Andy Karellas

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The U.S. Senate will begin full consideration this week on its version of the fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee, two weeks after the House passed its final version of the massive defense policy bill.

Since 1963, every U.S. president has set aside a week to highlight the importance of small businesses and to recognize their accomplishments through innovation and growth. This year was no different. On April 29, President Barack Obama declared May 1-7 as National Small Business Week, an annual event organized by the U.S. Small Business Administration, or SBA

Congress finished 2015 on an unusually productive streak – at least compared to recent years – by passing a variety of legislation important to state governments, including funding the highway trust fund, reforming the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (now called the Every Student Succeeds Act), reauthorizing the highly debated Export-Import Bank, extending a variety of tax incentive provisions, and funding the federal government through September 2016.  Going into a presidential election year, many experts do not expect Congress to act on major policy initiatives before November, and are closely watching what President Obama will do in his final year in office. 

As the world becomes more interconnected, state leaders continue to play a larger role in international affairs – both by identifying opportunities to grow their economy through international trade and monitoring the geopolitics to ensure the health and safety of their citizens. In Washington, DC, states will be watching Congress to see if they act on President Obama’s top priority on his trade agenda – the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, or the TPP. The TPP agreement between 11 nations would be one of the largest agreements on history, covering over 800 million consumers and 40 percent of the world’s gross domestic product. It is important that state leaders review and understand the proposed agreement and voice their thoughts with Congress and federal agencies.

CSG Director of Federal Affairs Andy Karellas outlines the top five issues in international policy for 2016, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), export promotion and economic development, global cybersecurity, attracting foreign investment, and global humanitarian crisis.

CSG Director of Federal Affairs Andy Karellas outlines the top five issues in federal affairs policy for 2016, including fiscal uncertainty, federal regulations and intergovernmental coordination, unfunded mandates, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. 

Civics education stands at the core of what it takes to equip citizens with the knowledge and willingness to become community, state, national and international leaders. Without such civic fundamentals, the youth of today may not vote or run for public office tomorrow, and the future participation of citizens in America’s grand democratic experiment is called into question. As part of CSG’s ongoing work to explore the challenges of federalism, this session featured experts and policymakers to discuss how states are teaching future generations about the role of state and federal governments and civic engagement.

It’s not a matter of whether or not a cybersecurity breach—affecting either a private or public institution—will happen, but when. Experts warn that both the frequency of cybersecurity threats and their level of sophistication will continue to increase, and state leaders need to know what they are facing. This session explored what state leaders need to know about cybersecurity threats to make informed decisions, anticipate challenges, share information, and define roles and responsibilities.

Many state leaders participate in international trips, education exchanges and foreign delegations in their states and districts. Understanding the proper protocol to guide interactions with foreign visitors is key to overcoming intercultural communications barriers and building relationships with overseas contacts. During this session, experts discussed the proper protocol for meeting with foreign delegations, including proper greeting and business card exchanges and how to conduct business meetings and other events.

The United States and 11 other nations announced in October that they had reached an agreement on the multilateral trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP. These nations collectively have a market size of nearly 800 million consumers and account for nearly 40 percent of the world’s gross domestic product. Exports of U.S. goods to TPP nations totaled $698 billion in 2013, or about 45 percent of total U.S. exports, and a finalized deal would yield even greater trade with TPP countries. A 2012 analysis by the Peterson Institute for International Economics estimated that a TPP agreement could generate nearly $124 billion in new U.S. exports to those nations. During this session, experts from the Office of the United States Trade Representative and the United States Department of Commerce discussed the details of the TPP agreement and what it means for your state.

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