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JT TAYLOR: CAPITAL BRIEF - JT   Potomac banner 2

TAXING TIMELINE: Pressure from the Trump Administration aside, the Big Six keep reiterating that tax reform will get done this year, planning for markups in September, the House passing a bill in October, and the Senate in November. But given the stockpile of legislation needed to be addressed before the end of September (debt ceiling, budget, health reform), that seems rather ambitious. Despite mentions of bipartisan interest, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell insists they would need reconciliation language to pass a bill. Meaning, unless Congressional Republicans can find a way to refashion the ACHA provision into tax reform, they will need to pass a FY18 budget with new reconciliation instructions in it before passing a tax bill.

MODERNIZING NAFTA: We are two weeks away from the official start to NAFTA modernization on August 16th and while the U.S. has mostly outlined their goals, the other countries have some items they want to change too. Mexico just named a new trade negotiator, Kenneth Ramos, and has released a document from their Ministry of Economy detailing their desire for free access for goods and services, increased labor market integration, and North American energy security. Meanwhile, Canada has been ramping up their ties with individual states (especially along the border) in order to protect their position going into NAFTA renegotiations.

WHERE’S INFRASTRUCTURE?: President Trump’s campaign promise of a $1 trillion infrastructure plan has dissolved into the bureaucratic abyss, but hope springs eternal when earlier this week the White House press office emphasized that infrastructure is still a top priority of the president’s. Congressional leaders don’t believe it will happen anytime soon though - they want to address taxes, need to address the debt ceiling, and may revisit health care first. In the meantime, the president has gathered input from every state on top infrastructure projects and signed an executive order creating a commission to expedite permitting and examine the most needed projects around the country. Infrastructure is still a major issue in the U.S. as just last year one in ten bridges was found unsafe.

American Society of Civil Engineers: 2017 Infrastructure Report Card

JT TAYLOR: CAPITAL BRIEF - infrastructure

CHANNELING CHINA: In an editorial in China’s official state news agency, the author calls on President Trump to stop tweeting and to stop pushing the crisis in North Korea on China. But going even further, the author said the crisis has nothing to do with the trade deficit. U.S. officials disagree. Earlier this year, the Administration signaled they would use economic sanctions to curb North Korea’s actions when they sanctioned Chinese individuals and banks who fund the terrorist country and, based off the president's tweets, he seems to view trade tariffs or quotas on steel as a form of punishment to China. Finally catching up across the aisle, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is calling on the president to stop all Chinese investments under national security review until China takes action against North Korea.

MADURO SANCTIONS ARE THE START, NOT THE END: Our senior Energy Analyst Joseph McMonigle wrote about the new catalyst for Venezuelan energy sanctions being the Convening of “Illegitimate” Constituent Assembly, read the full piece here.

CALL INVITE | VITAL SIGNS OF JULY 2017 | THEMES UPDATE: Our Senior Health Policy Analyst Emily Evans is hosting  a video conference call and live Q&A on Monday, August 7th at 11am ET. Get the event details here.

IT IS IRF (AND SNF) DAY! CMS FINALIZES ANNUAL PAYMENT UPDATE AS EXPECTED: Our Senior Health Policy Analyst Emily Evans wrote that the Congressional 1% update override takes a lot of the excitement out of this year's rules. Action is with SNF payment system changes. Read the full piece here.

SPRINT/T-MOBILE: THE REGULATORY PROSPECTS (S, TMUS, CHTR, CMCSA, VZ, T): Our Senior Telecom Analyst Paul Glenchur writes cable and wireless convergence is the story du jour, but Sprint/T-Mobile is still on the table with reasonable regulatory prospects. Read his full piece here.