Trade groups sue administration over visas


With Daniel Lippman

TRADE GROUPS SUE ADMINISTRATION OVER VISAS: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers and other trade groups sued the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday over President Donald Trump’s move last month to stop issuing new H-1B and other worker visas. “Manufacturers and program sponsors are going to court because these restrictions are far outside the bounds of the law and would deal a severe blow to our industry,” Linda Kelly, the National Association of Manufacturers’ senior vice president and general counsel, said in a statement. “We cannot let this stand.”

— Trump’s order “exceeds the statutory and constitutional authority of the Executive, and thus the federal departments and officials involved may not lawfully implement or enforce it,” the trade groups argue in the complaint. The Department of Homeland Security didn’t respond to a request for comment.

NEW BUSINESS: The quarterly lobbying filing deadline typically brings a rush of new registrations, and this quarter was no exception. Moderna, the Cambridge, Mass., pharmaceutical company working to develop a coronavirus vaccine, has hired Tracy Spicer of Avenue Solutions to lobby on vaccine issues. Twitter has added TwinLogic Strategies to its lineup of outside lobbying firms, which also includes the Integrated Solutions Group and the Joseph Group.

— And T-Mobile has hired BL Partners Group to lobby on telecommunications, financial services and tax reform issues, according to a disclosure filing. The company also recently brought on Howard Symons of Jenner & Block and retains about 30 other Washington lobbying firms.

FLYING IN (VIRTUALLY): The International Franchise Association is kicking off its virtual fly-in today, as part of the trade group’s push to expand the Paycheck Protection Program and get its other asks into the next coronavirus relief package. The trade group’s members will hold calls and Zooms with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), among others.

Good afternoon, and welcome to PI. Tips: [email protected]. Twitter: @theodoricmeyer.

VITTER, VILLARAIGOSA MOVE UP AT MERCURY: Mercury has promoted two of the former politicians in its ranks — former Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa — to partner, according to the firm. Vitter landed at the firm in 2017 after losing the Louisiana governor’s race the previous year and has lobbied for a variety of clients, including the American Chemistry Council, the Chinese video surveillance company Hikvision and the Libyan government. Villaraigosa, a Democrat, joined Mercury in 2018 but hasn’t registered to lobby. Other former politicians in Mercury’s stable include former Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and former Reps. Joe Garcia (D-Fla.), Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.), Max Sandlin (D-Texas) and Vin Weber (R-Minn.).

HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES OFFICIAL’S WIFE LOBBIED AGENCY: Emily Hargan, who is married to Department of Health and Human Services Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan, has been lobbying the agency for roughly one month on behalf of health care clients, including Nostrum Pharmaceuticals, the blood glucose monitor company Smart Meter, and TL Management, which runs a chain of nursing homes,” STAT’s Nicholas Florko reports. “Eric Hargan, whose role as the second-in-command at the agency gives him power to weigh in on a host of issues that affect those companies, from drug pricing to nursing home oversight to the federal government’s pandemic response efforts, has since recused himself from all matters on which his wife lobbied HHS, a spokesperson told STAT.”

— Emily Hargan had never registered as a lobbyist until June. Although she “does not appear to have a background in health care, her lobbying focused on hypertechnical issues. She directly lobbied officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and HHS, for example, to reconsider a highly complex calculation for nitrofurantoin, a generic antibiotic that Nostrum Pharmaceuticals manufactures. The calculation plays a central role in determining how much Nostrum owes the federal government in Medicaid rebates. The company has some familiarity with controversy over that product — it made headlines in 2018 for jacking up the price of the same product by 400%.”

TRUCKING COMPANY SPENT HEAVILY ON LOBBYING BEFORE GETTING LOAN: A “trucking company that received a $700 million coronavirus relief loan spent $210,000 on lobbyists in the days before it reached an agreement with Treasury on that loan, according to lobbying reports filed with the Senate this week,” Roll Call’s Jessica Wehrman reports. The company, YRC Worldwide, spent more than three times as much on lobbying in the second quarter as it did in all of last year. “Now, a bipartisan congressional panel is criticizing the loan the company received as part of the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus law, saying ‘it is far from clear’ that YRC Worldwide is eligible for a lending mechanism originally designed for companies critical to national security, such as Boeing.”

TechNet has promoted Peter Chandler to vice president of federal policy and government relations. He was previously a director at the trade group and is also a former chief of staff to Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.).

Barrasso Daines Victory Fund (Sens. Steve Daines and John Barrasso)
Grassley Hawkeye JFC (Sen. Chuck Grassley, The Hawkeye PAC, Goldfinch PAC, Republican Party of Iowa)
Lewis-Fischbach Victory Committee (Fischbach for Congress, Jason Lewis for Senate)
Risch Perdue Victory Committee (Sens. Jim Risch and David Perdue)

Conservative American Republican Leadership PAC (Leadership PAC: Jerry Lee Carl Jr.)
Democratic Mayors PAC (Hybrid PAC)
Forward PAC Committee (Hybrid PAC)
Had Enough (PAC)
The Unjustified, Inc. (Super PAC)

Black Diamond Strategies LLC: DCI Group, L.L.C. (on behalf of PRO EM National Event Services)
Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, PC: Summit Strategies on behalf of Ascend Performance Materials
Cornerstone Government Affairs, Inc.: Zoono Protect America
DLA Piper LLP (US): Palo Alto Networks, Inc.
Masiello, Martucci, Calabrese & Associates: Erie County Water Authority

Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz /The Daschle Group: L3Harris Technologies (Formerly L3 Technologies)
Ballard Partners: NSLG 1 LLC (Formerly Known As B2 Holdings LLC)
Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, PC: Orsted Wind Power North America LLC (Formerly Deepwater Wind LLC)
DiNino Associates, LLC: Cornerstone Government Affairs obo The Natural Stone Institute
Franklin Square Group, LLC: eBay Inc (Stubhub)
Magic Leap, Inc.: Magic Leap, Inc.
Michael Torrey Associates, LLC: Dean Foods Company
The Ferguson Group, LLC: City of Palmdale, CA
The Ferguson Group, LLC: El Paso County, CO





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