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Trump Administration… Reading The Tea Leaves

Saturday, November 12, 2016 11:23
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(Before It's News)

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On Thursday the NY Times ran a piece by Eric Lipton about what a bonanza a Trump administration is going to be for K Street lobbyists and other insiders he railed against during his fraudulent campaign. Yesterday, they revamped , expanded and updated it and ran it again. On Thursday, Lipton wrote that “Corporate America is both excited and anxious about the prospect of Mr. Trump’s presidency, seeing great opportunity to shape the agenda after an extended period of frustration over gridlock in Congress. With Republicans poised to control both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, [top corporate lobbyist Trent] Lott said he had not seen such a chance to help clients since he left the Senate in 2007– whether by making changes to the federal tax code for Amazon or increasing military spending on new ships for Huntington Ingalls Industries. 'Trump has pledged to change things in Washington — about draining the swamp,' said Mr. Lott, who now works at Squire Patton Boggs, a law and lobbying firm. 'He is going to need some people to help guide him through the swamp– how do you get in and how you get out? We are prepared to help do that.'” Apparently Lott is helping redeine the meaning of the word “swamp.”

Across Washington, lobbyists and trade association executives were busy reviewing their priorities, which include repealing financial regulations instituted during the Obama administration, pushing for cuts in corporate taxes, overhauling President Obama’s signature health care plan and spending billions on roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

“On these significant issues, now that you have one party controlling the executive branch and the legislature, it is more likely they will be addressed,” said Marc S. Lampkin, managing partner of the lobbying firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, whose roster of more than 135 clients includes the drug maker AbbVie and the insurance company Zurich Financial Services.

Mr. Lampkin, a former Republican aide on Capitol Hill, had fielded so many phone calls on Wednesday from his clients that his voice had turned raspy with fatigue. “There is a lot of pent-up demand to break the gridlock in Washington,” he said.

Prominent Washington lobbyists also said that Mr. Trump would arrive in the capital with a much smaller contingent of veteran policy advisers than Hillary Clinton would have brought– and they see that relative inexperience as an opening. So they are prepared to draft legislation and regulations to quietly pass to allies on Capitol Hill and in the White House.

It is an opportunity that comes after a period of decline in lobbying revenues for many major firms. Total lobbying spending in Washington, after climbing consistently for nearly two decades began to dip in 2011, as congressional action slowed with divided government.

“Trump’s management style and policy approach to the campaign implies he is going to set big broad ‘beautiful’ direction and the elected lawmakers will take significant cuts at trying to flesh it out and reflect his will,” said Bruce P. Mehlman, the founder of Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas, which has more than 70 clients ranging from Adobe, the software company, to Walmart.

Yesterday Lipton bored down. “Trump,” he wrote, “who campaigned against the corrupt power of special interests, is filling his transition team with some of the very sort of people who he has complained have too much clout in Washington: corporate consultants and lobbyists… Trump was swept to power in large part by white working-class voters who responded to his vow to restore the voices of forgotten people, ones drowned out by big business and Wall Street. But in his transition to power, some of the most prominent voices will be those of advisers who come from the same industries for which they are being asked to help set the regulatory groundwork.” Lipton spelled it out and listed the names and affiliations. Read it if you want to puke. It's too depressing to republish.

And yet, one of the top priorities of this whole vile, repulsive network of special interests has been the TPP– which is being widely reported as DOA. There are reports that now even Obama has given up on the idea of trying to pass the accursed corporate trade agenda in the lame duck session where most Democrats are against it and many Republicans are loathe to make a move this early against Trump. Good riddance, TPP. We'll see if Paul Ryan, the New Dems and the lobbyists can bring it back.

“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” — Sinclair Lewis

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