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Well this is just peachy.
Washington lobbyists, who usually spend their days and nights tracking the progress of dozens of bills and chasing after hundreds of members of Congress, will have a single place to focus their attention this fall: the 12-member “supercommittee” [...] “Supercommittee means superlobbying,” says John Feehery, who was a top aide to former Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert and is now director of government affairs at Quinn Gillespie & Associates, one of Washington’s most prominent shops.[...]

It has been a tough year for lobbyists (schadenfreude duly noted). They made out during the epic Washington battles over health care and financial reform, but then business went soft as the economy dragged and the debt fight paralyzed Congress. Lobbying revenue dipped to $1.65 billion in the first half of 2011, down 8.5 percent from the first half of 2010, according to the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington.

The summer doldrums will end when the committee, chaired by Democratic Senator Patty Murray of Washington and Republican Representative Jeb Hensarling of Texas, gets to work. If the members can’t reach agreement by the Nov. 23 deadline or Congress rejects its proposals, automatic cuts to agencies throughout the government will kick in. To protect their clients, legions of lobbyists will get busy studying the lawmakers’ voting records, home-state interests, and pet projects, looking for angles to exploit. The K Streeters will put their connections to work, reaching members of the committee through former staffers and even leveraging other members of Congress. “I always tell my staff that the most effective lobbyist with a senator is another senator,” says Charlie Black, chairman of Prime Policy Group, which lobbies for AT&T (T), Google (GOOG), Wal-Mart Stores (WMT), and other companies.

The real money is going to be poured on by the health industry—hospitals, drug companies and medical device makers—and defense industry. If the committee doesn't come up with $1.5 trillion in cuts in other places, those two take the big hit in the automatic trigger. So what we'll probably see is the health industry arguing for cuts to the benefits of its direct consumers—Medicare beneficiaries—so that providers don't get the hit, and the defense industry lobbying for veterans benefits to take the hit, so that all important defense contractors stay in the money. Oh, and don't forget the oil and gas lobby, because the Democrats on the committee are definitely going to be targeting their tax breaks.

Against all that, there will be public interest group lobbying, too—for raising taxes on corporations, hedge fund managers and protecting the safety net. Hopefully they'll be able to fight the throngs from the big monied interests to get through the doors and be heard.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 09:05 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (14+ / 0-)

    "There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning." —Warren Buffett

    by Joan McCarter on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 09:05:17 AM PDT

  •  I'm shocked, shocked I tells ya! Snark! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nonnie9999, Cassandra77

    Is it weird in here or is it just me?- Steven Wright

    by nannyboz on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 09:08:45 AM PDT

  •  which leads to articles like this (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999, nonnie9999, noweasels, claude

    Via Politico:

    SUPERCOMMITTEE CONVERGENCE: The ink is barely dry on the supercommittee picks of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, but K Street is already gaming out who is in the best position to influence the panel. PI has put together a cheat sheet of the three Senate Democratic picks’ downtown kitchen cabinets.

    Sen. Patty Murray: The Washington state Democrat has a long list of K Street confidants given her role as head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. But, these three Democratic lobbyists are among her closest confidants — Rick Desimore of McBee Strategic, Jonathan Jones of Peck, Madigan & Jones and Jeff Bjornstad of Washington Squared Advocates. Desimore and Bjornstad are former chiefs of staff to Murray and Jones is a Democratic operative, who has built a relationship with her as well.

    Sen. Max Baucus: The surprise pick for many K Streeters, who didn’t think the Montana Democrat would want to take on such a controversial role when he has been struggling in the polls. Nevertheless, Baucus has a tight-knit group of K Streeters, who played a big role during health care reform. Jeff Forbes of Cauthen Forbes & Williams, Shannon Finley of Capitol Counsel, David Castagnetti of Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti and Brian Pomper of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Field.

    Sen. John Kerry: The Massachusetts senator is expected to emerge as a key figure for industry trying to keep off the chopping block as the supercommittee. K Streeters close to Kerry include Manny Ortiz of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Barry LaSala of Elmendorf Ryan, Gregg Rothschild of the Glover Park Group and David Leiter of ML Strategies.

  •  Just once I would love (10+ / 0-)

    to see just one principled politician call a press conference and say:

    Here's who have come knocking at my door.  Then specifically name each lobbyist and what they are asking for.  And then ask the American people to email/call him and let him know if they agree with the demands or they have their own requests -- for free.

    Yes, I know this won't happen.

    Vi er alle norske " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 09:15:44 AM PDT

  •  This "Super Congress" is just another Cat Food (4+ / 0-)

    Commission, but this time the democrats have intentionally stacked the deck in favor of...the republicans. This time we have an attempted air of legitimacy, and at least two democrats who favor cuts to Social Security and Medicare over an increase in taxes on the wealthy, either corporate or individual, who will, surprise, surprise...caucus with the republicans.

  •  Sickening (4+ / 0-)

    This shit should be illegal.

    "We must move forward, not backward. Upward, not forward. And always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!"

    by Purdue219 on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 05:33:45 PM PDT

    •  I think it (0+ / 0-)

      Is illegal. Bribing members of Congress is illegal. They just changed the name to lobbying.
      How DO so many of them become millionaires?

      Why are we still paying for Congress's health insurance, their meals and all the other perks they get while they are gutting ours? They get all the perks while we get a pile of shit.

      by snoopydawg on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 06:50:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Super Congress = Super Lobbyists (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nonnie9999, MacJimi

    Really people, did you expect any better from the Washington elite?

  •  Lobbyists are people too. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Heh, don't blame me. I got smitten with mittens.

    One bitter fact is two bit hacks populate the third rate fourth estate who are truly the fifth columnists. So, how did Obama piss you off today ?
    Call the media when they Lie

    by amk for obama on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 05:45:45 PM PDT

  •  Perhaps a dumb question ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vigilant meerkat, aimeeinkc

    ... but is this "supercommittee" Constitutionally acceptable? I suppose if it's just an "advisory" committee, there's no problem. My understanding was that Congress was eventually supposed to accept (perhaps by vote) on the "supercommittee" recommendations ... and that these were the only considerations that would be brought forward -- an idea which I hate, btw.

    It just feels like "pass the buck" to me ... so that the people we elect don't have to get their hands dirty and, you know, um, do the work we pay them to do ...

    Has anyone seen the president I voted for?

    by RevJoe on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 05:46:39 PM PDT

  •  no matter what happens in d.c. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vigilant meerkat, Magnifico

    it always seems to be good for lobbyists

    larger version

    I didn't get Jack from Abramoff...I'm not a Republican!

    by nonnie9999 on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 05:47:39 PM PDT

  •  So . . . (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vigilant meerkat, claude

    In light of what the GOP candidates said last night:

    In Ames, Iowa last night the candidates were asked if they would refuse to accept a budget deal with a 10-to-1 ratio of spending cuts to tax increases. All eight presidential contenders raised their hands.

    ABC News

    we have a gazillion well-funded corporate lobbyists weighing in in support of cuts to aging military widows (like my Mom), seniors and veterans . . .

    My questions are these:

    Since when did we as a country stop valuing the contributions of those who worked hard their whole lives and retired without a billion dollars and/or served their (our) country?  Are billionaires the only ones who count?  And where would those billionaires be without all the advantages they have had as a result of all this country used to be?

    PROUD to be a Democrat.

    by noweasels on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 05:50:33 PM PDT

  •  Super Congress just makes it easier to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vigilant meerkat, smiley7

    contribute to  lobby bribe Congress.

    The money can be more focused and it doesn't have to be spread around as much.

    It's a much more efficient form of government corruption.

  •  American People = Super Fucked Over. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    What's the use of electing more Democrats if they're not better Democrats? Elect BETTER Democrats and the MORE will take care of itself.

    by MacJimi on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 05:52:42 PM PDT

  •  Yup (0+ / 0-)

    In fact before Super Congress, some lobbying firms in D.C. were downsizing. Some were even going out of business.

    See: Jobs for K-Street: Super Congress Creates Lobbying Bonanza for more.

  •  sponsor your own lobbyist (0+ / 0-)

    hire an unemployed person to stand in the street in front of Congress, or wherever it is they allow people to gather these days with your sign.

    Big sign?  Hire two lobbyists.  Wages are negotiable, and several people could pool together to support a lobbyist.  Lobbyists ARE expensive, y'know, but direct hiring your own stand-in sign-carrier is prolly the least-expensive route, and provides direct stimulus to the economy.

    This is the "entry level" of lobbying; it doesn't get  you, personally, much access, but if a million people joined together for this purpose on a steady basis, there would be something happening there, Mr. Jones.


    don't always believe what you think...

    by claude on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 06:25:54 PM PDT

  •  concentration of power (0+ / 0-)

    Yet another reason why concentration of power is bad.

    The Senate should be overhauled or abolished, taxation should be steeply progressive... It would pretty much take a mass movement and a constitutional convention.

    Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

    by Simplify on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 06:38:21 PM PDT

  •  The Gang of Twelve (0+ / 0-)

    should be sequestered like a jury, isolated from lobbyists and influence peddlers, for the duration of the proceedings.

  •  Super what? (0+ / 0-)

    So now we have a group of twelve who have collectively taken millions each from lobbyists and believe they will represent the American people when it comes to reducing the nations debt.  Congress has put the foxes in the hen house and expects us to trust them.  Our system is broken and we will continue to pay for it.

  •  Who could have predicted? nt (0+ / 0-)

    "You have to understand Neo, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged, and many of them are so inert, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it." Morpheus - The Matrix

    by pot on Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 01:33:11 AM PDT

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