This Week In Washington…

Posted on June 17, 2015. Filed under: capitol hill, congress, federal register, federal regulations, law, lawyers, legal, lobbying, politics, washington | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

TOP STORIESIMG_3077

  • Two more candidates joined the race for the GOP presidential nomination, one expected, one not so much. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the son and brother of former presidents, surprised no one by declaring. A day later, billionaire Donald Trump made good on his many past threats and tossed his hat into the ringLooking Ahead: That brings the total number of Republican candidates to 12, two more than can participate in coming debates.
  • Senate Democrats are pushing the Republican majority to produce a long-term plan to finance building and repairing the nation’s highways and bridges. And they want it done within the next 45 days. Looking Ahead: The short term funding bill passed in May expires in July.
  • Could some 4 million victims of the latest hack of federal government data sue the government? It’s not easy, but it could be an option for current and former federal workers whose personal information was captured recently by Chinese hackers. Lawmakers blamed the breach on gross neglect by the Office of Personnel Management. Looking Ahead: The government is taking the breach seriously, offering victims identity theft insurance policies worth up to $1 million.
  • The House voted to extend existing trade legislation, giving President Obama and his unusual coalition made up mostly of Republicans more time to convince his own party members to back a stalled package of trade bills. The road ahead will hardly be easy for the president and his allies. Looking Ahead: GOP lawmakers are working on a new plan to pass the legislation.
  • It’s been 25 years since the very first electronic version of a Supreme Court decision was made public. It was a huge step, made possible only after the court was convinced that electronic distribution of opinions was the wave of the future. The National Law Journal looks back. Looking Ahead: Traffic on the SCOTUS website is likely to spike when it issues its decision in the Obamacare challenge

The Law: Proposed Rulemakings

Resources: A quick and easy way to get info fast:

  1. For more on federal government rulemaking, visit the Federal Register
  2. Want to follow the 2016 presidential sweepstakes? All the polling data you’ll need is a click away.
  3. Get the latest on the declared presidential candidates from their campaign websites: Democrat Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders and Republicans Ted CruzRand PaulMarco RubioMike HuckabeeCarly FiorinaBen CarsonRick SantorumGeorge PatakiRick PerryLindsey GrahamJeb Bush and Donald Trump

Follow Caren Z. Turner @ https://twitter.com/CarenZTurner

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This Week in Washington…

Posted on August 8, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

TOP FIVE STORIES THIS WEEK

  • President Obama continued his cross-country speaking tour this week with a stop in Phoenix, where he endorsed bipartisan congressional efforts to wind down government-backed mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, The New York Times reported. Read more
    Look ahead: The president is set to elaborate further on his economic policy proposals; the White House indicates that he will address education, health care, retirement security and “ladders of opportunity.” Read more
  • The State Department this week shuttered 19 embassies and consulates in the Middle East and North Africa until Saturday and issued a travel alert for Americans in the regions, The New York Times reported. Read more
    Look ahead: If al-Qaida’s objective was to sow fear and disrupt U.S. operations, then its threat is already a success, National Journal‘s Sara Sorcher writes. Read more
  • The White House this week canceled a bilateral summit between President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin that had been scheduled to take place in Moscow in September, The New York Times reported. Read more
    Look ahead: Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel are scheduled to meet Friday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. Read more
  • The Justice Department has filed murder charges against Libyan militia leader Ahmed Abu Khattala in connection with the attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi last year, CNN reported. Read more
    Look ahead: The department has filed sealed criminal charges against an unspecified number of individuals, The Wall Street Journal reported. Read more
  • Egyptian acting President Adly Mansour’s office released a statement this week declaring that foreign efforts to mitigate political turmoil in the country have failed, Reuters reported. Read more
    Look ahead: Egyptian leaders said that crackdowns against two Cairo protest sites are inevitable.

WHITE HOUSE

  • Citing inadequate progress on the “bilateral agenda,” the White House on Wednesday announced President Obama will not attend a planned September summit meeting in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin, The New York Times reported. Read more
  • President Obama spoke this week in Phoenix, where he touted the virtues of homeownership and backed congressional efforts to unwind government mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, The New York Times reported. Read more
  • Obama wrapped up his two-day Western tour Wednesday with a visit to Camp Pendleton in California, meeting with service members and their families at the Marine Corps base.
  • Obama took part in an online question-and-answer session on the housing market Wednesday with real-estate website Zillow, CNN Money reported. Read more
  • White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday that while “chatter” about potential threats led the State Department to shutter 19 embassies and consulates across Asia and North Africa, the core of the terrorist network has been “greatly diminished,” The Hill reported. Read more
  • The lofty goals Obama touted in his State of the Union address in January are going largely unaddressed six months later, The Hill reported. Read more
  • President Obama turned 52 Sunday, celebrating on the eve of his birthday with a golf outing at Joint Base Andrews that featured three foursomes, including White House aides and the president’s friends from Hawaii and Chicago. Read more
  • Sylvia Mathews Burwell, director of the Office of Management and Budget, on Thursday cited budgetary disagreements among congressional Republicans as cause for optimism on looming fiscal talks, The Wall Street Journal reported. Read more
  • President Obama appeared this week on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, where he discussed a range of subjects including terrorism, his relationship with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Russia. Read more
  • Former President George W. Bush, 67, was released from the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas Wednesday, after having a stent inserted during heart surgery on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported. Read more

CONGRESS

  • House Republicans are working on new food-stamp legislation that would cut $40 billion from the program over 10 years, The Hill reported. Read more
  • Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa., said Friday that the committee will mark up the Water Resources Reform and Development Act in September, National Journal‘s Fawn Johnson reported. Read more
  • Need any more evidence that tax reform is the longest of long shots this fall? Well, look no further than Dave Camp’s decision to consider a run for Michigan’s open Senate seat, National Journal‘s Nancy Cook reported. Read more
  • Legislation to change the way the military justice system handles sexual-assault cases faces some very long odds, National Journal‘s Stacy Kaper reported. Read more
  • Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., would consider the “nuclear option” to end filibusters for nominations to Circuit Courts, Roll Call reported. Read more
  • Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., sounded a positive note during an interview with CNN on the House’s immigration-reform efforts, saying that things are headed in the “right direction,” The Hill reported. Read more

POLITICS

  • Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., announced his long-expected challenge to Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., National Journal‘s Alex Roarty reported. Read more
  • Former Vice President Dick Cheney is mentioned once—briefly—as “Liz’s dad,” in Liz Cheney’s biography on her campaign website, National Journal‘s Beth Reinhard reported. It reflects the backseat role he’s taking in his daughter’s bid to defeat three-term Sen. Michael Enzi, R-Wyo., in the 2014 Republican primary. Read more
  • Businesswoman Nancy Mace announced Saturday that she will challenge Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., in June’s GOP primary, the Charleston Post and Courier reported. Read more
  • The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will target 17 House Republicans during the August recess, Roll Call reported. Read more
  • The Club for Growth PAC backed Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., in his Senate bid and released a television ad against Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., Roll Call reported. Read more
  • Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., said Wednesday that he will seek reelection next year, Tulsa-based radio station KRMG reported. Read more
  • Organizing for Action is considering supporting Michelle Nunn, a Democrat running for the Senate in Georgia, Politico reported. The group has also spoken with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee about promoting Democratic candidates in 2014, an official said. Read more

BUDGET & ECONOMY

  • Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher said Monday that there are people being considered as a possible successor to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke whose names are not being floated by the media, Bloomberg reported. Read more
  • Federal Election Commission Vice Chairman Don McGahn said Monday that a number of undisclosed e-mails between FEC employees and the Internal Revenue Service raise questions about improper contact between the two federal agencies in connection with efforts to target conservative political groups, CNN reported. Read more
  • The Commerce Department announced Tuesday that the U.S. trade gap is the lowest it has been in more than three and a half years, Reuters reported. Read more
  • Defying conventional wisdom, a new study out finds that the 55-to-64 demographic has become the most likely group to buy a new car, suggesting the auto industry would get more bang for their buck targeting aging baby boomers instead of their economically noncommittal children, Bloomberg reported. Read more
  • The FBI has found holes in the government’s system that is supposed to prevent leaks to traders of economic information that would likely affect the market, The Wall Street Journal reported. Read more
  • The Congressional Budget Office on Wednesday estimated the federal budget deficit through the first 10 months of the fiscal year clocks in at around $606 billion, The Hill reported. Read more
  • A four-week average of new claims for state jobless benefits dropped last week to its lowest level since before the Great Recession, Reuters reported. Read more

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

  • The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission told BP on Monday that the corporation has 30 days to respond to allegations of market manipulation in the Houston Ship Channel or it will face close to $29 million in penalties, Reuters reported. Read more
  • The State Department will begin an inquiry into whether the contractor hired to create an environmental-impact statement for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline had a conflict of interest. Environmental groups have alleged that the firm, Environmental Resources Management, had ties to the American Petroleum Institute, a trade association which supports creation of the pipeline, The Hill reported. Read more
  • Four former Environmental Protection Agency administrators who served under Republican presidents urged the U.S. to take action to prevent climate change from worsening and stated their position in an op-ed for The New York Times. Read more
  • President Obama released an executive order to strengthen oversight and regulation of chemical-handling facilities at the federal, state, and local levels. Read more
  • EPA announced the breakdown and amounts of biofuels to be added to the U.S. fuel supply for 2013 under the renewable fuel standard program, requiring 16.55 billion gallons of biofuels to be blended with gasoline. Read more
  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Wednesday he would authorize the government to intervene in efforts to control radioactive water leaking from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-power plant after Tokyo Electric Power confirmed that contaminated groundwater has been leaking into the Pacific Ocean, The New York Times reported. Read more
  • During a two-day trip to North Dakota’s Bakken Formation, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell highlighted the need for oil and gas companies to limit greenhouse emissions, Fuel Fix reported. Read more

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

  • Citing an “abundance of caution” rather than the emergence of a new threat, the State Department said in a statement Sunday that 19 embassies and consulates in the Middle East and North Africa will remain closed until Saturday, The New York Times reported. Read more
  • The Justice Department filed murder charges against Libyan militia leader Ahmed Abu Khattala in connection to the attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi last year, CNN reported. Read more
  • In a sign of growing concern that a terrorist attack may be imminent, the State Department on Tuesday evacuated 50 to 100 nonessential government personnel from Yemen due to an “extremely high” security threat level, the Associated Press reported. Read more
  • Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Tuesday that the number of furlough days for the department’s civilian employees had been cut to six, Defense One reported. Read more
  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who took office over the weekend, said Tuesday during his first news conference as president that he is “seriously determined” to begin “serious and substantive” negotiations with the United States concerning Tehran’s nuclear program, Reuters reported. Read more
  • Yemeni security officials said Wednesday that they had successfully derailed a Qaida plan to seize a port and kidnap or kill foreigners who work there, The New York Times reported. Read more
  • Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi denied claims on Thursday that Syrian rebels’ rockets hit President Bashar al-Assad’s motorcade as it traveled through an upscale Damascus neighborhood en route to his place of worship, the Associated Press reported. Read more

HEALTH CARE

  • The nearly 40-member House Republican freshman class is pressing party leadership to finally allow action on a bill to repeal a 2.3 percent excise tax on medical devices that was enacted to help pay for President Obama’s health care plan, National Journal‘s Billy House reported. Read more
  • The House voted 232-185 on Friday in favor of a bill that would ban the Internal Revenue Service from its role in implementing the Affordable Care Act, Politico reported. Read more
  • House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said Sunday that he disagrees with the idea of some Republicans to use the threat of a government shutdown on Oct. 1 as an attempt to defund the Affordable Care Act, Reuters reported. Read more
  • Individuals in the 34 states participating in a federal insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act were able to open an account on healthcare.gov beginning Monday, Kaiser Health News reported. Read more
  • The Affordable Care Act includes a provision (known as the Cadillac tax) that will tax expensive health plans beginning in 2018, which has increased pressure on unions involved in benefits negotiations to accept less expensive health benefits, The New York Times reported. Read more
  • WebMD announced its new online Health Care Reform Center on Tuesday, designed to educate consumers on the Affordable Care Act and guide them through purchasing coverage in the insurance exchanges, The Hill reported. Read more
  • The Inspector General’s Office at the Health and Human Services Department released a report that shows the federal government is several months behind on testing data security for the insurance exchanges scheduled to launch Oct. 1, Reuters reported. Read more
  • The Office of Personnel Management released a proposed rule Wednesday to allow the government to continue paying for a large percentage of health coverage for members of Congress and their staff under the Affordable Care Act, Politico reported. Read more

FUTURE EVENTS

Saturday, August 10 — President Obama will speak at the Disabled American Veterans convention in Orlando, Fla., at noon.

Monday, Aug. 12 — The National Press Club’s Press Freedom Committee will hold a discussion on “Government Public Affairs Offices: More Hindrance Than Help?” at 6:30 p.m. at 529 14th Street NW.

Monday, Aug. 12 — Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., will speak at a roundtable discussion on federally qualified community health centers and on implementation of the Affordable Care Act at 2 p.m. in Baltimore.

Tuesday, Aug. 13 — The Institute for Defense and Government Advancement holds the Cyber Security for Government Summit at 9 a.m. at 10 Thomas Circle NW.

Tuesday, Aug. 13 — The Henry L. Stimson Center will hold a discussion on “Between War & Peace: Do We Need New Tools for Messy Transitions?” at 9:30 a.m. at 1111 19th St. NW. Participants include Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart Bowen Jr. and former Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary for Partnership Strategy and Stability Operations James Schear.

Tuesday, Aug. 13 — The Alliance for Health Reform will hold a webinar, beginning at 1 p.m., on “Rate Shock—Or Not?” on “what insurance rates will look like when state insurance exchanges open for enrollment on Oct. 1.”

Wednesday, Aug. 14 — The Homeland Security Department’s National Protection and Programs Directorate will hold a meeting of the National Infrastructure Advisory Council on the security and resilience of the nation’s critical infrastructure sectors and information systems at 4 p.m. at 2451 Crystal Drive in Arlington, Va.

Wednesday, Aug. 14 — The Energy Department will hold a meeting of the Loan Programs Office to receive comments on the draft of a potential future solicitation announcement for Federal Loan Guarantees for Advanced Fossil Energy Projects at 10 a.m. at 1000 Independence Ave. SW.

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 http://www.turnergpa.com.

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Taxes Too High?

Posted on August 8, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

By Caren Z. Turner

CZT Bio Photo medium resizeAfter dozens of hearings, the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee are embarking on the first major overhaul of the U.S. tax code since the 1980’s. Committee sources expect a draft to be ready sometime in the fall. It’s not too late to get your two cents in…If you are interested in contacting the tax committees with a plan for tax overhaul, please do not hesitate to call us. We will help ensure your idea is vetted. House Republicans are quite steadfast that this will be a comprehensive redraft, not a piecemeal approach.

Hill staffers are abuzz and upset. One of the requirements of Obamacare is for staff to get health insurance through exchanges. However, it is not clear that the government is required to pay for the premiums. Congress and the White House are working on a fix to avoid a massive exodus from the Hill.

As the national list of political scoundrels grows, so does their determination to campaign on.  Truly amazing! Wouldn’t it be nice if the better qualified candidates would win elections rather than the ones with the best media presence?

Enjoy August.

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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Off to the Races

Posted on July 11, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

By Caren Z. Turner

CZT Bio Photo medium resizeReady for Hillary is picking up steam and organizing throughout the nation. In an effort to draft Hillary Rodham Clinton and (possibly) preempt others from joining the field, the organization, headed by Allida Black, is pushing forward full steam. In addition to James Carville, Harold Ickes, Jennifer Granholm and Under Secretary of State Ellen Tauscher, the group just added 270 Strategies, the former Obama grassroots organizers to the growing army. 

Within days, the second quarter financial numbers will be released. We anticipate that the $1 million target will be easily surpassed.

Of concern for all, the student loan interest rates have doubled from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. Even mortgage rates (which have recently jumped) are significantly lower than the Stafford loans. Private activity bond legislation, despite having over 100 bi-partisan sponsors in the House last year, is awaiting reintroduction. That means fixing our sewers and water infrastructure nationwide. This is WATER guys… let’s get it DONE!  

Texas, Texas…Wendy Davis has been catapulted to the national stage for her stand (in Mizuno running shoes) on stopping an abortion bill. With Rick Perry announcing he will not seek another term, rumors are Texas could go BLUE. 

Enjoy the summer! 

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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Fundraising Firestorm

Posted on June 5, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

By Caren Z. Turner

CZT Bio Photo medium resizeThe death of the oldest U.S. Senator, Frank Lautenberg , a kind and brilliant Democratic legislator, had long been anticipated.   With the announcement of a special election in October, Republican Governor Chris Christie has set off a firestorm of fundraising in the Garden state.  Undoubtedly, the seat will go to a Democrat, but which one: Booker, Pallone or another candidate?

Ready for Hillary? The Ready for Hillary Super PAC has recently announced the formation of its national finance team.  With nearly 200,000 “friends” on Facebook, the goal of the Super Pac is to establish a broad grassroots web of supporters.   Contributions, even in the catchy amount of $20.16, can be made online.

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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OFA’s Climate Change Offensive

Posted on June 5, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

By James Scott

OFATo the delight of some environmental advocates and the sighs of others, Organizing for Action (OFA), the advocacy group formed from the remnants of the 2012 Obama presidential campaign, has launched a nationwide initiative to build support for the administration’s climate change agenda.

Climate change advocates have long complained that the Obama administration has failed on its campaign pledge to keep the issue on the front burner. Some applauded OFA’s action; others said it doesn’t go far enough.

The OFA initiative started with an email blast to the organization’s 20 million subscribers that contained a video urging accountability for climate change deniers in the Congress. And while activists will surely see the OFA initiative as a step in the right direction, it doesn’t contain specific policy or legislation proposals.

“If we ever want to see real progress on climate change, we need to change the conversation in Washington — right now. We need every member of Congress to be part of the solution. OFA is going to hold these climate deniers accountable — even if we have to go one by one,” the e-mail said.

Then, last week, OFA activists held press conferences and other events in 50 locations in more than 20 states. Here too the initiative focused on criticizing Republicans who have blocked any meaningful action on climate change.

The White House has been stymied in its efforts to enact climate-change regulations by the Republican majority in the House and a lack of a veto-proof majority in the Senate. In 2010, a major climate change measure was rejected in the Senate making a new initiative unlikely in the short-term.

Still, climate change activists hope new attention to the issue will lead to the election of more sympathetic lawmakers. And while there has been no progress in Washington, they want to make sure states do not roll back renewable-energy laws.

Some environmentalists believe the White House and OFA are not going far enough in pushing an ambitious climate change agenda. They had hoped, for example, that OFA and the president would reject the Keystone XL pipeline, which would ship crude oil from Alberta to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

In an interview last week with the Washington Post, Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune said environmentalists are disappointed in the administration’s lack of leadership on climate change.

“Four months after the President’s inauguration, there’s no climate plan, no timeline, and an expansion of drilling on public lands. If this is what it means to make fighting climate a priority, then we’re all in trouble,” he said.

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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Bachmann’s Departure is Big Win for GOP

Posted on June 5, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

By James Scott

bachmannYou probably know by now that one of Washington’s best-known Republican brands, Rep. Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota, has decided to leave Congress. This is good news for the GOP.

Bachmann announced last week that she would not seek reelection to the House seat she has held since 2007. No, she said, it wasn’t that her reelection chances were dim, or the investigations into her failed 2012 presidential bid or the chill directed her way by mainstream Republican leadership in the House.

Why is she bailing? Well, she didn’t actually offer an explanation other than to say she is more worried than ever about the trajectory America is on and that she would be seeking new ways to try to alter it.

“There is no future option or opportunity … that I wouldn’t be giving serious consideration if it can help save and protect our great nation,” she said in an 8-minute video.

Incumbency notwithstanding, Bachmann’s departure actually makes it more likely that the GOP will hold on to her seat in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District.

How vulnerable was Bachmann in her conservative district? Well, her Democratic opponent felt his chances were diminished, if not crushed, without Bachmann in the race.

Jim Graves, the St. Cloud businessman who nearly knock Bachmann off in 2012, had already announced he was making another bid for the seat. But when Bachmann said she was out, Graves suspended his campaign knowing that virtually any other Republican candidate would be a lock to win the seat.

It may have been the same sharp rhetoric that made her a favorite on conservative cable television that caused her undoing.

Meanwhile, Bachmann’s legal problems are growing. Charges that her 2012 presidential campaign violated spending laws are currently under investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics, the Federal Election Commission, the Iowa Senate Ethics Committee and the FBI.

But it’s not like Bachmann’s departure means the Tea Party will find itself without a voice in the House. No, in fact you should expect to see at least a few conservatives upping the volume in bids to replace Bachmann as the congressional face of the Tea Party movement.

The experts at the Capitol Hill newspaper “Roll Call” have identified four worthy successors to Bachmann’s Tea Party leadership of the Tea Party Caucus:  Reps. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Steve King of Iowa, and Tim Huelskamp of Kansas.

Even if she were to get reelected, Bachmann’s upward mobility in the House was severely restricted like that of many Tea Party favorites who have failed to support the GOP’s leadership on numerous key issues.

And the GOP has probably gotten pretty tired of seeing itself linked to Bachmann’s controversial opinions and her unusual rhetoric that made her a favorite target for ridicule on late night television.

When she announced that she would not seek reelection, House Speaker John Boehner of Indiana issued this statement on Twitter: “Thanks @MicheleBachmann for your years of service. A courageous voice for freedom in the people’s House.”

He might have just as well ended it with “thanks @MicheleBachmann.”

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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For Obama: Troubled Times or It Must be Summer?

Posted on June 5, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

By James Scott

obama.capitol“We believe—and we hope you will agree—it is imperative that the Committee, the Congress, and the American people be provided a full and accurate account.”  Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.)

Over the years, the Congress has sought to fulfill its oversight mandate through myriad investigations of all manner of alleged misdeeds. Often, those probes have placed the administration in the crosshairs.

There have been moments of high statesmanship. Who could forget Tennessee Republican Sen. Howard Baker famously boiling the Watergate scandal to a single question: “What did the President know and when did he know it?”

And there have been lesser moments, so-called “summer theater,” in which partisanship has driven the investigative agenda.

At the moment, Congress is probing the administration on no less than three fronts. Statesmanship, or theater? We’ll leave it to you to judge.

The House Judiciary Committee is examining why the Justice Department sought to gather the telephone records of as many as 20 Associated Press reporters over a period of two months. This is the investigation that prompted Goodlatte’s comment above.

Last week, this probe made the jump from examining alleged misdeeds to examining the possibility of a cover-up of those misdeeds, which as any student of the Watergate scandal knows is a common path for these kinds of investigations.

Goodlatte and Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) questioned the testimony of Attorney General Eric Holder during a hearing last month: “The media reports and statements issued by the Department regarding the search warrants for Mr. Rosen’s emails appear to be at odds with your sworn testimony before the Committee,” they wrote in a letter to Holder.

At the same time, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Cal.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has issued subpoenas for State Department emails and other communications on the Benghazi terror attack. Issa suggested the State Department is withholding documents in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry.

Issa wants to know more about the behind-the-scenes talks regarding the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

And, finally, the House Ways and Means Committee has been hearing testimony about charges that the Internal Revenue Service targeted right-wing Tea Party groups and others for extra tax scrutiny. In a statement, the panel’s chairman Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) made clear that this investigation has already reached a few preliminary conclusions.

“While we now know that the IRS began targeting individuals based on their personal beliefs three years ago, we still need to know who began this targeting and why, and we need to understand how individuals were affected by the IRS’s abuse,” Camp said in a statement.

So, it would seem this is an administration that is embroiled in scandal worthy of public scorn and rejection. Either that, or Congress is heading to its summer place. You decide.

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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In SC, an Unlikely Win for the Ethically Challenged Sanford

Posted on May 8, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

By Caren Z. Turner

CZT Bio Photo medium resizeIt is with deep disappointment that we faced the South Carolina loss of Elizabeth Colbert Busch.  This one is not about political points of view, it’s about integrity. In a tactic of bait and switch, Sanford “debated” a paper cut out of Nancy Pelosi. Though Clint Eastwood’s RNC debate with an empty chair was ridiculed, the technique of supplanting Nancy Pelosi for Elizabeth Colbert Busch worked.

In essence, voters were asked to hate the Democrats and Pelosi more than they hated the former Governor who was charged by the State Ethics Commission with 37 ethics violations, including spending taxpayer money on business-class flights, using state aircraft for personal travel and spending campaign funds for non-campaign expenses. It seems that paying $74,000 was enough to get him back in the graces of the South Carolina electorate.

Our fundraiser for Elizabeth Colbert Busch, which was accompanied and supported by her brother, Stephen Colbert, New York Reps. Steve Israel, Carolyn Maloney, Joe Crowley as well as Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, raised over $100,000 for a breakfast event. Though the Democrat Colbert Busch outspent her opponent 5 to 1, it wasn’t enough to defeat Sanford. Look for the Democrats to capitalize on this.  The party will brand this election as representative of Republican “values.” Debbie Wasserman Schultz is already on the airwaves decrying Republican values.

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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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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