Archive for April, 2013

Hillary? Will She? Won’t She?

Posted on April 3, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

By Caren Z. Turner

CZT Bio Photo medium resizeThe tea leaves are more plentiful than falling leaves on a windy autumn day. Will “our girl” run? From public appearances with Terri McAuliffe, to chatter in DC parlors, (“she would call me if she DIDN’T want me to raise money for her PAC”), sightings at Union station (“Does she look healthy?”). We think she’ll run. Let us know what you think and would you support her?

South Carolina is the place to be tonight! Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford will be the Republican nominee after defeating former Charleston County Council member Curtis Bostic in a primary runoff on Tuesday for the state’s vacant 1st Congressional District seat. Indeed, South Carolina’s first district typically favors a Republican… any Republican to win the seat. However, now the traditionally RED Charleston seat is under contention. Elizabeth Colbert Busch, Director of Business Development at Clemson University’s Restoration Institute and sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, (also nominated by the South Carolina Working Families Party) is recently pulling ahead in the polls.

Brother Stephen is doing his part to help sister, Lulu.  With events planned in both New York and Washington D.C., we are betting on LULU. Do you agree?

Finally, the rumor mill is abuzz regarding who will clinch which ambassadorship. Caroline Kennedy and Marc Lasry are leading contenders for plumb spots. The price of an ambassadorship? Have a look at the NYT recent study.

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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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From Cyprus With Love

Posted on April 3, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

By Scott Orr

cyprus haircutThe Republic of Cyprus is a tiny island in the Mediterranean Sea, perhaps best known through history as the birth place of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of beauty, pleasure and love. But last week’s developments may have sent Americans to Wikipedia to learn more about one of the European Union’s smallest economies.

That’s because its economic woes could have Olympian impacts across the globe, including here in the United States.

Cyprus’ budget woes were so serious that the government proposed a so-called “hair cut,” the seizing of a percentage of the bank accounts of all Cypriots. Facing massive protests, the Central Bank in Nicosia later trained its sights on the rich, planning to scalp only those with savings in excess of 100,000 euros.

With the U.S. stock market booming, it’s hard to imagine a place as off the beaten path as Cyprus as an economic banana peel. But it could be.

Cyprus is the latest danger zone in the game of economic whack-a-mole known as the European financial crisis. And this is why such a small economy is so significant to American investors: It is symptomatic of the larger ills that are plaguing European states from the Mediterranean to the Baltic.

The U.S. economy has been recovering at a respectable pace, particularly over the last year during which relative economic stability has descended upon our friends in Europe. With signs of trouble’s return popping up in Cyprus, though, U.S. investors could become skittish, fearing a domino effect should the Cyprian economy fail. There already is talk that Slovenia and Luxembourg, two other small economies, could be next.

While economic forecasters are watching those two potential danger zones, they are really keeping their eyes on Italy, where economic and political concerns are combining into what could be a perfectly devastating storm.

Back home, the Obama administration is taking credit for a halting recovery and feeling empowered enough to focus, now, on other critical issues like immigration, guns and the environment. But more economic chaos could put an end to all that.

It seems like every recent summer has brought with it a new economic crisis in Europe and a new drag on the U.S. economy. Each time, the European economy has survived and the situation in Cyprus may evaporate as well.

But in a fragile economy where even signs of impending crisis can become crises themselves, the U.S. economy can ill afford another body blow. Especially one coming from the home of the goddess of love.

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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Is Debate Over Ethanol Fueling Bipartisanship?

Posted on April 3, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

By Carl Chancellor

EthanolCalls to “explore options,” to “seek input,” to “sit down together,” even to have “thoughtful hearings” coming from both a leading House Republican and Democrat related to the same issue — do voters dare believe their ears?

There seems that something as rare as a Big Foot sighting is taking place on the Hill — bipartisanship — a political phenomenon that is being fueled by ethanol. Specifically, it is the debate about ethanol — a biofuel made from corn and other crops that is blended with gasoline — and the controversial energy policy requiring that more ethanol be used in gasoline each year. Bipartisan alliances have coalesced on both sides of the issue. Democrat and Republican lawmakers representing corn-growing states and the biofuel industry support the five-year old federal mandate that requires an increasing ethanol quota for gasoline each year. Opposing the federal mandate and calling for the suspension of the renewable-fuels standard are Democrats and Republicans representing the interests of the meat and poultry industry, who claim the standards are driving up the cost of feed.

Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) are the top Republican and Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is responsible for recommending what to do about the controversial energy policy. Both men have openly expressed the need for thoughtful deliberation and, according to the National Journal, have already jointly released a series of white papers on the renewable-fuels mandate.

Those opposed to the ethanol standards argue that the quotas distort the grain market and making corn more expensive — especially when you factor in the devastating impact of the drought — for ranchers and poultry and hog farmers and ultimately driving up the cost of food. On the flip side there are the corn growers — who need the higher prices in light of poor crop yields thanks to the drought — and biofuel refiners, who note that ethanol is a clean-burning, renewable fuel that is helping to wean Americans off of foreign oil.

According to the New York Times the renewable fuel standard requires more than 14 billion gallons of ethanol to be blended with gasoline this year. At the same time gas and oil production in the United States has increased dramatically thereby lessening the importance of foreign oil.

This paced and deliberate approach — making time to consider the views of all stakeholders — being taken by Upton and Waxman clearly makes sense, particularly when so many interests are intertwined. Allowing affected parties to have the opportunity to voice their views and concerns directly to lawmakers is the way a government that serves all should work, must work, and works best.

Here, at Turner GPA, we seek out opportunities for our clients to speak directly to lawmakers and agency heads and when those opportunities arise, making sure our clients are best positioned and well prepared to make their case.

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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The Sequester & What the CR Means

Posted on April 3, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

By Scott Orr

100305-N-2953W-047The shutdown is averted, but the sequester lingers.

To prevent a government shutdown, the Congress turned to a “continuing resolution,” or CR, a commonly employed stopgap budget measure that keeps the government operating at existing funding levels when Congress fails to agree on a budget plan.

Lacking a real budget, the government would have run out of money a week ago. But while the CR staved off a possible government shutdown, it also kept in place the so-called sequester, the automatic budget cuts that began taking effect March 1.

The sequester and its forced spending cuts of $85 billion has been the subject of gloom and doom predictions from the Obama administration for weeks, but congressional Republicans paint a much rosier picture.

The bill moves dollars around to ensure that GOP priorities are fully funded, while other programs are cut back. At the Department of Homeland Security, for example, funding for the Transportation Safety Administration was cut by $349 million, the Secret Service by $54 million, and immigration and customs enforcement by $118 million.

At the same time, though, the measure increased funding for border protection by $215 million, cybersecurity by $314 million, and research and development by $167 million.

The CR, technically called the “Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013,” was approved by Congress and signed by the President last week. It extends existing funding levels through the end of the fiscal year Oct. 31.

Republicans were quick to hail passage of the CR as a validation of their budget cutting plans.

“This legislation provides funding for essential federal programs and services, it maintains our national security, and takes a potential government shutdown off the table,” House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said.

White House Spokesman Jay Carney said the administration will continue pressing congressional Republicans to replace the sequester with a scheme that balances cuts in spending with new revenue gathered largely through the elimination of tax loopholes for the wealthy. “The president has presented ways, on numerous occasions, to eliminate the sequester entirely,” Carney said.

Republicans, meanwhile, are showing no sign of wavering on the issue, especially since the sequester has yet to have measurable impacts on the economy. The pain, job cuts and concomitant drag on the economy could still be months off.

Meanwhile, the government is left to make do without a budget and with a lot less money.

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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