With Daniel Lippman
WHO GOT LEFT OUT OF SENATE REPUBLICANS’ PACKAGE: The coronavirus relief package unveiled by Senate Republicans on Friday included wins for trade groups from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to Airports Council International-North America to the U.S. Travel Association. But other industries weren’t so lucky. Joe Moore, the president and chief executive of the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday that “we are deeply concerned that the proposed legislation fails to address our industry’s need for immediate financial relief.”
— Nearly 5,000 health and fitness clubs have been ordered to close in Arizona and California in recent weeks as coronavirus cases have spiked in those states, and thousands more in other states have been shut down for months, Moore wrote in the letter. He urged McConnell and Schumer to issue “a blanket waiver for health and fitness clubs” from the Small Business Administration’s rules limiting who can apply for Paycheck Protection Program loans, along with tax breaks for gym membership.
— Gyms and health clubs aren’t the only businesses disappointed by the Senate Republican proposal. The National Association of Broadcasters and the News Media Alliance have lobbied for months to change the Paycheck Protection Program’s rules to allow small newspapers and radio stations owned by companies with more than 500 employees apply for the loans. House Democrats included the change in the bill they passed in May but Senate Republicans left it out of their package.
— The trade groups are now pushing to get it into the final package with the help of Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.). “We’ve got good support in the House and we think particularly with Senator Cantwell’s support” they can get it over the line, David Chavern, the News Media Alliance’s president and chief executive, said in an interview.
— Audrey Fix Schaefer, meanwhile, a spokesperson for Washington venues including the 9:30 Club and the Anthem, took to The Washington Post on Thursday to plead for help for music venues. “When surveyed, National Independent Venue Association members said if the shutdown lasts six months or longer and there’s no federal assistance, 90 percent would fold forever,” she wrote. “Believe them.”
— The measures proposed by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who assembled the small business bill that’s included in Senate Republicans’ package, won’t help venues for several reasons, Schaefer wrote in an email to PI. Only businesses with fewer than 300 employees are eligible to apply for second loans through the Paycheck Protection Program, for instance, precluding venues with many part time employees from applying — including the Anthem, which has more than 500 part-time employees. If the bill made second loans available to businesses with fewer than 300 full-time equivalent employees, the Anthem and the National Independent Venue Association’s other members would be able to apply.
— The trade group is pressing lawmakers to pass bills tailored to helping the industry instead, including legislation introduced last week by Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). (Reps. Roger Williams (R-Texas) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) have a companion bill in the House.) The legislation got a boost from an unlikely lobbyist on Thursday: Diplo, the DJ and producer, who urged Rubio to take up Cornyn and Klobuchar’s bill. “We can’t afford to let these venues die,” he wrote to his 5.8 million Instagram followers. “They’re too important. The future of our industry depends on it. Senator Rubio, it’s time to step up and do the right thing.”
Good afternoon, and welcome to PI. My quarantine soundtrack recently has relied on four Stones albums in heavy rotation: “Beggars Banquet,” “Let It Bleed,” “Sticky Fingers” and “Exile on Main St.” What are you listening to this terrible summer? And more importantly: What’s going on out there? Send me your best lobbying tips and gossip: [email protected]. You can also follow me on Twitter: @theodoricmeyer.
POTENTIAL FOR A DEAL WITHOUT LIABILITY LIMITS SPOOKS CHAMBER: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its allies have lobbied Congress for months to include provisions in the next coronavirus relief package that would make it harder for those sickened by coronavirus to sue businesses, universities and other institutions. While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he won’t accept any relief package that doesn’t include liability protections, President Donald Trump hasn’t attached the same importance to making sure they’re in the bill.
— The Washington Post reported this morning that the White House was willing to accept a deal without such provisions, and Trump himself suggested as much on Thursday. “We want to work on the evictions so that people don’t get evicted. We’ll work on the payments for the people,” Trump told reporters. “And the rest of it, we’re so far apart, we don’t care. We really don’t care.”
— Trump’s ambivalence appears to have rattled the Chamber. “It is impossible to understate what an enormous mistake it would be to exclude temporary liability protections from the next coronavirus relief package,” Neil Bradley, the Chamber’s chief policy officer, said in a statement this morning.
— The Chamber also sent a letter to lawmakers on Thursday afternoon formally backing the liability provisions in the package Senate Republicans rolled out this week. Nearly 500 trade groups signed onto the letter, including Airlines for America, the American Bankers Association, the American Chemistry Council, the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the Motion Picture Association, the National Association of Broadcasters, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Association of Realtors, the National Retail Federation and Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.
— On the other side of the lobbying battle is the American Association for Justice, which represents trial lawyers. Julia Duncan, a lobbyist for the trade group, said Democratic lawmakers appear unwilling to accept the liability provisions in the Senate Republican package. “All I’ve heard from offices is that it is an absolute nonstarter,” she said on Wednesday. The trade group is pushing Democrats to hold the line.
TRADE GROUPS LOBBY AGAINST PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM RESTRICTIONS: The American Society of Association Executives — a trade group for the people who lead trade groups — is lobbying to remove provisions included in Senate Republicans’ coronavirus relief package that bar trade groups from receiving Paycheck Protection Program loans if lobbying accounts for 10 percent or more of their activities, The Hill’s Alex Gangitano and John Bowden report. “[I]t’s vague and confusing and is going to create a lot of uncertainty for organizations trying to figure out if they can apply,” Chris Vest, the trade group’s director of public policy, told The Hill. The relief bill passed by House Democrats in May would allow trade groups to apply for the loans without similar restrictions.
THE ART OF WINNING AN UNFAIR GAME: “Once ignored, underfunded and often written off, Democratic state party organizations are harvesting record-setting cash heading into the 2020 election, reasserting their roles inside the Democratic infrastructure after suffering for years in competition with super PACs and campaigns,” POLITICO’s Elena Schneider, David Siders and Zach Montellaro report. “Across 15 possible battleground states, nearly every Democratic state party group is hitting higher quarterly fundraising totals or holding more cash on hand in their federal accounts than they did at this point during the 2016 presidential campaign, and a majority of them did both, according to a POLITICO analysis of Federal Election Commission filings and interviews with party officials.”
— “Many of these state parties — responsible for field operations and coordinating a ticket-wide campaign — are seeing three, four or five times the amount of cash they did before. … ‘A lot of donors are looking for the “Moneyball” opportunity, where a dollar has the greatest possible impact,’ said Ben Wikler, the Wisconsin Democratic Party chairman, citing Michael Lewis’ book about the Oakland Athletics’ pioneering data-driven approach to baseball, a style that state parties are now trying to mimic with their own pitches to top donors.”
— Dance/USA and OPERA America have hired Tony Bennett Shivers as director of government affairs. He’s registered as a lobbyist. He was previously United Way Worldwide’s director of education policy.
— McLarty Associates has hired Vanessa Rubio as a senior adviser. She is a former Mexican senator.
Jerry Carl Victory Committee (Jerry Carl for Congress, Conservative American Republican Leadership PAC, NRCC)
Count Me In to Win Action (Hybrid PAC)
Protect the Map (Hybrid PAC)
Texas Red (Leadership PAC: Ronny Jackson)
Uniting Missouri PAC (Hybrid PAC)
Bridge Public Affairs, LLC: 5th Street Station, LLC
Bridge Public Affairs, LLC: Viz.ai
Griffin Global Outreach LLC: Engineering and Software System Solutions, Inc. dba ES3
Husch Blackwell Strategies: Husch Blackwell LLP
ML Strategies, LLC: MSS, Inc. (on behalf of Shanghai Liangrun Biomedicine Technology Co.)
Sidley Austin LLP: DigiCert, Inc.
The KPM Group Dc LLC: Aeglea BioTherapeutics, Inc.
The KPM Group Dc LLC: Gritstone Oncology
The KPM Group Dc LLC: Summit Therapeutics plc
The Vogel Group: Hyliion, Inc.
Bridge Public Affairs, LLC: The Preservation Group
Clause Law P.L.L.C.: Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake
Federal Management Strategies, Inc.: Association of Oregon & California Counties
Petsmart, Inc.: PetSmart, Inc.
Surterra Holdings Inc.Parallel Brands, Inc. (in replacement of Surterra Holdings, Inc.): Parallel Brands Inc (in replacement of Surterra Holdings Inc )
Wise Advice Inc.: Lee County, Florida