lobbying

Congress is Trump’s best hope for drug pricing action
But divisions remain between Republicans and Democrats, House and Senate

The administration will need congressional help to take action this year on drug prices. (File photo)

An upcoming Senate bill is the Trump administration’s best hope for a significant achievement before next year’s election to lower prescription drug prices, but a lot still needs to go right for anything to become law.

Despite the overwhelming desire for action, there are still policy gulfs between Republicans and Democrats in the Senate, and another gap between the Senate and the House. And the politics of the moment might derail potential policy agreements. Some Democrats might balk at settling for a drug pricing compromise that President Donald Trump endorsed.

Oil refiners racing Congress to protect butane loophole
Joint Committee on Taxation now estimates 1-year extension of the alternative fuel credits would cost $7.1 billion

House Ways and Means ranking member Kevin Brady, R-Texas, says Congress should leave it to the courts to decide whether refiners should get an alternative fuel tax credit for butane. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

For more than a decade, oil refiners didn’t realize what a moneymaker they had in butane — at least for tax purposes.

They do now.

Beltway ‘inundated’ with fundraisers as deadline nears
From barbecue to New Kids on the Block, it’s a busy week for money-seekers in Washington

House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn is breaking out the barbecue, Mario Diaz-Balart is gearing up for a transportation breakfast and Jaime Herrera Beutler is jamming out to New Kids on the Block. The second quarter scramble is officially on. (Composite by Chris Hale/CQ Roll Call)

The subject line of a recent email solicitation from Rep. Elissa Slotkin’s campaign captures this week’s fundraising scene perfectly: “You’re about to be inundated. Sorry in advance.”

With the second quarter fundraising deadline looming on Sunday, lawmakers are sounding the alarms for their donors — making pleas to far-flung, small-dollar givers online and reliable contributors from K Street’s lobbying community to help them boost their numbers.

White House threatens to veto resolutions blocking Saudi arms sales
Senate sends 22 resolutions disapproving of sales to Saudis and UAE to the House where they have good prospects for passage

President Donald Trump meets with Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office in 2017. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

The White House said Thursday it would veto Senate-passed measures to block its proposed arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries.

“The transfer of these capabilities and services to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan directly supports the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of friendly countries that continue to be important forces for political and economic stability in the Middle East,” according to a statement of administration policy memo.

Longtime U.S. Chamber of Commerce chief Tom Donohue easing out of job

Thomas Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is stepping aside as president but will remain as CEO until 2022. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Longtime U.S. Chamber of Commerce chief Thomas Donohue, a storied player on K Street for decades, is stepping back from his role atop the organization, shedding his title as president but pledging to remain with the group as CEO until June 2022.

Suzanne P. Clark, currently the chamber’s senior executive vice president, will assume the role of president, the group said Wednesday, noting it will “undertake a global search” for the next CEO.

HR 1 provides freshman House Democrats a McConnell 101 lesson
First-term lawmakers want to see Senate action on ethics overhaul

Rep. Max Rose, D-N.Y., was among the freshman House Democrats urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to allow consideration of HR 1. "He won't even take a meeting with us," Rose says of McConnell. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While it is not quite an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object, the metaphor is close enough: Freshman House Democrats who roared into the majority in January with ambitious legislative plans are increasingly facing the reality of a Senate majority leader who has little interest in what they want.

The latest reality check came on Wednesday when a substantial portion of first-year House Democrats — 62 members — urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to act on HR 1, a sweeping House-passed bill that seeks to fortify ethics rules for public officials, overhaul campaign finance and expand access to voting.

Hoyer and House appropriators back potential pay raise for Congress
Salaries for rank-and-file lawmakers have been frozen at $174,000 since 2010

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., says he supports a provision that could boost lawmaker salaries. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats are making moves to lift the pay freeze that lawmakers have been living under since 2010. But the top Senate appropriator is not on board. 

House appropriators released their Financial Services fiscal 2020 spending bill earlier this week, striking a provision that blocked members or Congress from receiving an increase in pay that Republicans included in previous  Legislative Branch spending bills. The salary for rank-and-file House and Senate lawmakers is $174,000, but those with official leadership titles and responsibilities make more.

How to dine like a boss on a tight budget in D.C.
Hill reception circuit offers a lifeline for cash-strapped interns

People grab food provided at the Organic Trade Association’s Organic Week Reception on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Receptions are the lifeblood of the broke Capitol Hill intern’s diet. Besides being a great place for meeting people (ABN: always be networking) they provide a bounty of free food and drinks, and usually the spreads are halfway decent. I once went a whole week without paying a dime for dinner. And honestly, with enough dedication, I could have stretched that to a month.

Besides not wearing your intern badge on your lapel, the earliest lesson you learn working on the Hill is that almost every industry has an association in D.C. to represent it. Whether it’s cement, hydrogen energy or guns, if somebody has an interest before Congress, you can bet it has a lobby organized to influence lawmakers.

Before Trump meeting, Hungary hired a powerhouse K Street firm
Greenberg Traurig signed on to represent the Embassy of Hungary for $100,000 for six months of work

U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban during a meeting in the Oval Office on May 13, 2019. The authoritarian prime minister’s government recently hired lobbying and law firm Greenberg Traurig to represent the Embassy of Hungry. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The government of Hungary hired a powerhouse K Street firm just before the country’s controversial and authoritarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán, had a meeting last week with President Donald Trump in the White House.

Lobbying and law firm Greenberg Traurig signed on to represent the Embassy of Hungary for $100,000 for six months of work, new Justice Department documents show. The disclosures included a contract for work dated April 26, just on the cusp of the meeting that took place May 13.

IRS should investigate the National Rifle Association for self-dealing, congressman says
Schneider: the NRA may have abused its status as a nonprofit

Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the National Rifle Association, faces new scrutiny for his close relationship with public relations company Ackerman McQueen. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Internal Revenue Service should consider revoking the National Rifle Association’s status as a nonprofit organization in light a recent report that the group has enriched its executives at the expense of its 5 million members, a Democratic congressman said Thursday.

Rep. Brad Schneider addressed a letter to the commissioner of the IRS asking the agency to interrogate whether the NRA has misappropriated member dues into the pockets of a small group of executives in a series of sweetheart deals.