.

With a president facing one last chance to secure his legacy, organizations with an interest in appropriations outcomes can be sure a budget scuffle will be on the menu this holiday season. The Podesta Group is monitoring the various appropriations streams closely, and here is a preview of all of the dynamics you should be watching. 

Year-end funding fight preview: Dynamics to watch

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