With Daniel Lippman
GYMS ACT SPONSORS MAKE THE CASE FOR RECONCILIATION INCLUSION: The lead House and Senate sponsors of legislation to provide direct pandemic relief for the gym and fitness industry urged Democratic leaders on the Hill to include their bill in the party-line reconciliation package being crafted now, part of the industry’s last-ditch plea for federal help.
— “Since many Americans ended their gym memberships over the past year due to mandatory gym closures, gyms will be reopening with significantly diminished revenue streams,” Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth and Rep. Mike Quigley, both of Illinois, wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “These economic realities, coupled with the vast expenses like back rent, utility payments, and staffing costs that gyms have accrued over the past year means that many more gyms are likely to permanently close even when public health restrictions limiting their use are lifted.
— The fitness industry is one of the few outstanding sectors still lobbying for targeted help from the federal government, arguing that its businesses were some of the first to be forced to close by public health mandates over the last year and some of the last to reopen. Duckworth and Quigley’s bill would create a $30 billion rescue fund within the Small Business Administration similar to those created for the restaurant and live entertainment industries.
— “Any forthcoming budget reconciliation legislation is a critical opportunity to provide support for this essential industry that, unlike other industries that have also been severely impacted by Covid-19, has not been given any industry-specific funding,” Duckworth and Quigley wrote, citing industry estimates that roughly 1 out of every 5 fitness studios has closed permanently during the pandemic.
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BIOTECH STARTUP POACHES VOGEL GROUP HEALTH CARE LEAD: Precision medicine startup Tempus has named Jennifer Nord Mallard head of government affairs. She was most recently a principal at The Vogel Group and head of the health care practice there. Mallard also spent almost a decade leading the Mayo Clinic’s D.C. office.
‘THREADING THE NEEDLE’: Business groups and lobbyists representing business interests are feeling confident that they’ll succeed in watering down Democrats’ massive reconciliation bill expected to be paid for by hiking taxes on corporations or else that intraparty disputes will doom the bill altogether, The Hill’s Karl Evers-Hillstrom writes.
— “‘Today, the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill does not have 218 votes in the House or 51 votes in the Senate, and we’re going to make sure it stays that way,’ said Neil Bradley, executive vice president and chief policy officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which backed the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Every Senate Democrat on Wednesday voted to advance Democrats’ budget resolution, which serves as a framework for the reconciliation package. But Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have already indicated that they want to cut the size of the final bill.”
— Omar Franco, head of Becker & Poliakoff’s federal lobbying practice, told The Hill that business groups and GOP lawmakers weighed the divisions among Democrats, as well as Congress’ packed fall legislative schedule, “before throwing their support behind the bipartisan deal, knowing that the reconciliation bill could easily unravel. ‘They’re threading the needle,’ Franco said of congressional Democrats. ‘There’s no room for error right now, and this is a process that is very error prone.’”
— At the same time groups like the Chamber, Business Roundtable and National Association of Manufacturers, who all emphatically backed the bipartisan bill passed yesterday, are urging the House to send that bill to Biden’s desk pronto — despite attestations from Speaker Nancy Pelosi that her chamber won’t pass the bipartisan bill until it receives the reconciliation bill, and the looming threat from progressives unhappy with the bipartisan package.
— “If the bipartisan bill passes in a standalone vote, lobbyists argue they will have more leverage to sway moderate Democrats away from the reconciliation package. They’re targeting House lawmakers who face difficult reelection battles in 2022 as well as Manchin, who has said that he ‘can’t really guarantee anybody’ that the massive spending plan will pass.”
CHAMBER ENTITIES BACK SMALL BIZ ENERGY EFFICIENCY BILL: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and half a dozen affiliated business groups urged lawmakers this week to back a bill aimed at helping small businesses afford investments in energy efficiency. The U.S. Chamber, as well as the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Black Chambers, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce and U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce, endorsed Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Rep. Peter Welch’s (D-Vt.) Main Street Efficiency Act, which the chambers write would revitalize “clean-energy sector job growth and [address] climate change, all while targeting minority and women-owned businesses, the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
— The bill would create a $6 billion grant program to match existing incentives for energy efficiency improvements offered by utilities in order to help offset or cover the cost of those improvements, prioritizing grants to utilities that serve diverse small businesses. It also received support from the African American Mayors Association, National Association of Counties, National Black Caucus of State Legislators, National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, National League of Cities and National Organization of Black County Officials last week.
CHINA SENTENCES CANADIAN IN HUAWEI-LINKED CASE: “A Canadian entrepreneur was sentenced to 11 years in prison Wednesday in a spying case linked to Beijing’s effort to push his country to release an executive of tech giant Huawei, prompting an unusual joint show of support for Canada by the United States and 24 other governments,” per The Associated Press’ Joe McDonald and Ng Han Guan.
— “China is stepping up pressure as a Canadian judge hears final arguments about whether to send the Huawei executive to the United States to face charges related to possible violations of trade sanctions on Iran. On Tuesday, a court rejected another Canadian’s appeal of his sentence in a drug case that was abruptly increased to the death penalty after the executive’s arrest. Entrepreneur Michael Spavor and a former Canadian diplomat were detained in what critics labeled ‘hostage politics’ after Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou was arrested Dec. 1, 2018, at the Vancouver airport.”
— “‘The practice of arbitrarily detaining individuals to exercise leverage over foreign governments is completely unacceptable,’ U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement. ‘People should never be used as bargaining chips.’ … Meng, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies Ltd. and daughter of the company’s founder, was arrested on U.S. charges of lying to the Hong Kong arm of the British bank HSBC about possible dealings with Iran in violation of trade sanctions.”
— The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Energy Institute hired Ruth Demeter as senior director of policy. She was most recently director of federal government relations at Peabody Energy and is a John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and John Ensign alum.
— C.J. Warnke is joining the Hub Project as senior manager for state comms. He previously was press secretary for Sen. Gary Peters’ (D-Mich.) reelection and is an Amy Klobuchar presidential campaign alum
Kean Victory Fund (Kean for Congress, TKJ PAC)
Senate Representation Matters II (Rep. Val Demings, Cheri Beasley for North Carolina, One Voice)
California Poultry Industry Federal PAC (PAC)
Sidecar Health Inc. Political Action Committee (PAC)
Blue Star Strategies LLC: Terragene, LLC
Brendan Neal Strategies, LLC: Robert B Crowe On Behalf Of Patriot X LLC
Carpi & Clay, Inc.: Genesee County
Military Diplomacy Strategies LLC: Ionic Rare Earths Limited
Platt Strategic Consulting LLC: Cerberus Capital Management, L.P., On Behalf Of The Madison Group
Rochester Regional Health: Rochester Regional Health
Trustwave Government Solutions: Trustwave Government Solutions
Van Scoyoc Associates: Coast Professional, Inc.
Winston & Strawn LLP: Pacific Shipyards International LLC
The Law Office Of Stephen James Binhak, Pllc: Huawei Technology USA, Inc.
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