Archive for January, 2012
Thursday, Feb. 2
Congressman Manzullo discusses Manufacturing in America:
Workforce Training (Skills Gap in Manufacturing)
Export Control Reform
Energy Independence: How to get there
Corporate Tax Rate
Congressman Manzullo (R-IL) is continuing his mission to strengthen manufacturing in America. Manzullo serves on the House Financial Services and Foreign Affairs Committees. As Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, he is focusing his efforts on increasing export opportunities for American business owners while pressuring China and other Asian nations to play by the rules of fair trade.
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 at www.turnergpa.com.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
At the recommendation of the State Department, the Obama administration rejected the application of TransCanada Corp to build the Keystone XL on Wednesday. In November, the State Department had tried to postpone the deadline for a decision until after the 2012 elections, citing the need for further study. However, In December, the GOP won passage of legislation that required U.S. President Barack Obama to make a decision on the pipeline within 60 days.
President Obama stated that “the rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment”.
An early decision on the pipeline could have helped President Obama get ahead of the story before Thursday’s Republican debate in SC and next Tuesday’s State of the Union address.
The Administration could potentially have deflected blame if there is a significant increase in gasoline prices in the next few months. A significant jump in gasoline prices was anticipated this summer anyway, even before the problems with the Iran embargo began. The Administration is, understandably, very concerned about the potential for high gas prices to hurt their re-election effort.
The State Department further clarified that the book isn’t closed on this deal in a statement; “denial of the permit application does not preclude any subsequent permit application or applications for similar projects.” While disappointed with the outcome, TransCanada’s CEO, Russ Girling, remains committed to the construction of the Keystone XL and plans to complete a proposal for a new pipeline route by September or October.
The Washington Post provides a good summary of reasons as to why this decision will be a non-issue for re-election of the Administration.
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.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )
By Caren Z. Turner
Ahh, democracy in action. We never worry about lobbyists’ undue influence of Congress or the Administration. We’ve been through too many legislative battles on Capitol Hill to fear “special interests”. In fact, as any of us inside the Beltway know, for every special interest in favor of a measure, like Sir Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
So we move to the battle of SOPA and PIPA. As noted in Politico, “If you think SOPA sounds like Mexican soup and PIPA is the fetching sister of a certain princess, you can be excused for wondering why Wikipedia, Reddit and thousands of other websites are blacking out in protest Wednesday.” You may also wonder why Anonymous has threatened the likes Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian, and Taylor Swift. They are just some of the celebrities who endorse SOPA.
Here is a primer of what is going on. Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is the House bill H.R. 3261. Protect IP Act (PIPA) is the Senate bill S. 968. The legislative goals are worthy, in our opinion. Major supporters are the US Chamber of Commerce, the music industry (RIAA), Hollywood and the movie industry (Motion Picture Association), along with big pharma (stop counterfeit drug sales) and luxury goods manufacturers (get rid of the internet luxury knockoffs). Their aim is to stop what is reported to be $130 billion in lost sales from online clicks on pirated websites, unlawful copies of movies and recording artists’ work. Strange bedfellows indeed!
On the other side of the fight is Silicon Valley including Google, Ebay, Wikipedia, Craigslist, public interest groups such as Public Knowledge the Electronic Frontier Foundation and some First Amendment Constitutional law professors, such as the well-known, Harvard Law Professor, Lawrence Tribe (yes, he DID write the book). Here is their beef; according to the bills, the legislation will allow either the Department of Justice or a private entity to seek judicial review and assessment of potential online piracy. A judge may then order an Internet Service Provider to cut access to an “offending” website. In addition, search engines may be ordered to delete “offending” links. Doesn’t sound too bad. However, when you think about it, this gives the Department of Justice (DOJ) unprecedented powers to shut down websites, even for political reasons. It also gives commercial entities a new legal hammer to cripple their competitors through the courts.
The Senate vote is slated for January 24th. The President is stuck in a tug of war with Silicon Valley and Hollywood, each pulling him in a different direction. Darrell Issa (R-CA) is slated to introduce his own new version, “Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade (OPEN)” today.
And you thought this would be easy?? HAH! That is the week’s big lobbyist battle!
Have a great day!
For a funny and accurate explanation of the “independence” of super PACs please have a look at Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert on Tuesday, January 17, 2012.
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.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
By Caren Z. Turner
To some extent, the “Occupy” and “Tea Party” movements stem from the same route cause – a systemic diseased relationship with money. Our economic institutions and governmental systems have different strains of the disease, but disease nonetheless. The Occupy Movement seems to have developed as a response to Wall Street and the 1% hoarding it, possibly disregarding the rules of the game in order to acquire it. The Tea Party sprung up as a response to governmental spending of that which they don’t have. Both Tea Party Republicans and the Occupy folks probably agree that bailing out the largest banks in the nation is the wrong course of action.
This is all quite relevant now as Morgan Stanley Smith Barney’s value may have shriveled by 30%. Bank of America Corp. has told U.S. regulators that it is willing to retreat from some parts of the country if its financial problems deepen, according to people familiar with the situation. Finally, President Obama and the US Congress are having an encore performance of the debt ceiling dance. The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on Wednesday.
We, as a nation can only crystal ball what would have, could have, and might have happened, if we did not bail out our nation’s banks. However, the Washington Post today provides some insight into how the story might have ended a bit differently. It also provides us with some guidance regarding how we may consider our economic choices a bit differently than we have in the past. Enter Iceland!
Iceland is the “demonstration project” the US should study carefully. As noted in the Post, “Iceland did what the United States chose not to do — allow its biggest banks to fail and force foreign creditors to take a hike. It did what troubled European nations saddled with massive debts and tethered by the euro cannot do — allow its currency to remain weak, causing inflation but making its exports more desirable and its prices more attractive to tourists”.
While the Icelandic krona lost more than half its value against other currencies, the government was kicked out of office; the nation with over 99 percent literacy rates is quickly on the mend. Far more quickly than its counterparts in Italy, Greece and yes, even the US.
“Iceland’s journey from financial ruin to fledgling recovery is a case study in roads not taken and choices not made by other countries faced with economic calamity in recent years”.
Having recently returned from a wonderful (and bargain basement priced) trip to Iceland, I can tell you first hand that the streets ARE brimming with thriving restaurants, tourists and Blue Lagoon expeditions.
Maybe the US should take a look at our Viking founders for some economic lessons too? What do you think??
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.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
By Scott Orr
“Our nation is at a moment of transition,” President Obama wrote in introducing his Pentagon budget plan for the coming fiscal year.
The transition the president referred to had to do with the winding down of U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and the move toward a leaner defense budget. But it also could have referred to an economic transition that will surely follow as the impacts of his planned defense cuts trickle down to contractors, sub-contractors and ultimately, American workers.
“We must put our fiscal house in order here at home and renew our long-term economic strength. To that end, the Budget Control Act of 2011 mandates reductions in federal spending, including defense spending,” Obama wrote.
The plan calls for the Pentagon to cut spending by 10 percent over the next decade and the administration is seeking to move away from preparing for ground wars and toward special ops and advanced technologies. The Army and Marine Corps would shrink the most.
The Pentagon is expected to announce cuts in major weapons systems soon, including delays in Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet, one of the most costly weapons programs ever.
Even as Obama was readying his budget presentation, defense giant Boeing was apparently reading the writing on the wall, announcing it will shut down facilities in Wichita, a move that will cost more than 2,160 jobs and end the company’s generations-long presence in the area.
Protected under the plan are benefits for active and retired military personnel, funding to protect against attacks in cyberspace, and spending on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
Opponents argue that the administration’s cuts would leave the U.S. military ill-prepared to respond to unpredictable future threats while at the same time damaging a huge sector of the American economy.
Backers of cutting defense spending acknowledge it will cost some contractors their biggest customer and many jobs will be lost, but in the long-term it will be less painful than cuts in some other areas like education and transportation.
Once again, the nation is caught in the tug and sway of a timeless predicament: Everyone agrees the budget must be cut, but finding the least painful place for the axe to fall is the problem.
- Defense cuts could be only the beginning (cnn.com)