Public Policy Network

Helping You and Your Organization Engage in Policy Debates

FHLBank Pittsburgh's Public Policy Network (PPN) is a coalition of housing, economic development and financial industry advocates. Membership is free and includes invitations to events with members of Congress, monthly policy updates and quarterly conference calls featuring industry experts.

Public Policy Updates

Stay up-to-date on issues facing housing, economic development and the FHLBanks with Peter Knight’s monthly policy updates.

February 2018

The year 2018 is a remarkable time in Washington. No one, and that means not a single person, knows what the president will say in any given 24-hour period. Congressional leaders are learning how to operate in this new environment. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) demonstrated this skill when passing a government budget on Feb. 9. This bill flies in the face of the recently released administration FY 2019 budget, raises the debt ceiling through March, 2019, and provides hundreds of billions of dollars of additional defense and non-defense spending over two years. This ended up being a bipartisan effort with the White House in a supportive, not leading, role.

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January 2018

Change was promised in the 2016 elections, and change has been delivered. As Winston Churchill liked to say, "There is nothing wrong with change... if it is in the right direction." Unfortunately 2018 has begun in Washington with even more of the dysfunction and partisanship that characterized last year. While these political dynamics have been brewing for many years, it looks like the brew could now be boiling over.

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December 2017

2017 was a wild year in Washington that ended with a massive tax-cut law, the signature achievement for Republican congressional leaders and President Trump. The Republicans' laser focus the past two months on this massive effort has resulted in many pressing matters awaiting Congress when it returns Jan. 3. This tax bill will continue to be a major focus of policy debates throughout 2018. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that Republicans must now convince voters the bill was a good idea. Democrats, who unanimously opposed the law, will continue their negative messaging that has, thus far, turned a majority of the public against the bill. The only opinion poll that will matter will be November's elections.

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November 2017

Chinese revolutionary Mao Tse-Tung once described politics as "war without bloodshed." In keeping with that often-relevant analogy, Washington today looks very much like a burning, chaotic policy battlefield. Nasty partisanship affects a wide range of policy debates, and while there are oases of cooperation and problem solving, they are often out of the public spotlight.

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October 2017

At Halloween festivities around the nation's capital this year, some partygoers might be dressing up in costume themes from 1986, even though that era was more than 30 years ago. These nostalgic types might make the trick-or-treat rounds posing as an aviator, with shades and a bomber jacket ("Top Gun" was the top movie that year); a deranged bovine (mad cow disease had just appeared); a gangster sticking his head out of a vault (Al Capone's "secret vault" was opened with great fanfare, and little results, by Geraldo Rivera on live TV); a soccer player holding a ball (Argentina's Diego Maradona scored what looked like an illegal handball goal in the World Cup, which he modestly called the "Hand of God"); or the patriarch of modern America, Homer Simpson (whose animated show debuted that year).

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July 2017

Having failed to enact health care reform, Washington is now turning to an even heavier policy lift, tax reform. Perhaps our politicians should consider how Peter the Great, who was Tsar of Russia for 43 years, used taxes to transform Russia into a modern world power (by 17th century standards). He expanded Russia's territory through 20 years of war, built a world-class navy, created infrastructure in the form of a national canal system, modernized Russian society and developed a capital and major port, Saint Petersburg, out of uninhabited wet lands - all without incurring any national debt.

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Peter E. Knight, Director, Government Relations

Peter Knight, who joined FHLBank Pittsburgh in 2002, is responsible for directing the Government Relations Department.
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Allison Beresnyak Karakis, Government Relations Manager
Office: 412-288-7302

Allison Beresnyak Karakis, who joined FHLBank Pittsburgh in 2015, manages FHLBank Pittsburgh in-district government relations program, the Public Policy Network. 
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