Perhaps the health care industry has lost its lobbying mojo. Despite a mystique that K Street controls the unseen levers of power in Washington, a contingent of well-known and flush-with-cash groups representing doctors, hospitals, patients and seniors appears so far unable to kill — or significantly alter — a bill its members despise.
THE BIG IDEA: With the Russia scandal and self-inflicted wounds paralyzing his White House, it’s easy to lose sight of the tectonic forces that powered President Trump’s victory last year. But they continue to exist, and they’re a major reason why he remains remarkably popular among Republicans. Republican lobbyist Bruce Mehlman, who has long represented technology companies, sees parallels between the cycle of disruption that’s churned through Silicon Valley and what’s now wreaking havoc on Washington.
Why won’t House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) give up on the controversial border adjusted tax? The two may be hoping that by continuing to push the tax, they will stake out a stronger negotiating position as Republican lawmakers and the White House work on a tax reform bill, former congressional staffers told Bloomberg BNA.
The House’s passage of legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare has thrown a new curve into Republicans’ efforts to overhaul the tax code. The vote, which came just a week after the White House rolled out its tax reform plan, took much of official Washington by surprise. A previous attempt to muscle through the legislation had failed in March.
Lobbyists began the year with high expectations for a Republican-controlled government, but many are recalibrating after a rocky start for President Trump’s agenda. Most Republican lobbyists who spoke to The Hill said Republicans still have plenty of time to rack up big legislative wins, even if the road ahead is a tough one.
The ads come less than 24 hours after the CBO released its much-anticipated report showing that 24 million people could lose their health insurance within 10 years. One GOP health care lobbyist, Dean Rosen, a partner at Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas, said he doubts the report will do much to affect the bill’s chances of passing the House.
The homebuilders lobby fears that an ambitious rewrite of the entire tax code will stifle the housing market. Retailers fret that it will make the cost of their imports soar. For charities and their representatives, the worry is that donations will be stunted, plaguing nonprofit groups that serve the neediest Americans.
President Trump’s agenda is getting off to a slow start in Congress, as GOP lawmakers search for a path forward on ObamaCare replacement bill and push other big-ticket items to the back burner. Republicans have unified control of government for the first time in a decade, giving them a rare opportunity to enact the kinds of sweeping policy changes that they have long dreamed about.