Agenda: 6/18/17

By S-3 Public Affairs

S-3 PA Exclusive:  We are hearing it is more and more likely the House will proceed on FY18 appropriations by moving a 12 bill omnibus. The House GOP leadership is tentatively planning to move this package the last week in July before the August recess. This idea has gained traction when it was first proposed by Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA) gaining the support of key cardinals, conservatives, and congressional leaders. As a result, we expect the pace of subcommittee markups will increase. We are hearing that Defense approps will markup in subcommittee on June 26 and Agriculture and Legislative Branch are also possibilities for that week. We will provide more details on the strategy and schedule as they become available.

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Fact of the Week: Just one day before reports confirmed Amazon was buying Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, Bloomberg reported Amazon’s interest in buying Slack for a reported $9 billion, which would have been “a deal that would be the biggest ever for the internet-commerce giant.” Recode’s Kara Swisher adds that Slack, “is in the midst of raising $500 million at a $5 billion post-money valuation, an effort that has attracted several potential buyers interested in taking out the company ahead of the funding,” but its founder and CEO, “has long wanted to build his own big company and adding an enormous funding round would allow Slack some breathing room to get to cash flow positive.”

In the Administration: Tech Week: President Trump’s American Technology Council is hosting its inaugural meeting on Monday. Recode reports, the meeting will include, “the chief executives of Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Intel, Oracle, and others,” including VM Ware. They will, “discuss ways to modernize government and the services it offers its citizens — and tackle policy challenges like high-skilled immigration.” Tech Week will continue Thursday with a meeting organized by the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Buzzfeed reports attendees will discuss, “emerging technologies trends including the Internet of Things, commercial drones, and the funding of those companies.”

Also this week, President Trump will head to Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Wednesday for a campaign rally.

On the Hill: As talks on health care continue in the Senate, budget and nomination hearings dominate most of the public schedules.

Budget Hearings:

Nomination Hearings: Tuesday: Senate Armed Services Committee hearing for Deputy Defense Secretary nominee Patrick Shanahan; Thursday: Senate Armed Services Committee hearing for Navy Secretary nominee Richard V. Spencer; Senate Agriculture Committee hearing for Commodity Futures Trading Commission nominee J. Christopher Giancarlo, who now serves in an acting capacity. Last week, President Trump also nominated Dawn Stump to serve on the CFTC.

Also this week:  

In the Media: Variety reports on the “new normal” for cable news in the Trump era. “According to the Pew Research Center, viewership for the primetime schedules of CNN, Fox News and MSNBC increased 55% to 4.8 million viewers in 2016, while daytime cable viewership grew 36%. In the first half of this year, viewing levels have not shrunk. …  it’s no surprise that combined viewing of the Big Three cable-news networks — Fox News Channel, CNN and MSNBC — is up 33% through the first week of June compared with the same period last year, according to data from Pivotal Research Group analyst Brian Wieser.” With increased audiences comes increased advertising spending. “Media buyers, who control millions of dollars in advertising spending, recognize these days that it’s hard to beat real-world politics for intrigue and suspense.”

Axios’ Amy Harder reported just this week about a new multi-month, multi-million dollar campaign on the economic and jobs benefits of wind energy, targeting the administration specifically. “The advertisements will run on cable, radio and digital outlets across Washington D.C., with the president, his new administration and Congress as the target audience. The ads will run on Fox and Friends, which Trump watches regularly, along with other influential cable shows.”

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!

Agenda: 6/11/17

By S-3 Public Affairs

Fact of the Week: This town, the one that clung to its Blackberries well after the smartphone landscape boomed, is considered the #3 U.S. tech city. Bisnow reports, “The nation’s capital ranked as the No. 3 tech city in the U.S. in Cushman & Wakefield’s Tech Cities 1.0 report, coming in behind San Jose and San Francisco. … [The report] analyzed factors such as talent, capital and growth opportunity. The report also considered the region surrounding the cities, so D.C. benefited from biotech hubs in suburban Maryland and NoVa’s defense, cybersecurity and aerospace industries.” Next we need the Northern Virginia wine scene to catch up with the West Coast.

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In the Administration: President Trump this week is shifting his focus to apprenticeships and domestic jobs. Reuters’ Roberta Rampton reports, “Next week will be ‘workforce development week’ where the White House highlights plans to combat the skills gap. …Trump’s plan has been in the works for months, led by his daughter Ivanka Trump, adviser Reed Cordish, and Trump’s secretaries of labor, education and commerce.”

  • Tuesday: President Trump, Ivanka Trump, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta and Gov. Scott Walker will tour and participate in a roundtable discussion at Waukesha County Technical College in Wisconsin;
  • Wednesday: Ivanka Trump convenes a CEO roundtable discussion of workforce development and apprenticeship programs at the White House; President Trump will address apprenticeships and worker training programs in a speech at the Labor Department;
  • Thursday: President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Ivanka Trump, and Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta will participate in a roundtable discussion at the White House with eight governors from states with workforce development initiatives.

On the Hill: Administration officials will blanket Capitol Hill this week with continued hearings on the president’s budget request.

  • Secretary James Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford on the Defense Department budget: Monday at House Armed Services, Tuesday at Senate Armed Services, Wednesday at Senate Appropriations, Thursday at House Appropriations;
  • Acting ICE Director Homan, Customs and Border Protection Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner Wagner and U.S. Border Patrol Acting Chief Provost at the House Appropriations Subcommittee Tuesday on the Customs and Border Protection budget;
  • Secretary Mnuchin on the Treasury Department’s budget: Monday at House Appropriations, Tuesday at Senate Budget; Wednesday at House Appropriations on the International Programs budget;
  • Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein expected at the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on the Justice Department budget on Tuesday; Attorney General Sessions at the Senate Intelligence Committee;
  • Secretary Sonny Perdue and Department of Agriculture Chief Economist Dr. Robert Johansson on the Agriculture budget at Senate Appropriations Tuesday;
  • Secretary Chao on the Transportation budget: Tuesday at Senate Appropriations, Thursday at House Appropriations;
  • Secretary Tillerson on the State Department budget: Tuesday atSenate Foreign Relations Committee and Senate Appropriations Subcommittee, Wednesday at House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Appropriations Subcommittee in the afternoon;
  • Secretary Price on Thursday at the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the HHS budget;
  • Administrator Pruitt Thursday at the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the EPA’s budget;
  • Acting Director Andrew McCabe Friday at the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the FBI budget;

Also this week:

In the Media: We all know Twitter has made more headlines of late, butAdWeek also points out: “Video views have grown by 220 times on Twitter in the last 12 month.” Another one of the, “13 Noteworthy Digital Media and Marketing Stats From This Week,” as compiled by AdWeek: “Kantar Mediaanalyzed the $117.9 million spent on marketing in the U.S. last year by Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat and Pinterest. Facebook by far outspent its competitors in 2016, running campaigns to the tune of $80.7 million, which represents a 260 percent year-over-year increase.”

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!

Agenda: 6/4/17

By S-3 Public Affairs

Fact of the Week: While many retail stores figure out how best to navigate in an online-shopping world (e.g. J.Crew), Amazon is doing a bit of the opposite. Axios’ Alexi McCammond writes on its new Future of Work stream, “Amazon had $136b in sales last year — 43% of all online shopping. But there’s a lot more money to be made in the offline retail industry. In 2016, e-commerce only made up $1.9 trillion of the $22 trillion in total retail sales, according to eMarketer, so the upside of expanding into the offline market is massive.” Amazon “now has nine stores total — seven bookstores (with plans to open six more) and two grocery stores,” and it is “incorporating data it gathers online into the offline world, with the objective of broadening its already-commanding place in global retail.”

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In the Administration: President Trump is shifting his focus to infrastructure, with plans Monday to outline his agenda for air traffic control reform in a White House event. Cincinnati.com reports the president will continue the week with a speech in Ohio on Wednesday. A White House spokeswoman told the outlet: “‘Next week President Trump will launch infrastructure week which is a critical pillar of the president’s agenda to promote job creation and grow the U.S.economy.’ …The president’s visit to southern Ohio will be part of a broader push by the White House to move ahead with Trump’s campaign promise to spend $1 trillion over 10 years on infrastructure investments, according to the White House.”

Rounding out the president’s Infrastructure Week:

On the Hill: Both sides of the Capitol have packed schedules this week, but we expect most focus to be on Thursday’s scheduled testimony from James Comey, as well as FAA reauthorization, the House vote on the CHOICE Act, and continued hearings on the president’s budget. On top of the official business outlined below, conversations continue in the Senate on a path forward on health care.

In the Media: Megyn Kelly returns to TV tonight with a one-on-one interview with Putin. Among her viewers, Forbes notes, the White House will likely be watching. Meanwhile, Cable News is still thriving in the Trump era. TV Newser shares key takeaways from a recent Pew report: “According to Pew’s analysis of SNL Kagan data, total revenue across Fox News, CNN and MSNBC was projected to increase by +19.5 percent in 2016, to a total of nearly $5 billion. This includes the two main sources of revenue: advertising and subscriber/licensing fees.”

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!

Agenda: 5/28/17

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!

Agenda: 5/21/17

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!

Agenda 5/14/17

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!

Agenda 5/7/17

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!

Agenda 4/30/17

By S-3 Public Affairs

A note from S-3 Public Affairs: We are thrilled this week to welcome Arjun Mody to our growing team!

 Fact of the Week: Startups are on the rise. Bloomberg reports, “The Bloomberg U.S. Startups Barometer rose 0.6 percent from a year earlier, marking the first year-over-year increase since the end of 2015.” AxiosKia Koklitcheva adds, “The ‘Internet of Things’ category is starting to mature in terms of startup investments, according to a new report from Silicon Valley venture capital firm Wing.” While there were fewer deals in 2016, there was more money invested – with the most in the automotive and health tech spaces.

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In the Administration: President Trump marked is first 100 days with a campaign-style rally “100 miles away from Washington’s swamp,” in Pennsylvania. As Washington celebrated the White House Correspondents’ Association, President Trump reconnected with his campaign rhetoric – America first and media criticism. All this while his administration shifts its focus to tax reform, hoping it will deliver the major legislative win the president is looking for.

Notably absent from his first 100 days op-ed in The Washington Post: any mention of health reform. That was left to Kellyanne Conway writing in The USA Today, giving it a passing mention: “It took President Obama more than a year to pass Obamacare. It has taken President Trump a matter of weeks to fashion a replacement for Obamacare that lowers costs, increases access and improves quality in health care.”

On the Hill: Focus will remain on a spending bill after Congress on Friday bought itself an extra week to negotiate.

While the partisan debate over health care (both bigger picture repeal/replace and more immediately how to handle the cost-sharing reductions payments) is also sure to continue, there are some members in the Capitol who are ready to move on. Reps. Jim Himes and Charlie Dent write in the Washington Post this weekend: “As a start, and consistent with the president’s priorities, we have a unique opportunity to make progress on a desperately needed national infrastructure program and an overhaul of our uncompetitive and byzantine tax code.”

Also this week:

In the Media: Look no further than recent ESPN layoffs to understand just how drastically the media landscape is changing. The New York Times reports, “The “Worldwide Leader in Sports,” as ESPN brands itself, laid off scores of journalists and on-air talent on Wednesday, showing that even the most formidable media kingdom was vulnerable to the transformation upending the sports broadcasting industry as more and more people turn away from cable television.”

While most of the media world grapples with changing consumption habits, political media, is focused on how to navigate the changing Washington landscape – a shift on full display at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner.

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!