This Week in Washington…

Posted on November 2, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

TOP 5 STORIES THIS WEEK

  • Hurricane Sandy injected a storm-sized dose of volatility into an already unpredictable—and very tight—presidential race. Read  more
    Look Ahead: The storm’s aftermath could crimp Mitt Romney’s  postdebate momentum and President Obama’s early-voting operation, but its  full impact is unlikely to reveal itself before Election Day.
  • Obama approved fast-track funds for emergency relief in the areas most devastated by Hurricane Sandy, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency says it has enough cash on hand for now to adequately respond, Reuters reported.
    Look Ahead: Obama’s management of the crisis gave him the opportunity to appear presidential—one of the many benefits of incumbency. But it deprived him of valuable time on the campaign trail.
  • Gallup is predicting voter turnout this year will likely be lower than in 2004 and 2008.
    Look Ahead: Gallup’s polling was conducted before Hurricane Sandy hit, meaning the figures could be even lower than forecast.
  • It looks increasingly probable that control of Congress will be split for another two years, with Democrats poised to make some—but not nearly enough—gains in the House while clinging to control of the Senate, Roll Call reports.
    Look Ahead: The immediate fallout of continued divided control cuts directly to the lame-duck session, and how the prospect of another two years of gridlock could influence congressional treatment of the fiscal cliff.
  • While Obama’s response to Hurricane Sandy garnered high marks—a Washington Post poll gave him 78 percent approval—perhaps most notable were comments by Romney surrogate and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who called Obama’s efforts “outstanding.” Read more
    Look Ahead: Christie’s praise—and subsequent tour of the damage with Obama—turned more than a few heads and put the balance between politics and governance in stark relief.

WHITE HOUSE

  • Obama approved fast-track funds for emergency relief in the areas most devastated by Hurricane Sandy, and FEMA says it has enough cash on hand for now to adequately respond, Reuters reported. Read more
  • The White House is considering new middle-class tax cuts to replace expiring payroll-tax cuts, according to The Washington Post, though officials deny they are weighing the specific cuts described by The Post. Read more
  • E-mails released by the House Oversight Committee show that the White House was involved in discussions on a $400 million federal loan guarantee for the now-bankrupt Abound Solar, though the administration denies politics played a role. Read more
  • The administration’s $500 million green-jobs program is falling 84 percent short of its employment goal, according to a report by the Labor Department’s inspector general. Read more
  • The Keystone XL pipeline project advanced when the Nebraska agency vetting the proposed plan took a key step toward sending it to the State Department. Read more

CONGRESS

  • It looks increasingly probable that control of Congress will be split for another two years, with Democrats poised to make some—but not nearly enough—gains in the House while clinging to control of the Senate, Roll Call reports. Read more
  • Republicans will likely maintain control of the House due to a number of factors, including redistricting, Democratic retirements, and ethics problems. Read more
  • Indiana Republican Sen. Richard Lugar’s departure marks the end of a three-decade era for the Foreign Relations Committee. All eyes are now on Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., next in line to replace Lugar as the panel’s ranking member. Read more
  • Thanks to the Budget Control Act and a relatively light disaster year in 2012, Congress may not have to provide fresh funding for FEMA to pay for the Hurricane Sandy relief effort. Read more
  • A bipartisan  group of lawmakers from hard-hit Long Island, including Republican Peter  King and Democrat Steve Israel, urged House leaders to make Hurricane  relief a top priority when Congress returns. Read more
  • Graphic: The Hotline’s  latest Senate-race rankings. See them here.

POLITICS

  • Hurricane Sandy injected a storm-sized dose of volatility into an already unpredictable—and very tight—presidential race. Read more
  • Gallup is predicting that voter turnout this year will likely be lower than in 2004 and 2008. Read more
  • While Obama’s response to Sandy garnered high marks—a Washington Post poll gave him 78 percent approval—perhaps most notable were comments by Romney surrogate and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who called Obama’s efforts “outstanding.” Read more
  • A recent Romney ad suggesting Jeep is moving production to China has been heavily criticized by not only the Obama campaign, but by General Motors and Chrysler. Read more
  • Politicians decry the Federal Emergency Management Agency at their peril. Read more
  • A federal commission created to restore confidence in elections after the disputed 2000 race has no commissioners, no director and has lacked a quorum to conduct business for nearly two years, Roll Call reports. Read more

 BUDGET & ECONOMY

  • Economists downplayed the long-term effects of Hurricane Sandy, The New York Times reported, saying the cleanup after the storm could actually pump up growth temporarily. Read more
  • Disaster modeling company Eqecat estimates that the storm overall may have caused up to $20 billion in insured losses and $50 billion in economic losses. Read more
  • Rumors that Hurricane Sandy would delay the Labor Department’s release of monthly employment numbers on Friday were unfounded and the report should be delivered on schedule. Read more
  • Payroll processor ADP reported on Thursday that businesses added 158,000 jobs in October, according to The Wall Street Journal. The company recently revised its methodology. Read more
  • The Treasury Department said on Wednesday that it expects the U.S. government to reach the debt limit by the end of 2012, but that it can use “extraordinary measures” to push the actual date of potential default to early next year. Read more

ENERGY

  • Nine oil refineries in the northeast make up 8 percent of U.S. refining capacities in the U.S., and while nearly all were      impacted in some way by this week’s super-storm, only two remained closed as of Thursday, according to the Associated Press. Read more
  • British oil firm BP said this week that it may not reach a settlement with the U.S. over the massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Read more
  • There is a growing consensus among government types on the frequency of extreme weather, and that Congress should put into motion new federal measures to help gird for such events. Read more
  • The two senators who will head the Energy and Natural Resources Committee next year—Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska—are forging a friendly, Pacific Northwest-style alliance. Read more
  • Archer Daniels Midland, one of the world’s largest traders of agricultural commodities, reported annual earnings are down 60 percent, due in part to the summer’s drought. Read more

 FOREIGN AFFAIRS

  • Fighting continued in Syria on the final day of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, despite a United Nations-backed truce   that never seemed to take shape. Read  more
  • In a letter to President Obama, House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon, R-Calif., said he wants more answers on the  administration’s response to the terrorist attack in Libya that killed four Americans.
  • McKeon’s request comes on the heels of a  Republican assault on the Obama administration on Sunday over the handling of the attacks in Libya, with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., comparing the incident to Watergate. Read more
  • Afghanistan is set to hold its next presidential  election in April 2014, as the U.S. plans to withdraw its forces from the      country. Read more
  • Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton traveled to Algeria on Monday to coordinate support to address the growing   number of Islamic militants, including branches of al-Qaida, in northern  Mali, The New York Times reports. Read  more

HEALTH CARE

  • Romney has narrowed Obama’s lead on many health care issues, according to a Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, particularly on whom voters trust to better handle Medicare. Read more
  • Massachusetts shut down another compounding pharmacy on Sunday in connection with the national meningitis outbreak that has killed 29 people. Read more
  • The FDA announced that Ameridose, sister company to the New England Compounding Pharmacy implicated in the meningitis outbreak, will recall all of its sterile injectable products after a preliminary investigation raised questions. Read more
  • The Medicare Part D drug discounts that were part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act are working as intended to help seniors address the gap in benefits known as the “doughnut hole,” and have not increased the price of prescription drugs, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office. Read more
  • Blue Shield of California, a nonprofit health insurer, announced it will credit $50 million toward customers’ December premiums as part of a pledge to limit the company’s net income to 2 percent of revenue. Read more

FUTURE EVENTS

Friday, Nov. 2 — The Institute of Medicine will hold a workshop to gather feedback from stakeholders and the public on the development of SMART Vaccines decision-support software at 9:30 a.m. at the National Academy of Sciences Building, 2101 Constitution Ave. NW.

Friday, Nov. 2 — The Center for Strategic and International Studies will hold a discussion on its new report, “Global Health as a Bridge to Security,” at noon at 1800 K St. NW.

Friday, Nov. 2 — Obama will speak at Springfield High School in Springfield, Ohio, at 10:15 a.m. local time. Later, he will speak at Lima Senior High School in Lima, Ohio.

Friday, Nov. 2 — Assistant Treasury Secretary for Economic Policy Jan Eberly will hold a pen and pad briefing on October 2012 Employment Data and Economic Recovery at 10:30 a.m. at the Treasury Department, 1500 Pennsylvania Ave. NW.

Friday, Nov. 2 — The Institute for Policy Studies will hold a debrief and discussion with observers about what Venezuela’s October presidential elections mean for Venezuela, and for the United States, at 12:30 p.m. at 1112 16th St. NW.

Tuesday, Nov. 6 — Election Day. In Maryland and Washington, D.C., polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. In Virginia, polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.

 

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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