Archive for October, 2011

Week In Review

Posted on October 21, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

by Caren Z. Turner

This week was about energy and money (isn’t it always, though?). On Monday we discussed how competing labor and pro-environment interests are complicating the Keystone Pipeline decision for President Obama. On Tuesday we shared the results of two polls that revealed a greater number of Americans blame Washington more than Wall Street for our economic problems. Back to energy, on Wednesday we learned that Senate and House Democrats are pressuring the Deficit Super Committee to repeal oil and gas industry tax breaks, while yesterday we discussed how we still have no clue as to the Super Committee’s progress towards creating a plan to come up with $1.2 trillion in spending cuts.

The latest on the Hill and in the country . . .

The violent death of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is being seen as a major foreign policy victory for President Obama.

NATO’s mission in Libya will soon end says the organization’s top general.

President Obama today signed the three trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea that Congress approved last week.

Senate Republicans yesterday blocked two parts of Obama’s jobs bill, with Vice President Biden saying Republicans are protecting the rich at the expense of teachers and first responders.

The Senate yesterday approved the nomination of former utility executive John Bryson as Commerce Secretary, replacing Gary Locke.

Poll reveals 72% of Americans feel the country is generally headed in the wrong direction.

Campaign 2012:

DCCC brought in nearly twice as much fundraising dollars as the NRCCfor third straight month.

Steve Jobs warned that President Obama could be heading toward a one-term presidency.

Mitt Romney yesterday said “There’s a good shot I might become the next president.

Rick Perry’s campaign sees a major drop in fundraising.

After a sharp and almost testy exchange at the recent Republican debate in Las Vegas, it is reported that Mitt Romney and Rick Perry really don’t like each other.

Rick Santorum said Perry’s jab at Romney over immigration was a “cheap shot.

Herman Cain continues to defend his 9-9-9 economic plan which his rivals have pummeled as unworkable.

Upcoming Hearings In Congress:

Monday October 24, 2011
House Armed Services Committee – Defense Industrial Base
Business Challenges within the Defense Industry Panel Subcommittee hearing on “The Defense Industrial Base: A National Security Imperative.”

Tuesday October 25, 2011
House Financial Services Committee – Insurance Oversight (Part II)
Insurance, Housing, and Community Opportunity Subcommittee hearing on “Insurance Oversight: Policy Implications for U.S. Consumers, Businesses and Jobs, Part 2.”

Tuesday October 25, 2011
House Financial Services Committee – Eurozone Crisis Implications of the U.S.
International Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee hearing on “The Eurozone Crisis and Implications for the United States.”

Tuesday October 25, 2011
House Ways and Means Committee – U.S.-China Economic Relationship
Full committee hearing on “The U.S.-China Economic Relationship.”

Wednesday October 26, 2011
House Natural Resources Committee – Ocean Coastal/Inland Activities Restrictions
Full committee hearing on “The President’s New National Ocean Policy – A Plan for Further Restrictions on Ocean Coastal and Inland Activities.”

Wednesday October 26, 2011
House Armed Services Committee – Economic Consequences of Defense Sequestration
Full committee hearing on “Economic Consequences of Defense Sequestration.”

Turner GPA is a leading D.C.-based national lobbying and government affairs firm dedicated to delivering cutting edge policy advocacy for the manufacturing, defense, aerospace, and energy industries. Members of our professional policy team can be reached at (202) 466-2511. We are also on the Web at www.turnergpa.com.

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Super Committee: Secret Meetings, No Signs Of Progress

Posted on October 21, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

by Caren Z. Turner

They were given the massive burden of coming up with a proposal to cut $1.2 trillion in government spending. They only have one more month before they must submit that proposal to Congress. With the deficit and the future of the nation’s struggling economy weighing greatly on their shoulders, we would expect them to be driven by an immense sense of urgency.

But no one knows what’s happening. No one except the twelve Democrats and Republicans from both the House and Senate who sit on the Deficit Super Committee. This is because their meetings have thus far been held in secret, out of the public’s eye. When committee members are approached by the media for updates on their progress, answers are vague and broadly general. Non-answers, ultimately.

We thought some answers might be forthcoming after the committee met (behind closed doors) with the “Gang of Six,” a bipartisan group of Senators who earlier this year crafted a deficit reduction proposal. But again, all was vague and absent of specifics when questions were asked.

Now, at this late stage, the Super Committee’s lack of progress is raising alarm bells on the Hill, and around the country. Members of Congress – including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) – are calling for the Super Committee’s discussions to be conducted publicly.

Admittedly, the committee has had enormous numbers of recommendations to consider: it has received nearly 180,000 submissions from lawmakers, advocacy groups and ordinary Americans with suggestions on how to come up with $1.5 trillion in savings. Nonetheless, without any specifics as to the committee’s progress – any kind of progress – public confidence remains extremely low, and that only fosters growing suspicion toward a Congress with some of the lowest public approval ratings in the institution’s history.

Perhaps next week’s public meeting of the Super Committee– only the fourth such public meeting since convening in August – will reveal some clues as to what direction they are taking.

Turner GPA is a leading D.C.-based national lobbying and government affairs firm dedicated to delivering cutting edge policy advocacy for the manufacturing, defense, aerospace, and energy industries. Members of our professional policy team can be reached at (202) 466-2511. We are also on the Web at www.turnergpa.com.

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Two Surveys Say Washington To Blame More Than Wall Street

Posted on October 19, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

by Caren Z. Turner

Two new surveys conducted over this past weekend – The Hill poll, and a USA Today/Gallup poll – found that while many Americans feel Wall Street bears a considerable amount of blame for the country’s economic woes, a greater number of Americans blame Washington more.

The USA Today/Gallup poll found that while 78 percent of people surveyed said Wall Street deserves “a great deal” or a “fair amount” of blame for the poor economy, 87 percent said the same about Washington.

The Hill poll showed that 33% blame Wall Street, where 56% blame Washington.

Both surveys were conducted in light of the fast-growing phenomenon of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protests, an anti-capitalism, pro-equity populist movement which is now entering its second month of sustained demonstrations, and which has begun to spread to cities around the world.

The Hill Poll examined people’s views of the political implications of the OWS movement:

The split on the question of apportioning blame for the nation’s economic travails corresponds closely with voters’ political ideologies: More than 7 in 10 conservatives blamed Washington for the recession, while more than 5 in 10 liberals blamed Wall Street.

But self-identified centrists, importantly, appear to be siding with the right on economic issues, with nearly half blaming Washington for the recession.

The difference also reflected voters’ views of Obama: Among those who “strongly” or “somewhat” approve of the president, most blamed Wall Street, while those who “strongly” or “somewhat” disapprove of the president blamed Washington.

Interestingly, those who described themselves as “not sure” about Obama nonetheless blamed Wall Street over Washington by a more than two-to-one margin, 55 percent to 23 percent.

Both polls indicated that while most Americans are paying attention to the OWS protests, most don’t know enough about it or its objectives to offer an informed pro or con opinion.

Yet the OWS movement nonetheless has struck a distinct chord among Americans regardless of whether they support it, don’t support it, or are unsure. Why?

The answer perhaps goes back to a piece we wrote a couple weeks ago titled “Washington, China, Wall Street: No Fix And All Blame Over The U.S. Economy,” where we mentioned that the OWS movement is “symptomatic of the extreme frustration and anger circulating within the country which is inhibiting the clear and rational vision that is critically needed in order to cure the nation’s economic pain.”

The OWS movement is an embodiment of the collective national frustration. While it clearly has political and economic complaints, it does not – unlike the Tea Party, which is essentially a subset of the Republican party – have any partisan political identity or definitive agenda. It is a fluid, populist forum which defies both politics and big business, and is unmarried to either.

And amazingly, with the exception of scattered and isolated incidents, it is markedly and pervasively non-violent. Which ultimately demonstrates discipline, and therefore order.

And it is this structure from the seeming chaos that doubtless is what has generated such intense national interest: for all its perceived disorder, OWS nonetheless embodies what is so dreadfully absent in our own government.

Turner GPA is a leading D.C.-based national lobbying and government affairs firm dedicated to delivering cutting edge policy advocacy for the manufacturing, defense, aerospace, health, and energy industries. Members of our professional policy team can be reached at (202) 466-2511. We are also on the Web at www.turnergpa.com.

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Obama Scores A Victory As Congress Approves Free Trade Agreements

Posted on October 14, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

by Caren Z. Turner

The House and Senate yesterday soundly approved free-trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, handing President Obama a rare legislative victory. Among the three trade agreements, the South Korea agreement is the most significant to be approved by Congress since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico in 1994. It is expected to boost U.S. exports by more than $12 billion, and could potentially create as many as 280,000 American jobs, according to a recent assessment by the staff of the U.S. International Trade Commission.

With the agreements now ratified by both chambers of Congress, they will be sent to President Obama to be signed. The timing is rather apropos: South Korean President Lee Myung-bak is visiting the White House today, and will address a joint session of Congress this afternoon.

“I look forward to signing these agreements, which will help achieve my goal of doubling American exports and keeping America competitive in the 21st century,” Obama said in a statement late yesterday. “Tonight’s vote, with bipartisan support, will significantly boost exports that bear the proud label ‘Made in America,’ support tens of thousands of good-paying American jobs and protect labor rights, the environment and intellectual property.”

The free-trade agreements were negotiated by President George W. Bush, but stalled in legislative process for the past few years due to opposition from Democrats and labor organizations who believed the deals would be bad for American workers. The White House finally submitted the trade agreements to Congress after agreeing to include the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program, which softens the blow on increased imports by offering retraining and temporary income support to workers who lose their jobs as a result of the trade deals.

The trade agreements received broad Republican support, and divided Democratic support.

“Tonight’s vote is good for our country, it’s good for our countries, but it’s also good for America’s role in the world because it shows the United States Congress can move forward on these issues,” said Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), who negotiated the deals under the Bush administration. “I think this will send a positive message around the world that the United States wants to be engaged and involved in trade.”

“This is just long overdue,” said House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) on the House floor before the vote. “This creates jobs.”

“I am totally opposed to agreements that trade good American jobs for no jobs, and I have yet to see a free trade bill that is a fair trade bill,” said Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), who voted no on all three deals.

House Ways and Means Committee ranking member Sandy Levin (D-MI) strongly supported the South Korea deal and argued several times that it would be a win for U.S. auto makers.

“This is a jobs bill,” Levin said. “We have to be able to compete, and our auto industry can now compete.”

The vote tally was as follows:

South Korea Agreement ….. HOUSE: 278-151 / SENATE: 83-15

Colombia Agreement ….. HOUSE: 262-167 / SENATE: 66-33

Panama Agreement ….. HOUSE: 300-129 / SENATE: 77-22

Turner GPA is one of the premier, highly respected government and public affairs firms in the nation. Turner’s state-of-the-art advocacy has earned them respect and acclaim from the media, clients, policymakers and even their competitors! Turner advocates on behalf of cutting edge businesses, municipalities, and non-profits that wish to ensure their perspectives and needs are taken into account in Washington, in state capitols and in City Hall, as well as in the media. The firm creates and implements intensely focused and targeted advocacy campaigns designed to meet and exceed its client’s expectations and goals. For more information on Turner GPA, visit http://www.turnergpa.comor call 202-466-2511.

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Senate Kills Obama Jobs Bill

Posted on October 13, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

by Caren Z. Turner

The President’s jobs bill died in the Senate Tuesday night in a 50-49 vote, just ten votes shy of the 60 needed to break a Republican filibuster. The President blasted Senate Republicans for not supporting the legislation.

“[E]ven though this bill contains the kind of proposals Republicans have supported in the past, their party obstructed the Senate from moving forward on this jobs bill,” Obama said.

Key to Republican opposition to the jobs bill was a provision inserted by Senate Democrats which would impose a 5.6 percent surtax on millionaires in order to pay for the measure. Democrats accuse Republicans of blocking the bill in an effort to deny the President a victory and to protect millionaires at the expense of the rest of the nation.

“Folks should ask their senators, why would you consider voting against putting teachers and police officers back to work?” President Obama said in a speech Tuesday in Pittsburgh. “Ask them what’s wrong with having folks who have made millions or billions of dollars to pay a little more.”

Tuesday’s Senate vote essentially ended the bill’s legislative life, though it is likely that separate pieces of legislation containing specific components of the bill will be drafted and considered, an approach supported by Democrats. The President indicated his administration will work with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to get votes on those separate measures “as soon as possible.”

“Tonight’s vote is by no means the end of this fight,” the President also stated. “Independent economists have said that the American Jobs Act would grow the economy and lead to nearly two million jobs, which is why the majority of the American people support these bipartisan, common-sense proposals.”

A CNN.com analysis of the politics of the jobs bill issue is worth noting:

“It’s pathetic but not unexpected. This is really what we’ve come to expect from this divided Congress,” said John Avlon, an independent and CNN political contributor. “What’s especially frustrating to folks who view this with a sense of historic perspective is that we’ve had divided governments that worked fairly well before. But I think the unfortunate hyper-partisanship is clearly affecting our ability to work together.”

Avlon said the Democrats’ adage that the Republican Party is the “party of no” is not just a slogan anymore; it’s become reality.

“Republicans accusing (Democrats) of playing politics ought to look in the mirror if they are simply voting against things because they come from the president,” Avlon said. “I think you’re playing with a little bit of political dynamite if you think obstructionism will be good politics in the face of this economy.”

Garry Jacobson, a political science professor at the University of California, San Diego, said that what Republicans are doing is “pretty transparent.”

“They have no incentive to actually decrease unemployment before the next election. They certainly look like they are trying to obstruct job formation,” he said. “If the economy is still around 9% a year from now, it’s good for them. The incentives for obstruction are strong. The incentives for doing anything that actually might reduce unemployment are pretty weak.”

Turner GPA is one of the premier, highly respected government and public affairs firms in the nation. Turner’s state-of-the-art advocacy has earned them respect and acclaim from the media, clients, policymakers and even their competitors! Turner advocates on behalf of cutting edge businesses, municipalities, and non-profits that wish to ensure their perspectives and needs are taken into account in Washington, in state capitols and in City Hall, as well as in the media. The firm creates and implements intensely focused and targeted advocacy campaigns designed to meet and exceed its client’s expectations and goals. For more information on Turner GPA, visit http://www.turnergpa.com or call 202-466-2511.

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Religion In Politics: Why The Attacks On Mitt Romney And His Faith Matter

Posted on October 12, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

by Caren Z. Turner

If people think religion – or, perhaps more accurately, the discussion of religion – has no place in American politics, think again.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

It’s no mistake that the very first sentence of the Constitution’s first amendment– which directly speaks to how we employ the political process in a free republic – pertains to religion. It has been a constant thread in the fabric of our history as a nation, and continues to embody an ever-present friction which, albeit uncomfortable, has the necessary effect of keeping us grounded to core constitutional principles.

This is why the recent controversy sparked by Texas mega-church pastor Robert Jeffress’ divisive remarks about Mitt Romney’s
Mormon religion
matters: it sparked a national conversation on common constitutional philosophy and how it informs us on matters of freedom, equality, tolerance, and the limitation of government power.

But in terms of policy, does a potential president’s religion actually matter? Well, that depends on what voter you ask. Constitutionally, it doesn’t matter (see Article 6, last sentence). However – and this is critical – a candidate’s values and personal philosophy, inasmuch as they influence her or his approach to policy and governing, is vitally important to voters. And as our history bears out, we can expect that an individual’s values are more than likely rooted in the religion – or non-religion – of which they are adherents. As such, voters want to be informed.

But, although candidates like Republican Jon Huntsman – a Mormon himself – believe the controversy over Romney’s religion is “the most ridiculous sideshow in recent politics,” the discussion of religion in the political arena also reveals candidates’ attitudes toward constitutional principles. There is perhaps no better example than John F. Kennedy, whose Catholic religion was controversial in his candidacy in 1960. In a major speech he gave that same year at the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, he boldly said the following:

[B]ecause I am a Catholic, and no Catholic has ever been elected president, the real issues in this campaign have been obscured — perhaps deliberately, in some quarters less responsible than this. So it is apparently necessary for me to state once again not what kind of church I believe in — for that should be important only to me — but what kind of America I believe in.

I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish; where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials; and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.

For while this year it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of suspicion is pointed, in other years it has been, and may someday be again, a Jew— or a Quaker or a Unitarian or a Baptist. It was Virginia’s harassment of Baptist preachers, for example, that helped lead to Jefferson’s statute of religious freedom. Today I may be the victim, but tomorrow it may be you — until the whole fabric of our harmonious society is ripped at a time of great national peril.

In light of bringing a candidate’s principles to the fore over the subject of religion, it is worth noting Mitt Romney’s response to criticism about his religion when he spoke at this weekend’s Values Voters Summit:

[Romney responded to remarks made by] Bryan Fischer, a director at the American Family Association, who was slated to speak directly after the candidate took the stage Saturday.

Fischer has claimed that Mormons and Muslims have “a completely different definition of who Christ is” than the founding fathers did, and do not deserve First Amendment protections as a consequence.

Without naming Fischer, Romney said those comments are out of bounds.

“One of the speakers who will follow me today, has crossed that line,” Romney said. “Poisonous language does not advance our cause. It has never softened a single heart nor changed a single mind. The blessings of faith carry the responsibility of civil and respectful debate.”

He added, “The task before us is to focus on the conservative beliefs and the values that unite us – let no agenda narrow our vision or drive us apart.”

Romney – regardless of whether you support or don’t support him – as the candidate being directly targeted because of his religion, has an opportunity to learn from Kennedy’s speech in 1960, and even from then-candidate Obama’s speech on race in Philadelphia in 2008, and deliver a major address on religion and politics which expands upon the brief statement he made this weekend.

It is ignorance to dismiss religion as unimportant in the political arena, considering it is a subject of immense relevance and significance in our society. And when candidates shy away from responding substantively and competently on the matter – such as Herman Cain, Michelle Bachmann, and others in the GOP lineup– they do a tremendous injustice, not only to their own candidacies, but also to the abiding value of such discourse and the healthy tension it creates.

Turner GPA is one of the premier, highly respected government and public affairs firms in the nation. Turner’s state-of-the-art advocacy has earned them respect and acclaim from the media, clients, policymakers and even their competitors! Turner advocates on behalf of cutting edge businesses, municipalities, and non-profits that wish to ensure their perspectives and needs are taken into account in Washington, in state capitols and in City Hall, as well as in the media. The firm creates and implements intensely focused and targeted advocacy campaigns designed to meet and exceed its client’s expectations and goals. For more information on Turner GPA, visit www.turnergpa.com or call 202-466-2511.

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Washington, China, Wall Street: No Fix And All Blame Over The U.S. Economy

Posted on October 7, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

by Caren Z. Turner

President Obama’s jobs bill. The deficit Super Committee. Congressional posturing over a Balanced Budget Amendment. An anti-China currency manipulation Senate bill. Mass populist protests nationwide against banks and big business.

All of these things point to a number of related systemic failures: the economy, the business and financial sector, and of course government.

And there’s plenty of blame to go around: Democrats and Republicans blame one another. Consumers and lawmakers blame banks and big business. Some are even blaming China.
Unfortunately, blame does not a solution make. And so far it seems no viable solutions are being either presented or supported.

Jobs Bill?

Is the President’s jobs bill a solution? Not at the moment. It so far doesn’t have enough Democratic support to pass the Congress, and Senate Democrats are rewriting portions of the bill by adding a 5.6 percent tax on income above $1 million. Furthermore, Senate Republicans attempted to politically capitalize on the lack of Democratic support for the bill by calling
for an immediate vote on the jobs bill Wednesday
. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) blocked the vote. At present, it only appears to be useful to lawmakers as a political trampoline.

Super Committee?

What about the deficit Super Committee? The fact is still don’t know what it’s going to come up with per its mandate to create a plan to cut more than $1.1 trillion in spending over the next decade. The committee, which has been conducting many of its meetings in secret, must agree to a final proposal by November 23 in order to get a bill through both chambers of Congress so that it can be signed by President Obama by December 23. If the committee fails to agree to a proposal, or if Congress fails to pass whatever proposal the committee does come up with, it would trigger automatic cuts in defense and non-defense spending. And while President Obama is urging the Super Committee to cut more than $1.5 trillion in spending, Senate Republicans have already said they expect the committee will fail its mandate.

Balanced Budget Amendment?

What about a Balanced Budget Amendment? There is an almost even divide of support versus opposition for it, and largely by party line. Unfortunately, House Republicans who support a BBA as a constitutional mechanism to control spending are can’t seem to figure out which political strategy will work best for them in terms of what version of the BBA amendment they want to adopt so as to give them the foremost advantage for the 2012 campaign and elections.

S.1619?

What about S.1619, the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act of 2011 that the Senate considered yesterday and which is designed to pressure China to stop undervaluing its currency?

“It’s probably not going anywhere. … The China currency bill is highly unlikely to pass,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), referring to the likelihood that the bill, even though it has broad bipartisan support in the Senate, will not make it through the House, where Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) opposes it.

“It’s a pretty dangerous thing to be moving legislation through the U.S. Congress forcing someone to deal with the value of a currency,” Boehner said on Tuesday.

Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) in a floor speech yesterday criticized Democrats for pushing the measure in light of the fact that President Obama has been pressuring lawmakers to drop the bill.

“I worry we are diverting the Senate’s time from the big game which is the joint-committee and its work on reducing the deficit,” said Kirk, noting that the Senate shouldn’t even be considering a bill that has little likelihood of passing the House or being signed into law by the President. “I have heard the president of the United States has called senators asking this bill not come up.”

Many believe the measure, which would impose tariffs on Chinese imports as a means of penalizing China for manipulating its currency so as to artificially achieve a trade advantage, would start a trade war with China at a time when our economy is already struggling. Others say the measure is needed because Chinese currency manipulation has cost American jobs.

Blame Wall Street?

What about the “Occupy Wall Street” protest movement? Since it started on September 17, it has expanded exponentially around the country, gaining swift and immense popularity with demonstrators protesting the country’s economic conditions and the role of banks and big business in facilitating the financial woes of millions of Americans. As of yesterday, several unions – including the AFL-CIO – as well as lawmakers have come to the support of the movement, hundreds of whose participants were arrested this week in New York.

No Fix and All Blame = Zero Solutions

The government gridlock, the ravenous political posturing, and the impulse to assign blame to foreign entities and domestic business are all symptomatic of the extreme frustration and anger circulating within the country which is inhibiting the clear and rational vision that is critically needed in order to cure the nation’s economic pain.

We do not yet see an end to it. And so the pain will only continue to increase.

Turner GPA is one of the premier, highly respected government and public affairs firms in the nation. Turner’s state-of-the-art advocacy has earned them respect and acclaim from the media, clients, policymakers and even their competitors! Turner advocates on behalf of cutting edge businesses, municipalities, and non-profits that wish to ensure their perspectives and needs are taken into account in Washington, in state capitols and in City Hall, as well as in the media. The firm creates and implements intensely focused and targeted advocacy campaigns designed to meet and exceed its client’s expectations and goals. For more information on Turner GPA, visit www.turnergpa.com or call 202-466-2511.

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Congress Abdicates Their Authority

Posted on October 5, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

By Caren Turner

Just two hours ago, President Barack Obama signed the “Continuing Resolution Act 2012”. This Act will keep the government open and functioning for the next 43 days – until November 18, 2012. Yes… just 43 more days.

What does that mean??? To us, it means that governing and budgeting 45 days at a time is shameful. The 535 Members of Congress have, again, walked away from their responsibility of passing a budget for the United States. Similarly, we are concerned that the new Super Committee has left 523 Members of Congress with little to do to impact the direction of the nation. These 523 Members are also forced into abdicating much of their power and authority. I don’t think they signed up for this!

SUPER COMMITTEE
Meanwhile, the Super Committee lobbying has increased to a frenzied pace. The Defense community, particularly the Secretary of Defense, is concerned that if the Super Committee fails to reach resolution, an additional $600 billion cuts to defense will leave the US militarily vulnerable. We want to stress that these potential cuts not only impact profits of the “big boys”… it is already resulting in layoffs of union employees who work on military platforms.

JOBS BILL
What about the jobs bill you’ve asked? Well, the President simply does not have the votes. Not even from the Democrats in the Senate. Seizing on the opportunity, Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urged that the President’s bill come up for a vote NOW. It is the Democrats who do not want the bill to come to a vote.

Please call (202) 466-2511 if you have any questions re: how to navigate this terrain.
Caren Z. Turner

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Defense-Related Companies Go On Offensive to Blunt Hill’s Budget Cutting Ax

Posted on October 4, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

By Carl Chancellor

When you’ve been charged with finding more than $1trillion in federal budget savings, as the so-called congressional Super Committee has, there can’t be any sacred cows.

Lawmakers looking to reign in spending to bring down the staggering national debt have targeted federal agency budgets across the board including the Pentagon. The House Super Committee, which includes six Republicans and six Democrats, is looking to identify something north of $1.2 trillion in spending cuts. Should the Super Committee fail in its mission and miss its Nov. 23 deadline, or if Congress turns thumbs down to the committee’s plan, automatic cuts of $1.2 trillion would be triggered, with half of that amount, $600 billion, coming from defense spending.

The defense and aerospace industry is aimed at protecting their federal funding. Last month the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), a trade association representing both large and small defense department suppliers, launched a lobbying campaign dubbed “Second to None” that aims to protect military and national security spending by highlighting the possible negative impacts of massive defense spending cuts.

According to the AIA website—“American leadership in aerospace and defense is being threatened by forces in Congress and the administration…The security of our troops, our technological future and our economic stability are all at risk. We must preserve jobs across the nation that keep our nation strong.” The group estimates that the aerospace and defense industry supports more than 2.9 million American jobs.

The AIA claims that significant additional reductions beyond the 10-year $350 billion in defense cuts already agreed to in this summer’s deficit reduction deal, would have a devastating impact on the country’s defense industry.

Reducing defense spending, however, doesn’t mean the cuts will fall solely on the Department of Defense but would also include cuts to the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Veteran Affairs and the Department of Energy.

Still, the AIA is busily cautioning lawmakers, specifically the Super Committee, to be extremely careful when it comes to targeting programs to meet their $1 trillion-plus goal. Those efforts shifted into overdrive in mid-September during National Aerospace Week as the industry hosted a series of Hill luncheons, meetings and exhibits to drive home the message that cutting the defense budget too deeply puts the country’s economic strength and national security at risk.

“Our message to the administration and Congress is slow down,” said AIA President and CEO Marion Blakey in a press release. She went on to stress that defense has been “cut to the bone” and that any further reduction would be catastrophic.

“Now more than ever we need the technologies and programs developed and manufactured by the industry to keep Americans at home and abroad safe, fix our aviation infrastructure and keep the United States a leader in space,” said Blakey.

Turner GPA is one of the premier, highly respected government and public affairs firms in the nation. Turner’s state-of-the-art advocacy has earned them respect and acclaim from the media, clients, policymakers and even their competitors! Turner advocates on behalf of cutting edge businesses, municipalities, and non-profits that wish to ensure their perspectives and needs are taken into account in Washington, in state capitols and in City Hall, as well as in the media. The firm creates and implements intensely focused and targeted advocacy campaigns designed to meet and exceed its client’s expectations and goals. For more information on Turner GPA, visit http://www.turnergpa.com or call 202-466-2511.

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Obama’s Class Act

Posted on October 4, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

By Scott Orr

When President Obama unveiled his plan to reduce the deficit by raising taxes on the rich, it didn’t take Republicans long to accuse him of pursuing an electoral strategy of pitting one group of Americans against another.

This is called “class warfare,” they said.

“Class warfare … may make for really good politics, but it makes for rotten economics,” Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., chairman of the House Budget Committee,  said on “Fox News Sunday”.

Obama’s plan would end the Bush tax cuts for couples making more than $250,000 a year and bring back the old top tax rate of 39 percent, which had been lowered to 35 percent. And, of course, it includes the so-called “Buffett rule” to ensure that millionaires pay at least the same effective tax rate as middle-class Americans.

It’s the plan’s reliance on tax hikes on the rich that have prompted Republicans to accuse the President of trying to shore up his base by dividing the country along class, or income, lines. Obama attempted to dodge the class warfare accusation even as he unveiled his new plan.
“I reject the idea that asking a hedge fund manager to pay the same tax rate as a plumber or a teacher is class warfare. I think it’s just the right the thing to do….This is not class warfare. It’s math,” Obama said.

Meanwhile, three independent polls issued since Obama unveiled his plan suggest that the American people disagree with the GOP on this one.

According to a Gallup poll issued in late September, 66 percent of all Americans favor the idea of raising taxes on couples that earn more than $250,000 per year. The same poll showed 70 percent of Americans favored raising taxes on corporations by ending certain deductions.

Then there was a Fox News poll that asked this loaded question: Do you think Barack Obama’s political strategy for reelection is designed to bring people together with a hopeful message, or drive people apart with a partisan message?

Surprisingly, 56 percent said bring people together while only 32 percent said drive people apart.

Finally, a Washington Post poll found only 29 percent believe that Obama is doing more to help the “have nots” than to help the “haves,” while 45 percent, say he’s treating both equally. A 47 percent plurality said Republicans are doing more to help the “haves.”

Though not blatantly partisan, the anti-Wall Street protests that have spread from New York to other U.S. cities might give another indication of an American public that wants the rich to shoulder its share of the tax burden.

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