With Daniel Lippman
TRADE GROUPS GIVE IT ONE MORE SHOT: An ad hoc coalition of more than 150 trade groups representing industries hurt by the pandemic is trying to pressure Congress and the Trump administration to strike a last-minute deal before leaving town. The message: Lawmakers shouldn’t go home until they pass another coronavirus relief bill. The strategy: Shame. “The idea that Congress would leave town without some kind of relief package is shameful,” Chip Rogers, the president and chief executive of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, told reporters this morning.
— The newly organized COVID RELIEF NOW coalition sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy today as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin heads to Capitol Hill and House Democrats push to vote on their bill as soon as this afternoon. “We are writing to implore you to reach a bipartisan deal on legislation to prevent catastrophic economic harm that would result if Congress does not pass additional emergency relief before adjourning for the election,” the letter reads.
— Among the groups that signed onto the letter: Airlines for America, the American Gaming Association, the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the International Council of Shopping Centers, the National Association of Counties, the National Association of Theatre Owners, the National Governors Association, the National Independent Venue Association, the National League of Cities, the National Restaurant Association and the U.S. Travel Association.
SCOTT REED IS OUT AT THE CHAMBER: Depending on who you believe, Scott Reed, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s longtime top political strategist, either quit the trade group or was fired on Tuesday. “The move comes amid mounting fears among Republicans — including many within the organization — that the traditionally conservative Chamber is moving to the left after endorsing roughly two dozen freshman House Democrats for reelection this year,” POLITICO’s Alex Isenstadt and Scott Bland report. “‘I can no longer be part of this institution as it moves left,’ Reed told POLITICO.”
— But the Chamber “offered a different version of events, saying it had fired Reed ‘for cause’. ‘An internal review has revealed that Reed repeatedly breached confidentiality, distorted facts for his own benefit, withheld information from Chamber leadership and leaked internal information to the press,’ a Chamber spokesperson said in a statement. ‘We have the documentation of his actions and it is irrefutable. Our decision is not based on a disagreement over political strategy but rather it is the result of Reed’s actions.'” Reed’s departure was first reported by The New York Times.
— Reed’s departure comes as some Republicans have stepped up their criticism of the trade group. “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in an interview that he was not concerned about the Chamber potentially contributing to Democrats. ‘Honestly at this point, I think they’re so confused about what they’re about that they probably don’t make much difference,’ McConnell said. Kevin McLaughlin, the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s executive director, was even more scathing. ‘It’s been difficult to watch what was once the gold standard for influence and advocacy slowly decline over the past few years, and now it appears the last vestige of relevance has just walked out the door,’ he said.”
— Reed, for his part, plans to return his focus to Chesapeake Enterprises, the lobbying firm through which he continued to represent clients while working for the Chamber. He lobbies for American Airlines as well as several coalitions, according to disclosure filings.
URBAN HEADS TO BYTEDANCE: Dave Urban, one of the few Washington lobbyists with a personal relationship with President Donald Trump, has left his lobbying firm, American Continental Group, to become executive vice president for North American corporate affairs at ByteDance, the Chinese company that’s tangled with the Trump administration over its ownership of TikTok, as Playbook reports. He’s the second major Washington hire for ByteDance, which lured Michael Beckerman, the head of the Internet Association, away from the trade group earlier this year. ByteDance previously retained Urban through his lobbying firm. The company also has several in-house lobbyists and retains K&L Gates, Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas and Monument Advocacy, according to disclosure filings.
WHITE HOUSE BLOCKED ORDER TO KEEP CRUISE SHIPS DOCKED: “The White House has blocked a new order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to keep cruise ships docked until mid-February, a step that would have displeased the politically powerful tourism industry in the crucial swing state of Florida,” The New York Times‘ Sheila Kaplan reports. “The current ‘no sail’ policy is set to expire on Wednesday. Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the director of the C.D.C., had recommended the extension, worried that cruise ships could become viral hot spots, as they did at the beginning of the pandemic.”
— “But at a meeting of the coronavirus task force on Tuesday, Dr. Redfield’s plan was overruled, according to a senior federal health official who was not authorized to comment and so spoke on condition of anonymity. The administration will instead allow the ships to sail after Oct. 31, the date the industry had already agreed to in its own, voluntary plan. The rejection of the C.D.C.’s plan was first reported by Axios.”
ABOUT LAST NIGHT’S DEBATE: When the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Suzanne Clark urged Fox News’ Chris Wallace to ask President Donald Trump and Joe Biden how they’d support “businesses, workers, and communities that find themselves on the downward trajectory of the K-Shaped recovery that’s now unfolding,” I wrote that this newsletter would be surprised if Wallace used the wonky phrase “K-shaped recovery.” But Wallace did use almost the exact phrase — and I was surprised.
— “President Trump, you say we are in a V-shaped recovery,” Wallace said a little more than half an hour into the debate. “Vice President Biden, you say it’s more of a K-shape. What difference does that mean to the American people in terms of the economy?” Trump responded by touting the number of people who’ve returned to the workforce since the start of the pandemic. “This guy will close down our whole country and destroy our country,” he said, referring to Biden. Biden responded by saying that while the stock market had recovered since the start of the pandemic, the job market had not.
LAWMAKERS ACCUSE PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES OF HIKING PRICES TO BOOST PROFITS: “Major pharmaceutical companies raised drug prices exponentially by hundreds or thousands of percent to boost profits and executives’ bonuses, ‘taking full advantage’ of Medicare rules, a House panel said Wednesday,” POLITICO’s Sarah Owermohle reports. “The House Oversight and Reform Committee this morning reported the findings, the first from its 18-month investigation into a dozen drug companies’ pricing practices, ahead of two days of hearings with the manufacturers.”
— “The initial documents focus on Bristol Myers Squibb and Celgene — which Bristol acquired last year — along with Teva Pharmaceuticals. They will likely be followed by another pack on Thursday as executives from Amgen, Mallinckrodt and Novartis AG are scheduled to testify Oct. 1.”
CORRECTION: Tuesday’s edition misstated the name of one of the trade groups that applauded House Democrats’ latest coronavirus relief bill. It is the Independent Restaurant Coalition.
Win Big Senate Fund (Cal for NC, MJ for Texas, Theresa Greenfield for Iowa)
Americans for a Cleaner World (Super PAC)
Americans for Justice (PAC)
Bridgeport Works (PAC)
Faith Voters (PAC)
Margins PAC (Super PAC)
The 99 Problems (Super PAC)
Applied Research Associates, Inc.: Applied Research Associates, Inc.
Cassidy & Associates, Inc.: EOG Resources
Cassidy & Associates, Inc.: HRP Hudson Urban
Cassidy & Associates, Inc.: HRP Mercer Urban
Cassidy & Associates, Inc.: Tesla
Cornerstone Government Affairs, Inc.: Epirus, Inc.
Holland & Knight LLP: Holt Logistics Corp.
Holland & Knight LLP: Participate Learning
J M Burkman & Associates: US Physicians International Inc
Miller Strategies, LLC: S&B Engineers & Constructors, Ltd.
Squire Patton Boggs: NBCUniversal Media, LLC
Summa Health: Summa Health
Xylem Inc.: Xylem Inc.
Gibbons P.C.: Bergen Anesthesia Group P.C.
Gibbons P.C.: Neurological Surgery, P.C.
Taras, LLC: Courtesy Aircraft, Inc.
- Theodoric Meyer @theodoricmeyer