With Daniel Lippman
EXECUTIVES BACK BENNET AND YOUNG’S SMALL BUSINESS BILL: More than 100 current and former corporate and trade group executives urged Congress this morning to create a more robust loan program that will let small businesses “sustain themselves through 2020 and well into 2021.” Another round of Paycheck Protection Program loans “would certainly be helpful for many of these businesses, but the hardest-hit sectors will need much more significant and sustained support,” they wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
— The executives called for passing a bill along the lines of the RESTART Act, which was introduced by Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) in May and has picked up 43 other co-sponsors. The letter was signed by executives including Marc Benioff of Salesforce, Joshua Bolten of Business Roundtable, Bob Chapek of Disney, Tom Donohue of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Ken Frazier of Merck, Doug McMillon of Walmart, Sundar Pichai of Google, Ginni Rometty of IBM, Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook and Howard Schultz, the former Starbucks chief executive.
RESTAURANTS PRESS FOR MORE AID: The National Restaurant Association sent a letter to McConnell, Schumer, Pelosi and McCarthy imploring them to make it easier for restaurants to get second Paycheck Protection Program loans and to make expenses paid with the loan tax deductible.
— “Current proposals to extend PPP loans would require businesses to demonstrate a 50 percent reduction in quarterly gross receipts over the previous year,” wrote Sean Kennedy, the trade group’s top lobbyist, in the letter. “While this is appropriate for many businesses, a restaurant’s tight profit margin means that even a small reduction in gross receipts can push them into bankruptcy.” He urged Congress to lower the threshold to a 20 percent drop in gross receipts, “which would allow 430,000 restaurants suffering major losses to qualify for a second loan and maintain their payroll and expenses.”
— The Independent Restaurant Coalition, meanwhile, is going up on the air with a TV ad narrated by Morgan Freeman. “Without your help, our favorite places to eat will be gone forever,” Freeman says in the ad. “Tell Congress to pass the RESTAURANTS Act now.” The bill, introduced by Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) in the Senate and Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) in the House, would set up a $120 billion grant program to help the industry. The coalition didn’t specify where the ad would run or how much it’s spending to air it.
AFL-CIO BACKS EFFORT TO OPEN PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM TO MORE NEWSPAPERS, RADIO STATIONS: The AFL-CIO has endorsed legislation that would allow newspapers and radio stations to apply for Paycheck Protection Program loans, even if they’re owned by companies otherwise considered too big. William Samuel, a lobbyist for the union, wrote letters to Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) on Friday urging Congress to enact the measure “as soon as possible.”
CHAMBER, MANUFACTURERS ASK FOR INJUCTION AGAINST ADMINISTRATION: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and other trade groups suing the administration over visa restrictions imposed by President Donald Trump in June has asked a federal court for a preliminary injunction. Trump’s policy will cause “specific, acute and irremediable” harm to Microsoft, Amazon and other members of the trade groups if an injunction isn’t granted, the trade groups’ lawyers argued in a motion on Friday. “We are asking the court to put an immediate stop to this bad policy,” said Linda Kelly, the National Association of Manufacturers’ senior vice president and general counsel, in a statement. “We know our case is strong, and we must prevent irreparable harm to American manufacturing while we await our day in court.”
— The National Association of Broadcasters, the News Media Alliance and the NewsGuild-CWA union have also pressed Congress to pass the bill, which is included in the relief bill passed by the House in May but didn’t make it into the Senate Republican package rolled out last week. Cantwell introduced a companion measure in the Senate in May along with Schumer and Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and John Boozman (R-Ark.). Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) later signed on as co-sponsors.
WHAT’S GOING ON WITH MICROSOFT AND TIKTOK: “Microsoft said on Sunday that it would continue to pursue the purchase of TikTok in the United States after consulting with President Trump, clearing the way for a potential blockbuster deal between the software giant and the viral social media phenomenon,” The New York Times’ Mike Isaac, Ana Swanson and Maggie Haberman report. “The announcement came as Mr. Trump has expressed repeated concerns about TikTok and national security in recent weeks because of the app’s Chinese origins and backing; on Friday, Mr. Trump threatened to ban the app entirely within the United States, saying any decision could come as soon as Saturday.”
— “Those plans appeared to change after several of Mr. Trump’s allies and Satya Nadella, the chief executive of Microsoft, spoke over the weekend with the president. ‘Microsoft fully appreciates the importance of addressing the president’s concerns,’ the company said in a statement. ‘It is committed to acquiring TikTok subject to a complete security review and providing proper economic benefits to the United States, including the United States Treasury.’”
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT LOOKING INTO INTUIT DEAL: “The Department of Justice is scrutinizing Silicon Valley giant Intuit’s $7 billion takeover attempt of Credit Karma, an upstart personal finance firm that became a competitor when it launched a free tax prep offering that challenges Intuit’s TurboTax product,” ProPublica’s Justin Elliott and Paul Kiel report. “The probe comes after ProPublica first reported in February that antitrust experts viewed the deal as concerning because it could allow a dominant firm to eliminate a competitor with an innovative business model.”
— Intuit already controls about two-thirds of the online tax preparation market, and Justice Department lawyers worry that allowing the company “to snuff out a promising startup could harm American consumers seeking free tax prep options, according to a June memo from the company side that describes Intuit’s legal strategy, which was obtained by ProPublica.”
IF YOU MISSED IT THIS WEEKEND: The New York Times’ Ken Vogel and Glenn Thrush have a deep look at Joe Biden’s ties to the influence industry. Exhibit A: Biden’s longtime aide Steve Ricchetti. “Mr. Ricchetti spent years as a registered lobbyist, and through a company called Ricchetti Consulting Group is being paid by both the Biden campaign and AT&T, his only corporate client over the last nine years. Anita Dunn, Mr. Biden’s chief campaign strategist, was also still doing work for AT&T last month. As of Saturday Ms. Dunn is taking ‘an official leave’ from her firm, which had been paid millions in recent years to help an airline advocacy group, while also providing communications advice to an Israeli spyware firm and the fugitive Nissan executive Carlos Ghosn, for whom the firm had been registered to lobby. It ended all those client relationships in the past year.”
— “A leading candidate to become defense secretary, Michèle A. Flournoy, started a firm whose website lists work for financial services, technology and pharmaceutical companies. The former C.I.A. and Obama national security official Avril Haines, who consulted for the data-mining company Palantir, on Saturday resigned from Ms. Flournoy’s firm to begin work on Mr. Biden’s transition team.”
— USTelecom has hired Josh Bercu as vice president of policy and advocacy and Kayla Gardner as director of policy and partnership. Bercu was previously a partner in Wilkinson Barker Knauer’s privacy and cybersecurity practice. Gardner, who will work on regulatory issues for the trade group, previously worked for the Wireless Infrastructure Association.
— The American Council of Life Insurers has hired Cindy Goff as vice president for supplemental benefits and group insurance. She was previously an in-house lobbyist for Aflac. She’ll report to Julie Spiezio, the trade group’s senior vice president and general counsel.
— The Credit Union National Association has hired Damon Smith as senior director of advocacy and counsel. He was previously a partner at Jenner & Block.
Hegar Gross Victory Fund (MJ for Texas, Dr. Al Gross for U.S. Senate)
Mike Siegel Victory Fund (Mike Siegel for Congress, Texas Democratic Party)
New York Tough (Reps. Anthony Brindisi, Antonio Delgado and Max Rose; Jackie Gordon for Congress; Goroff for Congress)
Valenzuela Victory Fund (Candace for 24, Texas Democratic Party)
BAPS Public Affairs, Inc. Political Action Committee (BAPS PAC) (PAC)
Coalition for Essential Workers (PAC)
Democratic Victory PAC, Inc. (Super PAC)
Jewish Unity PAC (Super PAC)
Restore Oklahoma (Super PAC)
Blank Rome Government Relations: The Abraham Group LLC (on behalf of Iberdrola, S.A.)
Communications Preferred LLC: RER Solutions, Inc.
Envision Strategy: Cigna
Envision Strategy: JCAD Corp
Envision Strategy: W2LS Corp
Ernest C Baynard IV: Data Robot
Policy Navigation Group: Keller & Heckman on behalf of SunCoke Energy, Inc.
Policy Navigation Group: The 3M Company
Williams and Jensen, PLLC: Clark Street Associates on behalf of TydenBrooks
Williams and Jensen, PLLC: Clark Street Associates on behalf of Western Digital
American Continental Group: Johnson Controls, Inc.
Anway Long Group: Phlow Corporation
Calista Corporation: Calista Corporation
Cordone Consulting LLC: United Fresh Produce Association
First Principles Strategies, LLC: Squire Patton Boggs on behalf of Molnlycke Health Care US, LLC
Horizon Government Affairs: Action Now Initiative, LLC
Jack Ferguson Assoc., Inc.: Birchwood Homes
Jack Ferguson Assoc., Inc.: Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound
Pat Younger: Port of Mansfield