Business

Big business, tech, health care lead K Street spending in 2019
Spending was highest in fourth quarter as Congress passed budget bills and updated NAFTA

Lobbyists say they’re looking at a post-impeachment crunch on major legislative priorities this year before the elections consume lawmakers’ attentions. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Big business, big tech and medical interests were K Street’s top players last year as those industries spent millions of dollars on federal lobbying in the final months of 2019, while lawmakers and the administration wrapped up spending and trade measures.

With the 2020 elections expected to consume lawmakers’ attention this summer and fall, lobbyists say they’re looking at a post-impeachment crunch on major 2020 priorities. Some clients already are gaming out a possible lame-duck session as well as a potentially revamped federal government in 2021.

Schumer says Democrats not looking to make deals over witnesses
Murphy says notion of making deal over Hunter Biden testimony is being ‘overblown’ by the media

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, right, and Sen. Chris Murphy listen as Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse speaks during a news conference before the Senate convened for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said Wednesday that Democrats aren’t looking to cut deals with Republicans to hear from witnesses in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. 

Asked whether Democrats would be willing to make a deal with Republicans to allow former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden to testify in exchange for witnesses Democrats want like former national security adviser John Bolton, Schumer shot down that notion.

Impeachment news roundup: Jan. 22
Coons lauds Schiff for 30 minutes of ‘mastery’; White House defense could begin Saturday

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, followed by Democratic Sen. Richard J. Durbin, leaves a news conference Tuesday. The Senate rejected all of the amendments Schumer introduced to try to change the rules for President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

File updated 10:10 p.m.  

Delaware Democrat Chris Coons said House impeachment manager Adam B. Schiff’s closing 30 minutes was “compelling” and that he showed a “mastery” of the material. Coons also said that there were snacks and coffee in the cloakroom. Coons said there has not been much outreach to him from Republicans.

K Street firms post big earnings gains for 2019
Trade, health care and immigration issues paced lobbying spending last year

Lobbying firms are working with clients about their agendas for 2021, which will be hugely dependent upon who wins the White House this November. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

K Street’s top-tier firms posted sizable gains last year, fueled by technology, pharmaceutical and big-business interests concerned with such policy matters as trade, health care, taxation and government spending.

And lobbyists say impeachment proceedings and the 2020 campaigns haven’t yet derailed the influence industry’s agenda this year.

Senate passes USMCA bill, giving Trump a win on trade
The Senate voted 89-10 to clear the bill for Trump’s signature

Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, checks his watch while waiting for Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to wrap up a press conference in the Senate Radio/TV studio on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. Sen. Risch along with Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, were waiting to hold a press conference on USMCA, which passed the Senate Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate approved implementing legislation Thursday for a renegotiated version of the North American Free Trade Agreement, giving President Donald Trump a victory as the Senate moved to swearing in its members as jurors in Trump’s impeachment trial.

The Senate voted 89-10 to clear the bill for Trump's signature, with several dissenting Democrats citing the absence of climate change provisions as a lost opportunity to address the issue on an international scale since Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who negotiated the deal, watched the vote from the public gallery.

An agonizing dispute among terror victims
Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund splitting payouts under questionable rationale

Kenneth Feinberg, former administrator of the U.S. Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund, said he does not understand the rationale for paying out 9/11 victims from the fund. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Four decades ago, William Daugherty, a former CIA operative, was held hostage in Iran for 444 days. His wait for the financial compensation policymakers had promised him will now be a lot longer than that.

A fund created in 2015 for the Iran hostages and other victims of state-sponsored terrorism has become a new source of cash for relatives of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks waged by al-Qaida terrorists on New York and Washington. President Donald Trump in November signed into law a measure that divided the fund in half, splitting the revenue between two competing groups: victims of state-sponsored terrorism like Daugherty and the 9/11 families.

Senate receives impeachment articles, takes first step toward trial
McConnell gets unanimous consent on measures expected to start trial Tuesday

House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving and Clerk of the House Cheryl Johnson lead the House Democrats who will manage President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial through Statuary Hall on Wednesday to deliver the articles of impeachment to the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate laid the groundwork to begin a trial on whether to remove President Donald Trump after a procession of House Democrats delivered impeachment articles Wednesday evening. 

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called for unanimous consent on a series of measures to set the trial in motion. 

Trump signs ‘phase one’ China pact, first of two trade milestones this week
Senate to take up NAFTA replacement before impeachment trial begins

President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks during a “Keep America Great” campaign rally in Milwaukee on Tuesday night. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Amid the impeachment proceedings on Capitol Hill, President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed the first of two significant milestones on trade — an agreement with China that amounts to a ceasefire in his war with the Asian giant.

Trump is expected to get a second win on the issue later this week, with the Senate expected to approve a revised trade agreement with Canada and Mexico. Aides say Trump plans to trumpet both as part of his reelection sales pitch that he is a good steward of the economy.

Impeachment managers all represent safe Democratic seats
GOP faces steep challenge to oust prosecutors of Trump

Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a Wednesday news conference to announce the House impeachment managers: from left, Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, Sylvia R. Garcia, Jerrold Nadler, Adam B. Schiff, Val B. Demings, Zoe Lofgren and Jason Crow. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call photo)

Updated Jan. 16 10:45 a.m. | Speaker Nancy Pelosi went with Democrats from politically safe districts to prosecute the impeachment case against President Donald Trump in the Senate.

All seven impeachment managers named Wednesday are in races that Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates Solid Democratic. Many of their Republican challengers haven’t even raised any money yet. That could change given these Democrats’ new, high-profile role, but the fundamentals of their races would have to shift significantly to make a difference in the outcome.

Senate sets first ground rules for impeachment trial
McConnell, Schumer announced restrictions to staff and visitors

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer have detailed restrictions in Senate operations during President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Corrected, Thursday, 8:32 p.m. | Senators and their staffs will be subject to new access restrictions and decorum practices in and around the Senate chamber starting Thursday morning, thanks to the imminent impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

Access to the Senate wing will be more limited than usual as of 10:30 a.m. Thursday.