Clean Power Plan expected to keep tough targets

In continuing coverage, the Wall Street Journal (7/31, Harder, Subscription Publication) reports that the EPA’s Clean Power Plan is expected to maintain the tough emission-reduction targets in the draft proposal, but will push back the deadlines for meeting them. It is also expected to promote nuclear generation. The Journal notes that the EPA will be changing portions of the rule, including provisions related to energy efficiency that utilities had argued against, and will add incentives for states to increase renewable energy usage and energy efficiency. Reuters (7/31, Volcovici) reports that experts also expect the plan to better lay out how power plants can trade emission permits to meet requirements. A second in Reuters (7/30, Hurley) “Factbox” features a question-and-answer-style article on the expected legal challenges to the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Issues addressed include the likelihood of an initial stay, the challengers’ arguments, the potential swaying of the appeals court, and the road to the Supreme Court. Poll: Minorities Want

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Court upholds NLRB’s union election rule

Reuters (7/30, Wiessner) reported that US District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson in the District of Columbia ruled the National Labor Relations Board’s new rule to speed up union election processes does not cause enough impact to block the regulations. The plaintiffs in the case, which included the NAM and other business groups, had claimed that both employer’s and employee’s rights would be violated by the rule. According to the Washington Examiner (7/31, Higgins), the Court stated that contrary to plaintiffs’ assertions, the NLRB “was acting within its authority” in issuing a new rule to speed up union workplace elections. The Wall Street Journal (7/31, Trottman, Subscription Publication) reports that NAM Senior Vice President and General Counsel Linda Kelly said the court’s decision jeopardizes “not only an employer’s time to prepare, and an employee’s ability to make an informed decision, but also the protection of private, personal information.” The Hill (7/31, Devaney) and the National Law Review (7/31) also reported

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NAM, business groups “Unleash K Street Blitz” to reauthorize Export-Import Bank

The Hill (7/30, Wilson) reported that the NAM and over “100 companies, industry groups and nonprofit organizations” are “mobilizing an army of lobbyists” to push Congress to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, which had its charter expire in June. Bank supporters said “they are undeterred” by the inaction by lawmakers before Congress’ summer break as they seek to have the credit agency reauthorized so it may “provide financing for companies looking to do business in foreign markets.” The Morning Consult (7/31) reports although Senators who support the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank’s charter are hopeful, they “expressed frustration with the House of Representatives for its lack of renewal.” Meanwhile, the NAM and other business groups “have launched a public relations blitz” to renew the bank’s charter. The NAM commented on the Ex-Im situation following a highway bill approval without the Bank’s inclusion, saying, “Congressional inaction on both is gambling jobs in the United States, ceding our mantle of economic leadership to

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Senate passes highway funding bill

Congress has gone home for its annual August recess. Here’s a wrap-up on highway funding legislation and where it stands now from USA Today. The Senate voted Thursday to keep the Highway Trust Fund running for another three months, preventing an abrupt halt to road and bridge construction at midnight Friday. Senators voted 91-4 to pass the short-term extension, which keeps the trust fund solvent through Oct. 29. The House passed the three-month bill Wednesday. President Obama said he will sign the legislation, which ensures that states continue to receive reimbursement from the federal government for highway and mass transit projects. The Senate also voted 65-34 to pass a six-year highway bill that they plan to use in negotiations with the House this fall in an effort to reach a deal on long-term funding. States complain that they are unable to plan and construct major projects because Congress keeps passing bills that fund transportation for only a few months at a time. The three-month extension of highway

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Fed keeps options open about when interest rates will increase

USA Today (7/30, Davidson) reports that following its two-day meeting, the Fed “modestly upgraded its economic outlook,” but did not “signal whether it intends to raise interest rates in September for the first time in nearly a decade.” Regarding the labor market, the Fed said it continued to improve, “with solid job gains and declining unemployment.” In addition, “the housing sector has shown additional improvement” but business investment and exports “stayed soft.” The Wall Street Journal (7/30, Hilsenrath, Leubsdorf, Subscription Publication) says that the Fed’s statement did not send a clear signal about its timetable for a rate hike, which gives the central bank the option for a move in September without specifically committing to it. The Journal notes that the labor market improvement is a suggestion that it remains on course to raise rates this year, but notes that the concern over low inflation could mean that the Fed might delay. The New York Times (7/30, Appelbaum, Subscription Publication)

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Senate passes DRIVE Act; highway funding extended through October

From the American Highway Users Alliance Today, in a true bipartisan showing, the Senate passed the six-year DRIVE Act, which authorizes programs and sets spending levels from fiscal years 2016 to 2021. The bill contains revenue offsets to fund the first three years of the bill, 2016-2018. If enacted, Congress would have to find additional revenue sometime before October 2018 for the final three years. Bill managers, EPW Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) & Ranking Member Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) worked together to pull together an interesting, bipartisan majority needed to pass the bill. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) were instrumental in the effort, which garnered approximately three-quarters of the Republicans and slightly more than half of the Democrats (including Democrat-leaning Independents). Although the bill is not perfect, the American Highway Users Alliance judged it to be excellent overall and strongly supported and promoted passage of the bill with our members, grassroots networks, and social

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A new website for and about Missouri business:

No more scanning hundreds of newspapers and websites for the latest news on business with a Missouri perspective. It’s Associated Industries of Missouri’s new website at Every day, we’ll bring you the most important information from the world of business from the viewpoint of Missouri’s first and foremost business-only association. Updated daily, brings you the headlines and information you need to know, along with insight from our professional staff. Make your one-stop shop on information for Missouri and world business headlines and analysis. We also invite our members to become sponsors on what promises to be an important destination for hundreds of readers in the weeks and months to come. We offer the ability to enhance your visibility through banner ads that will include click-throughs to your websites. Bring readers right to your virtual front door! Contact Dick Aldrich at for more details, and set your browsers now to

Cerner is part of team that wins huge contract to revamp military’s health records

From the Kansas City Star Cerner Corp. is part of a team of health information companies that has snagged a coveted multibillion-dollar contract to overhaul the U.S. military’s electronic health records, the Pentagon announced Wednesday. The victory is a win for Cerner, Kansas City’s fastest-growing large company and one of the top health information technology firms in the country. Cerner partnered with defense technology contractor Leidos, Accenture Federal Services and Intermountain Healthcare in the bid for the $4.3 billion, 10-year defense contract. The Leidos-led team beat out two other partnerships, one of them including Cerner’s major rival, Epic, a Wisconsin-based health IT firm that also is a leading provider of electronic health records technology. Cerner and its partners now will be responsible for upgrading the disparate digital medical records of 9.5 million active-duty service members and their families, as well as some veterans, retirees, survivors and members of the National Guard and reserve forces and their dependents. The overhaul will

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AIM signs on to ozone letter to President Obama

Associated Industries of Missouri is proud to be one of the signatories on a letter drafted by the National Association of Manufacturers to be sent to President Obama to ask the President to maintain current ozone standards. The letter seeks to get the President to withdraw the new ozone regulations that threaten to make nearly the entire state of Missouri a non-attainment area, stifling growth and crippling our industries. The letter was sent to the President and all members of Congress earlier this week. July 29, 2015 The President The White House Washington, DC 20500 Dear Mr. President: In the coming weeks, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will send your Office of Management and Budget a new National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for ozone that will be among the most expensive regulations in our nation’s history. Just a few years ago, you ordered the EPA to abandon a similar rule, citing the need to reduce regulatory burdens in a

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Outlook for the Ex-Im Bank dims as Congress departs

From the New York Times By JACKIE CALMES WASHINGTON — The prospect that the Export-Import Bank would soon reopen its credit windows to support foreign sales for American businesses was dashed on Wednesday as Congress prepared to recess until September without reauthorizing the 81-year-old agency, leaving its future more uncertain than ever before. The bank’s charter expired a month ago, its renewal blocked by a formidable minority of conservative Republicans. Supporters had hoped to attach a bank provision to a must-pass highway construction bill before Congress left for its August vacation. The Senate did so early this week, but House Republicans resisted and ran out the clock. Bank backers, including most Democrats and about half of Republicans, say they will try again this fall. But by then the Ex-Im Bank will be one of many issues vying for attention as Congress struggles to finish annual spending bills and raise the nation’s debt limit in the final weeks of the year’s

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