By S-3 Public Affairs

Fact of the Week: This weekend we remember and honor all those who have given their lives for our country. CNN shares some history about Memorial Day: “Several towns claim to be the originators of Memorial Day but in 1966, Congress declared Waterloo, New York, to be the birthplace of the holiday. Memorial Day originally honored military personnel who died in the Civil War (1861-1865). The holiday now honors those who died in any war while serving with the United States. It is also called Decoration Day.” Enjoy the weekend!

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In the Administration: President Trump is back in D.C. after more than a week abroad. The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker and Karen DeYoung report, “While critics at home had predicted major gaffes, the president made none. And Trump participated in and contributed to substantive meetings on issues ranging from counterterrorism and trade to climate change and migration.”

President Trump is already back on Twitter, but NBC’s Chuck Todd noted, for the first time he used the phrase “It is my opinion” at the start of his tweeting. President Trump is expected to announce a final decision on whether the U.S. will stay in the Paris climate accords: (though Axios is reporting this morning that he is saying the U.S. will leave). Senate Republican leaders this week sent President Trump a letter urging him to withdraw from the agreement.

On the Hill: Congress is home for the week but back in D.C., “Senate Republican staff will be working on a draft version of the Senate’s ObamaCare repeal-and-replace legislation during the upcoming recess, according to multiple senators,” The Hill’s Nate Weixel reports. Senate Majority Leader McConnell this week again acknowledged the obvious – this is a difficult process.

McConnell’s words are always carefully chosen.  In the same Reuters interview, he “expressed optimism two parties can band together to pass legislation funding the federal government in the fiscal year starting on Oct. 1. He also noted good prospects for bipartisanship on a bill to expand sanctions against Iran, due for debate in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week, and renewal of a Food and Drug Administration user-fee program that expires later this year.”

June is already proving to be a busy month:

  • Health reform lingering in the Senate,
  • Tax reform discussions continuing in the House, Senate, and the White House,
  • More nominations in the Senate,
  • FDA user fees legislation.

In the Media: TV Newser notes that not all media are enjoying increased audiences in our new politically-obsessed society: “Cable news seems to be thriving in this polarized era of Trump, with politically-driven opinion programming delivering especially large year-over-year audience gains. Evening newscasts traditionally pride themselves on delivering viewers a mix of politics and human interest stories. Americans seem to want politics 24/7 these days, and they aren’t necessarily getting that from the evening newscasts.”

CNBC has also taken note, but rather than add to the already crowded space of political commentary, it is adding a different angle. “In an era when politics is seemingly dominating the cable news conversation, CNBC is looking to distinguish itself from the pack by bolstering its investigative journalism team.”

As always, please feel free to contact Rob Collins, Mike Ference, John Scofield, or Amos Snead or call (202) 600-2938 with any questions. Have a wonderful week!

By S-3 Public Affairs

Fact of the Week: Get ready to start reading a lot more about AI. Mashable recaps Google’s developer keynote this past week noting, “Google CEO Sundar Pichai described the fundamental shift from a mobile-first landscape to an AI-first one.” Google is exploring, carefully, ways to embrace and use AI to help, rather than ways to avoid and protect against it. At the same time GE and Partners HealthCare, “on Wednesday launched an ambitious initiative to employ artificial intelligence to improve medical care.” The Boston Globe reports, “AI technology is part of the growing digital health field, which was about $61 billion globally in 2013 and is expected to grow to $233 billion in 2020, according to Deloitte. Massachusetts is home to hundreds of digital health companies, including startups.”

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In the Administration: The frantic pace of work will not slow down with President Trump’s first major foreign trip: it’s long and covers a lot of territory (Saudi Arabia, Israel, Italy, and Belgium – Axios has a good breakdown of the agenda and who is joining).

While the president is away: OMB Director Mick Mulvaney Tuesday will send the administration’s detailed budget proposal to the Hill. What to watch:

  • How big of a stamp did Jared and Ivanka have on the budget? (e.g. paid family leave courtesy of Ivanka);
  • How does the Hill react?;
  • How much does the administration address mandatory programs?

The New York Times’ Alan Rappeport has a good preview of the Defense components.

Also this week:

On the Hill: Congress (and the markets) are worried about the legislative agenda. The House this past week held its first hearing on tax reform and the Senate continues to explore paths forward on health care (CBO score for House bill is expected Wednesday). Complicating the health care conversation are President Trump’s recent statements expressing his desire to end Obamacare cost sharing reduction subsidy payments, which would put another strain on insurance companies.

This week:

In the Media: TV Newser shares a new Harvard study that shows media coverage of President Trump’s administration has been overwhelmingly negative. Not surprisingly, the report also confirms we’re seeing a lot more coverage of the White House than in recent administrations. “President Trump dominated media coverage in the outlets and programs analyzed, with Trump being the topic of 41 percent of all news stories—three times the amount of coverage received by previous presidents.”

As always, please feel free to contact Rob CollinsMike FerenceJohn Scofield, or Amos Snead or call (202) 600-2938 with any questions. Have a wonderful week!

By S-3 Public Affairs

Fact of the Week: Since January, Congress embraced the Congressional Review Act to undo 14 regulations, saving $3.7 billion and 4.2 million hours of paperwork. “This was the first Congress to successfully use the CRA to repeal a regulation since 2001.” The Senate Republican Policy Committee (citing estimates from the American Action Forum), highlights the 14 regulations that have been undone this year through the CRA. This past week marked the final week to use the CRA. Moving forward, the primary driver of regulatory change is in the hands of the departments and agencies. This includes implementing President Trump’s executive order calling for regulatory reform.

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In the Administration: Noticeably absent from the Comey news: Jared & Ivanka – both of whom were also literally out of town during the first House health care speedbump. CNN’s Betsy Klein chronicles when the couple has been absent during major moments in the Trump White House. This comes as reports again rise about the narrowing of Trump’s inner circle. Not to worry, Axios’ Alexi McCammond writes, “Trump’s loyal and most trusted inner circle is Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Hope Hicks, and Keith Schiller (the man who delivered the letter to Comey).”
This week in the administration:

On the Hill: The House returns to a busy agenda after a week at home.

In the Media: Axios’ Stef Knight writes, “Despite the wall-to-wall media coverage, most Americans — according to Facebook interactions — cared less about James Comey being fired than other big moments so far in the Trump administration.” Knight reminds us what we all forgot throughout the presidential campaign: President Trump’s supporters absorb and respond to the news much differently than those of us who occupy the Acela corridor. President Trump may have also lost sight of this, however, as rumors swirl about his desire for press staff shakeups and his statements about ending the daily press briefing.

As always, please feel free to contact Rob CollinsMike FerenceJohn Scofield, or Amos Snead or call (202) 600-2938 with any questions. Have a wonderful week!

By S-3 Public Affairs

Fact of the Week: Bloomberg’s Matt Levine shared a report this week that finds meetings with the president is good for companies. The report reads, “Using novel data on White House visitors from 2009 through 2015, we find that corporate executives’ meetings with key policymakers are associated with positive abnormal stock returns.” Levine explains “it is good when businesses understand the law, and lawmakers understand business.” We’ve already seen this remain true in the Trump White House, with business leaders going directly to the president in efforts to prevent or respond to his policies (or tweets).   

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In the Administration: The administration got its White House celebration on health care this week, but now it must navigate the Senate. TheWashington Post’s Sean Sullivan, Abby Phillip, and Paul Kane note this will a big moment for the president’s relationship with Senate Majority Leader McConnell. McConnell remained largely silent throughout the House’s efforts on health care. “McConnell is cool and deliberative while Trump is hot and impetuous. But they have privately developed what people close to them say is a respectful relationship.” Remember though, “It was McConnell, after all, who helped hand Trump his only major congressional victory during his first 100 days in office: the confirmation of Gorsuch to the high court.”

What the White House will have to learn: “the methodical pace at which the Senate moves is necessary.”

On the Hill: While House members are back in their districts, the Senate has a busy week in Washington. On the floor will be the FDA Commissioner nomination, and the committees will take up the following:

In the Media: Axios’ Mike Allen this morning pointed to the Trump-bump national media outlets continue to enjoy, but Columbia Journalism Review notes the same is not true at the local level. CJR writes, “A potentially crucial local story went uncovered at a number of Gannett-owned newspapers this week. The big news? More reductions in the ranks of journalists at some of the titles owned by the Virginia-based media conglomerate. The scope? Gannett executives refuse to say. …

 Their continued decline comes as national media have been bolstered by digital investment and, more recently, renewed interest since the election of President Donald Trump. Despite debate over the centralization of the national press on the coasts, however, less attention is paid to how atrophy at the local level plays into media bubbles and drops in public trust.”

As always, please feel free to contact Rob CollinsMike FerenceJohn Scofield, or Amos Snead or call (202) 600-2938 with any questions. Have a wonderful week!