Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) writes for Fox News that delays in passing the budget reconciliation bill are due to intense lobbying from the pharmaceutical, health insurance and fossil fuel industries.
“Lobbying efforts by some of the nation’s biggest business groups are falling on deaf ears with House Republicans just a few years after the two worked in lockstep to craft the 2017 tax bill that delivered massive corporate tax cuts,” The Hill reports.
“Even after every major business group in Washington, D.C., urged House Republicans to support the Senate-passed $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, only a handful of GOP lawmakers have said they would vote for the measure.”
New York Times: “As Democrats labor to keep Mr. Biden’s proposal on track in Congress amid deep internal divisions, a robust influence campaign is meeting it at every turn. Business groups are working in overdrive to fight large swaths of it, such as raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations; expanding Medicare to cover dental, hearing and vision services; and proposed taxes and fees to cut down on carbon emissions.”
“The effort is unfolding less conspicuously than previous lobbying pushes; pandemic restrictions have limited large gatherings of lobbyists at the Capitol, so the corridor outside the Senate Finance Committee’s office, which has long been known as ‘Gucci Gulch,’ is no longer overrun with shiny Italian shoes. But the campaign is proceeding as intensely as ever, via individual meetings, Zoom calls, fund-raisers and the airwaves.”
“Exxon Mobil has been lobbying against pieces of a sprawling Democratic budget bill aimed at boosting working class families and fighting climate change,” CNBC reports.
“The fossil fuel giant has spent $275,000 over the past week on Facebook ads that include spots targeting tax hikes Democrats have included in the bill, which has a $3.5 trillion price tag at the moment.”
Wall Street Journal: “Federal prosecutors are investigating Barry Bennett, a Republican lobbyist and one-time unpaid campaign adviser to former President Donald Trump, over allegations that he secretly set up and funded a U.S.-based advocacy group without disclosing its ties to the government of Qatar.”
Roll Call: “K Street lobbyists this week took a downright jubilant tone when discussing their most recent public disclosures, which reflected an uptick in business fueled by massive government spending; debate over an infrastructure deal and possible tax increases to help foot the bill; and regulatory actions in the Biden administration.”
“A limited return of congressional earmarks and the slim majorities in both chambers have also been a boost to lobbyists’ business.”
“Thomas Barrack, a longtime friend to former president Donald Trump and a billionaire businessman, was arrested on Tuesday for violating foreign lobbying laws,” the Washington Post reports.
“Barrack, whose primary residence is in Los Angeles, was taken into custody in California and indicted on foreign lobbying charges related to his dealings with the United Arab Emirates.”
“Joe Manchin, in a private call on Monday with a group of major donors, provided a revealing look at his political approach to the most thorny issues confronting lawmakers,” The Intercept reports.
“When it came to Sen. Roy Blunt, a moderate Missouri Republican who voted no on the Jan. 6 commission, Manchin offered a creative solution.”
Said Manchin: “Roy is retiring. If some of you all who might be working with Roy in his next life could tell him, that’d be nice and it’d help our country. That would be very good to get him to change his vote.”
“Conservatives in Washington are growing much more leery of groups with financial ties to Big Tech,” Axios reports.
“Third-party influence is a key lobbying strategy for major companies in Washington and has in the past been very effective for Silicon Valley. Now it’s becoming a liability, making it even harder for tech companies and their allies to push their message on Capitol Hill.”
Politico: “From margaritas-to-go to marijuana deliveries to virtual doctor visits, the pandemic prompted states to ease rules to make life at home more bearable. But the looming end of emergency orders has teed up a lobbying frenzy in state capitals to make these Covid-era conveniences permanent fixtures in American life.”
New York Times: “As the stakes have grown, so has the recognition that the industry’s future — at least in the United States — will be shaped in Washington, prompting the rush to scoop up well-connected advocates.”
“Allegations that a Texas lobbyist drugged a legislative aide shook the state Capitol on Monday, leading to some lawmakers restricting access to their offices as both law enforcement and a major lobbying firm said they were investigating,” the AP reports.
A former lobbyist told the Washington Post that Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY), who is weighing a challenge to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), sexually harassed her.
“Reed, who has described combating sexual violence and harassment as one of his priorities in Congress, recently argued that Cuomo should be impeached.”
“Florida authorities are investigating the death of Neil Clark, a longtime Ohio lobbyist indicted on racketeering charges last year,” the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.
“A bicyclist reported encountering a body around 11:30 a.m. Monday in a wooded area near a pond near Clark’s Florida home.”
Punchbowl News: “We already knew that House Democrats were going to bring back earmarks for the 12 annual spending bills. But here’s something new: Democrats are moving toward allowing earmarks on the large-scale infrastructure bill they’re planning for this spring.”
“Allowing earmarks could make it easier to pass this bill. It could give lawmakers a chance to list the projects in their district that need federal cash, and give them more political buy in to the package. It will also push appropriations lobbying into overdrive. If you’re a state, municipality or local government and you need an infrastructure project funded, it’s time to get a lobbyist. Just like the old days in D.C.”
Politico: “Over the past month, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has taken a series of steps that have enraged its traditional Republican allies. It applauded much of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion plan to Covid relief bill; cheered Biden’s decision to rejoin the Paris climate agreement; backed the former leader of the liberal Center of American Progress, Neera Tanden, for Office of Management and Budget director; and expressed openness to raising the minimum wage, though not to $15 an hour.”
“That’s left the Chamber, a K Street institution known for its bruising battles with past Democratic administrations, occupying an increasingly lonely political center, caught between angry Republicans who feel the trade group has abandoned them and Democrats who are pursuing policies anathema to many of their members.
Wall Street Journal: “As a White House counselor, Steve Ricchetti is a top confidant of President Biden and one of the most important new power brokers in government. His younger brother, Jeff Ricchetti, has a growing roster of lobbying clients seeking access to those power brokers.”
“The presidential changeover hasn’t only ushered in a new government but also reshuffled Washington’s hierarchy of senior administration officials and well-connected lobbyists. The Ricchetti brothers will be trying to shape policy over the next four years from both ends of the axis.”
Wall Street Journal: “Scores of Mr. Biden’s former aides now on K Street represent hundreds of companies, trade groups and foreign companies.”
“Mr. Biden, unlike the four most recent presidents, has deep ties to the Washington establishment from his 44 years in the Senate and as vice president. He named at least 40 current and former registered lobbyists to his transition team.”
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