Agenda: 2/11/18

By S-3 Public Affairs

FACT OF THE WEEK:

Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods last year raised attention for the growing food delivery industry. Just this week Amazon announced free two hour Whole Foods delivery in a handful of markets (DC is not one yet, sorry). CNBC reports, “According to projections, 70 percent of shoppers will be buying some portion of their groceries online within five to seven years. That could equate to $100 billion in total spending. … The shift is already evident: 49 percent of all shoppers bought a packaged good online within the last three months. That includes 61 percent of millennials and 44 percent of baby boomers. It also includes 54 percent of affluent households and 40 percent of low-income households.”

This trend is making an impact not just on grocery stores but also on the restaurant industry. Bloomberg reports, “Yum! Brands Inc., the corporate parent of Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell, said Thursday it would buy a $200 million stake in GrubHub Inc., which will help deliver food from thousands of KFC and Taco Bell restaurants across the U.S., giving those chains a big lift in a growing market. … Yum is essentially acknowledging that, to build an audience for KFC and Taco Bell delivery, it needs access to GrubHub’s fast-growing customer base, which included 14.5 million active diners in the latest fiscal year.”

The New Yorker talked to several restaurants about the negative impact this is having on their businesses. “In 2016, delivery transactions made up about seven per cent of total U.S. restaurant sales. In a research report published last June, analysts at Morgan Stanley predicted that that number could eventually reach forty per cent of all restaurant sales, and an even higher percentage in urban areas and among casual restaurants, where delivery is concentrated.”

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IN THE MEDIA:

Recode reports on Snapchat’s latest effort to attract new advertisers: “Snap wants to attract new advertisers — specifically, it wants to attract advertisers who are spending money with its biggest competitor, Instagram. To lure them over, Snap is reaching out to those advertisers that are buying vertical video ads on Instagram and other competitors, and offering them free advertising credits to give Snapchat a try. … The program is technically open to advertisers who bought vertical video ads anywhere else online, but Instagram is the most likely place Snap will find new targets.”

IN THE ADMINISTRATION:

The White House is expected to release its FY2019 budget and infrastructure proposal both on Monday. OMB Director Mick Mulvaney will head to Capitol Hill for several budget hearings this week, beginning with the Senate Budget Committee on Tuesday and House Budget Committee on Wednesday. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin will testify at the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday and at the House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday.

ON THE HILL:

It’s a busy week on Capitol Hill with several hearings on the White House Budget request. The Senate is also expected to begin debate on immigration on Monday evening. The House is expected to consider two financial services bills.

Monday (February 12): Senate Foreign Relations Committee closed hearing on the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, with testimony from Assistant Secretaries of State A. Wess Mitchell and Christopher Ford;

Tuesday (February 13): Senate Budget Committee hearing on the President’s FY2019 budget proposal, with testimony from Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney; Senate Intelligence Committee open hearing on worldwide threats; Senate HELP Committee hearing on reauthorization of FDA animal drug user fees; Senate Armed Services Subcommittee hearing on the Defense Department’s role in protecting democratic elections; House Rules Committee meeting on the TRID Improvement Act, Protecting Consumers’ Access to Credit Act, and ADA Education and Reform Act;

Wednesday (February 14): Senate Finance Committee hearings on the President’s FY2019 budget with testimony from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in the morning and from Acting IRS Commissioner and Assistant Treasury Secretary for Tax Policy David Kautter in the afternoonSenate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nominations of Joel Carson (to be a Circuit Judge for the Tenth Circuit), Colm Connolly (for a District of Delaware judgeship), William Jung (for a Middle District of Florida judgeship), Maryellen Noreika (for a District of Delaware judgeship), and Ryan Holte (for a Court of Federal Claims judgeship); Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the President’s four nominees to the Federal Trade Commission; Senate Small Business Committee hearing on the nominations of David Tryon to be chief counsel for advocacy of the Small Business Administration and Hannibal Ware to be its inspector general; Senate Armed Services Subcommittee hearings on the current readiness of U.S. forces and military and civilian personnel program and military family readiness; Senate HELP Committee hearing on the nomination of John Ring to be a member of the National Labor Relations Board; Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs business meeting to consider the nominees for director and deputy director of the Office of Personnel Management, 9 bills, and 22 postal naming bills; Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee legislative hearing on 19 National Parks bills; House Budget Committee hearing on the President’s FY2019 budget with testimony from Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney; House Ways and Means Committee hearing on the Department of Health and Human Services’ FY2019 budget request; House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee oversight hearing of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with testimony from Deputy Administrator Heidi King and subcommittee hearings on the impact of healthcare consolidation and new source review permitting challenges for manufacturing and infrastructureHouse Financial Services Subcommittee hearings on the current data security and breach notification regulatory regime and 11 legislative proposals regarding derivativesHouse Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee joint hearing on emerging applications for blockchain technology; House Armed Services Committee hearing on the military and security challenges and posture in the Indo-Pacific region and subcommittee hearing on Air Force readiness posture; House Foreign Services Committee hearing on modernizing food aid and subcommittee hearings on Israel, the Palestinians, and the Administration’s peace plan and advancing U.S. interests through the Organization of American StatesHouse Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee hearing on artificial intelligence; House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee hearing on the government’s management of Native American schools; House Natural Resources Committee markup on 3 national monument and redesignation bills and subcommittee oversight hearing on the state of the nation’s water and power infrastructure; Bipartisan Policy Center event on budgeting for biodefense, featuring Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC);

Thursday (February 15): Senate Finance Committee hearing on the President’s FY2019 budget, with testimony from Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar; Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the nominations of Andrea Thompson (to be Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security), Francis Fannon (to be Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources), and Susan Thornton (to be Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs); Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee hearing on the state of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, with testimony from Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo; Senate Judiciary Committee executive business meeting to vote on the nominations of 4 judicial nominees and Adam Klein to be chairman of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board and on the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act; Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the Defense Authorization request for U.S. Northern Command and U.S. Southern Command; House Ways and Means Committee hearing on the President’s FY2019 budget proposal, with testimony from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin; House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee oversight hearing of the Department of Health and Human Services; House Financial Services Subcommittee hearings on de-risking and its effect on access to financial services and the financial nexus of terrorism, drug trafficking, and organized crimeHouse Homeland Security Subcommittee hearings on industry views of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards program and TSA’s outreach and traveler engagement effortsHouse Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee hearing on the General Services Administration; House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on the effect of sanctuary city policies on the ability to combat the opioid epidemic; House Armed Services Subcommittee hearings on strategic competition with China and the FY2019 budget request for U.S. Special Operations Forces and CommandHouse Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee oversight hearing of positive train control implementation in the U.S.; House Natural Resources Committee legislative hearings on the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act and 5 bills and subcommittee oversight hearing on the costs of denying border patrol access; House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee hearing on mentoring, training, and apprenticeships for STEM education and careers; House Small Business Subcommittee hearing on how agritech is revitalizing the Heartland; House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee joint hearing on the implications of the opioid epidemic for America’s workplaces; The Ripon Society event on the goals of the Main Street Caucus, featuring Chairman Rodney Davis (R-IL) and Co-Chairs Jeff Denham (R-CA) and Fred Upton (R-MI); American Enterprise Institute event on securing the internet of things, with Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA); 

Friday (February 16): Senate Finance Subcommittee hearing on trade enforcement and infrastructure; House Energy and Oversight Subcommittee oversight hearing of the Federal Communications Commission; House Financial Services Subcommittee hearing on the administration’s perspective on CFIUS.

 

Agenda: 2/4/18

By S-3 Public Affairs

Still confused as to what bitcoin actually is? Square, the payment processing company, this week made an illustrated, digital story to explain it. The Verge writes, “The illustrations depict bitcoins as shiny letter Bs that can be chopped up into valuable fractions, kind of like a huge diamond. They’re made with “very complex math,” as explained by an illustration where computers with arms patch up a letter B while smiling. It goes on to cover exchanges, the blockchain, and even hints at the currency’s infamous volatility. The illustrated guide to Bitcoin is surprisingly clear, if looking at Dr. Seuss-esque cartoons that bear no semblance to reality can make an increasingly complex subject more comprehensible. To be fair, none of the text in the guide is wrong (depending on how you feel about the gold standard), and it does come with a disclaimer at the bottom to ‘please make wise financial decisions.’”

Expect bitcoin to be a topic of discussion next week when SEC Chairman Jay Clayton heads to the Hill Tuesday for a Senate Banking Committee hearing.

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IN THE MEDIA:

If you, your friend, or your kid has ever studied abroad, you’ve likely used WhatsApp. Recode this week reports, “Facebook and WhatsApp boasted record usership — 2.13 billion and 1.5 billion monthly active users, respectively — according to Facebook’s fourth-quarter earnings yesterday. That’s despite a small decline in the number of users in the U.S. and Canada. WhatsApp is now bigger than Messenger, its rival/sibling messaging app. It’s also far bigger than Instagram. Facebook’s namesake app, of course, remains, on top.” TechCrunch adds a note about WhatsApp’s growth noting the 1.5 billion monthly active users is, “compared to 1.3 billion monthly users and 1 billion daily active users in July. The massive growth makes Facebook’s choice to pay more than $19 billion to acquire WhatsApp look prescient.

BONUS MEDIA: The AP reports, “It’ll be much easier to watch the Super Bowl online for free this year. NBC won’t require proof of a cable or satellite TV subscription, meaning that anyone in the U.S. can watch the game online. Plus, you’ll be able to watch the game on a phone even if you aren’t a Verizon customer, as was a requirement before.”

IN THE ADMINISTRATION

President Trump heads to Cincinnati Monday where he will discuss the benefits of tax reform. The president is speaking at a factory that gave each of its employees $1,000 bonuses thanks to the tax bill. Vice President Pence this week heads to Japan ahead of his planned attendance at the Olympics in South Korea. More on his trip in Axios AM here

ON THE HILL

The Senate is in session this week and the House is scheduled to be in session through Wednesday; House Democrats are scheduled to attend a retreat in Maryland from Wednesday to Friday. The current government funding bill runs out on Thursday.

Monday (February 5): Senate vote on the confirmation of Andrei Iancu to be Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; House Rules Committee hearing on the Small Bank Holding Company Relief Act, the Mortgage Choice Act, and the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act; House Administration Committee markup of Congressional Accountability Act reform measures;

Tuesday (February 6): Senate Banking Committee hearing on the oversight role of the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission in virtual currencies, with testimony from SEC Chairman Jay Clayton and CFTC Chairman J. Christopher GiancarloSenate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the administration’s South Asia strategy in Afghanistan, with testimony from Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan and Assistant Defense Secretary for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs Randall Schriver; Senate HELP Committee hearing on the “gig economy” and the future of retirement savings; Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on beneficial ownership and fighting international financial networks through transparency; Senate Commerce Subcommittee hearing on lessons learned about data security and bug bounty programs from the Uber breach; Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee hearing on spending uncertainty and cost to taxpayers caused by continuing resolutions, omnibus spending bills, and shutdown crises; House Financial Services Committee hearing on the annual report of the Financial Stability Oversight Council, with testimony from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin; House Armed Services Committee hearing on national defense strategy and the nuclear posture review, with testimony from Defense Secretary James Mattis and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Paul J. Selva and subcommittee hearing on physiological episodes in fighter, attack, and training aircraft; House Agriculture Committee hearing on the state of the rural economy; House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on U.S. cyber diplomacy in an era of growing threats and subcommittee hearings on Syria and U.S.-Pakistan relationsHouse Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing on the VA caregiver support program; House Oversight and Government Reform Committee business meetingHouse Ways and Means Subcommittee hearing on removing barriers to prevent and treat opioid abuse and dependence in Medicare; House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing on Department of Energy modernization; House Natural Resources Subcommittee hearing on 3 national monument bills; House Education and Workforce Subcommittee hearing to review the policies and priorities of the Mine Safety and Health Administration; House Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing on ensuring effective and reliable alerts and warnings;

Wednesday (February 7): Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on the impact of federal environmental regulations and policies on American farming and ranching communities; Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee hearing to receive testimony on 15 bills; Senate Foreign Relations Committee closed hearing on Turkey; Senate Armed Services Subcommittee hearings on the Defense Department’s role in countering weapons of mass destruction and Army modernizationSenate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee roundtable on Department of Homeland Security reauthorization, with testimony from Deputy Secretary Elaine Duke, Under Secretary for Management Claire Grady, Acting DHS Inspector General John Kelly, and Government Accountability Office Comptroller General Eugene Dodaro; House Ways and Means Subcommittee hearing on ensuring Social Security serves America’s veterans; House Armed Services Subcommittee hearing on prevention and accountability of senior leader misconduct;

Thursday (February 8): Stopgap government funding bill expires; Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on energy infrastructure; Senate HELP Committee hearing on the impact of the opioid crisis on children and families.

S-3 Public Affairs | February Look-Ahead

The continuing resolution Congress passed last month runs through February 8.

Senate is expected to consider: nominations; a CR to fund the federal government through early March, immigration legislation, and long-term spending caps. Other items include S.2155, the bipartisan Dodd/Frank reform legislation; S.1693, the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act; and U.S. Coast Guard reauthorization. Looking ahead, the agenda will include an FAA extension/reauthorization (expires at the end of March), debt limit (extraordinary measures expire in March), and flood insurance (is being carried through CRs). Health care extenders and disaster supplemental funding will also need to be addressed.

House is expected to consider: various bills; a CR to fund the federal government.

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January 31-February 2: House-Senate Republican legislative retreat at the Greenbrier in West Virginia
February 1: Securities and Exchange Commission closed meeting
February 2: Bureau of Labor Statistics releases monthly jobs report
February 3: Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s term expires and Jerome Powell becomes chairman
February 4: Super Bowl LII
February 7: Filing deadline for Ohio’s Senate primary election in May
February 7-9: House Democratic Caucus holds its 2018 issues conference in Cambridge, Maryland
February 8: Stopgap government funding bill expires; International Trade Commission antidumping and countervailing duty investigative hearing on aluminum foil from China
February 9-25: 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea (Vice President Mike Pence will lead the Delegation and subsequently visit Seoul and Tokyo)
February 12: The earliest date the White House is planning to deliver its budget request to Congress
February 15: Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on the state of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, with testimony from Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo; International Trade Commission antidumping and countervailing duty investigative hearing on silicon metal from Australia, Brazil, Kazakhstan, and Norway
February 19: Presidents’ Day
February 19-23: House and Senate scheduled to be in recess
February 22: Federal Communications Commission’s monthly open meeting
February 26 – March 6: Seventh round of NAFTA renegotiations, to be held in Mexico City
February 27: Arizona 8th Congressional District special primary election

Politico Influence | What lobbyists thought of the State of the Union

By Marianne LeVine and Theodoric Meyer

With David Beavers and Garrett Ross

STATE OF THE UNION OFFERS FEW POLICY SPECIFICS ON INFRASTRUCTURE: Although many on K Street were watching the State of the Union address to see whether President Donald Trump would offer more specifics on his plan to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, the speech did not expand much on the president’s 2017 joint address to Congress. “The president set high expectations but was light on details,” said Stephen Martinko, government affairs counselor at K&L Gates. He added that while “the State of the Union was a strong signal that after more than a year of waiting, it’s now time for real work to begin on infrastructure,” much of that will depend on Congress. Jim Tymon, director of policy and management at the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, told PI that he was mostly satisfied with the speech and did not expect much more information, but said that he was concerned that the president did not talk about addressing the long-term insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund as part of his infrastructure plan.

– The (trillion-dollar) question that remains for lobbyists (and Congress) is how the infrastructure project gets funded. In Tuesday night’s speech, Trump called for $1.5 trillion in funding, up from a previous request for $1 trillion. “I’m not sure if that increase … means that there’s additional federal dollars or that means that they’re counting on additional state, local or private sector dollars to make up that difference,” Tymon said.

– Reception to the speech was positive. Mike Ference, partner at S-3 Public Affairs, said in an email statement that Trump recognized that “the path forward on legislation this year must be bipartisan” by “outlining his framework for an infrastructure package.” Lisa Kountoupes, president of Kountoupes Denham Carr & Reid, said that “this was a strong speech that was well received by the President’s supporters.” She added that the big question that remains is whether “the White House will be able to compromise and work with Democrats to get the votes they need to enact the legislation everyone is interested in.” Steve Elmendorfa founder of and partner at Subject Matter, said that the speech “was different than past State of the Unions in that there was not a long forward-looking agenda, which is always disappointing for K Street.”

Continue reading at Politico…

Agenda: 1/28/18

By S-3 Public Affairs

CNBC reports, “At a growing number of restaurants, your money — or your cash at least — is no good. For a variety of reasons, more eateries are refusing to allow cash payment, and only accepting debit and credit cards.” They explain the costs associated with the shift are outweighed by the improved customer service that the speed of cashless payment provides. “Earlier this week in Seattle, the cashless trend expanded when the first “Amazon Go” grocery store opened. ‘Amazon Go’ is a convenience store without cashiers or checkout lines. You select your items and the payment information that’s stored on your phone is automatically charged as you walk out the door.” What’s next in this trend? Potentially Starbucks. Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson this week told CNBC, “‘Thirty percent of our payments in the United States [are] done with a mobile phone … Over 40 percent is done with phones and Star Value cards with rewards. In China, over 60 percent of our tenders come from mobile payments.’”

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IN THE MEDIA:

Bloomberg reports, “Twitter Inc. is working on a new Snapchat-style feature that makes it easier to post videos on the social-media company’s app, according to people familiar with the matter, aiming to attract more users and cement a nascent turnaround. The San Francisco-based company has a working demo of the camera-centered product, according to people who have seen it, but the design hasn’t been finalized, nor has the timing of its debut. … The goal of the new feature is to entice people to share video clips of what’s happening around them.” TechCrunch adds that Twitter also rolled out a new advertising opportunity this week. Advertisers are now able to “sponsor Moments – the “Stories”-like feature that includes a series of tweets, often including images, GIFs and video – from select publishers.”

Snapchat is also making changes. Axios’ Sara Fischer reports, “Snapchat is launching a new feature that will let users share “Stories” (strings of user-generated or professionally-created photos and videos) outside of its app. … The move mimics the efforts of other platforms to expand content outside of their core app, like Twitter, which made tweets embeddable in 2011. … It will work by providing users links to share content when they press and hold on the Stories cover photo, or ‘tiles.’” Sara notes this comes after Snapchat’s effort to rebrand itself as a camera company, “The company says its camera function is ‘one of the most used cameras in the world,’ with over 3.5 billions Snaps created every single day.”

IN THE ADMINISTRATION:

President Trump will deliver his first State of the Union address on Tuesday evening. Fox News reports in a preview piece that in addition to recounting the successes of the past year, in particular tax reform, “President Trump will also push for $1 trillion in infrastructure investment. He intends to spotlight the need for rebuilding our depleted infrastructure to help America compete globally and create jobs, improve productivity, and keep Americans safe on roads and railways. According to staff familiar with the speech, President Trump will also put forth his legislative plan to eliminate bureaucratic permitting delays, focus on rural needs and give federal taxpayers a better return on investment – a novel concept all too often forgotten in Washington.

“The president will also address illegal immigration and DACA head-on. He will share his intention to help the so-called “Dreamers” – immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children through no fault of their own. But in exchange, he will require reforms to immigration and border security that will protect the jobs, safety and wages of American workers. The president will also continue his push for a wall along the porous southern border of the U.S. …

“Fresh from his trip to Davos in Switzerland, President Trump will also talk about trade, putting the world on notice that from now on, the U.S. will insist upon ‘fair’ and ‘reciprocal’ trade.”

ON THE HILL:

It is a short week on Capitol Hill as Republicans and Senate Democrats each depart for their annual policy retreats on WednesdayThe House will consider legislation aimed at protecting young athletes from sexual assault.

  • Monday (January 29): Senate vote on consideration of the motion to proceed on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act; House Rules Committee hearing on Senate amendments to the Child Protection Improvements Act of 2017; House Administration Committee markup of a resolution on the House’s anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policy;
  • Tuesday (January 30): Senate Banking Committee hearing to receive testimony from Treasury Secretary Mnuchin on the Financial Stability Oversight Council’s annual report to Congress; Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing to receive testimony from EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt; Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee business meeting to consider various Energy and Interior Department nominations and hearing on the role of the U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Forest Service in preparing for and responding to natural hazards; Senate Commerce Committee hearings on opportunities to support domestic seafood through aquaculture and implementation of the American Innovation and Competitiveness ActSenate HELP Committee hearing on accountability and risk to taxpayers in Higher Education Act reauthorization and subcommittee hearing roundtable on small business health plans; Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the situation on the Korean Peninsula and U.S. strategy in the Indo-Pacific region; Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the economic relationship between the U.S., Canada and Mexico; House Budget Committee oversight hearing of the Congressional Budget Office with testimony from Director Keith Hall; House Financial Services Subcommittee hearings on opportunities and challenges in the financial technology marketplace and how human traffickers exploit U.S. financial marketsHouse Ways and Means Subcommittee hearing to consider Member proposals for improvements to the IRS;House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearings on broadband infrastructure policy, including consideration of 25 bills and implementation of the Compounding Quality Act (with a panel including FDA Administrator Scott Gottlieb) and vote on the Ceiling Fan Energy Conservation Harmonization ActHouse Science, Space & Technology Committee hearing on Energy Department management priorities, with testimony from Undersecretaries Paul Dabbar and Mark Menezes; House Small Business Committee hearing on combating foreign cyber threats, with testimony from FBI Deputy Assistant Director Howard Marshall and Department of Homeland Security Deputy Assistant Secretary Richard Driggers; House Judiciary Committee markup of the Infrastructure Expansion Act; House Natural Resources Subcommittee legislative hearing on the Shash Jáa National Monument and Indian Creek National Monument Act; House Committee on Education and the Workforce hearing on evidence-based policymaking and the future of education; House Homeland Security Subcommittee joint hearing on the Department of Homeland Security’s role in surface transportation technologies; House Armed Services Subcommittee hearing on readying the U.S. military for future warfare; House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee hearing to examine reports on the EL FARO Marine casualty and the Coast Guard’s electronic health records;
  • WednesdayFriday (January 31-February 2): Congressional Republicans’ retreat in West Virginia.

S-3 PUBLIC AFFAIRS: A Winning Approach

Agenda: 1/21/18

By S-3 Public Affairs

FACT OF THE WEEK:

The US Chamber of Commerce recently partnered with Facebook and Morning Consult to figure out tech’s impact on small businesses. The survey found: “84% of small businesses in the U.S. use at least one major digital platform to provide information to customers,” but, “57% of small businesses surveyed said that lack of familiarity with available digital tools is a challenge.” The solution: to invest in training programs. Google CEO Sundar Pichai writing in Recode adds a note about programs they are rolling out to improve digital and tech skills training in a way that is more accessible and practical. “Moving beyond code and intensive degrees to these constant, lightweight and ubiquitous forms of education will take resources and experimentation. But that effort should help close today’s skills gaps, while making sure future skills gaps don’t open. That’s part of the reason Google has invested $1 billion over five years to help find new approaches to connect people to opportunities at work and help small and medium businesses everywhere grow in the digital economy.”

IN THE MEDIA:

Nielsen Digital Content Ratings recently looked at popular websites in an effort to gain a better understanding of who they are engaging on a consistent basis, “helping [publishers] to put the pieces of the consumer picture together for the first time using measurement metrics that are comparable to those used to measure TV audiences.”

Among the findings:

  • Buzzfeed reaches 83% of all millennials in a given month;

  • Mic reaches 40 million unique visitors each month, with an audience that is 56% female and 42% male;

  • Refinery 29 reaches 62% of millennial women and 88% of women ages 21 to 24.

IN THE ADMINISTRATION

The Washington Post reports, “This week, President Trump is scheduled to head to the 2018 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland,” with a speech scheduled for Friday. The president is also expected to meet with British Prime Minister May on the trip.

ON THE HILL

The House is scheduled to be adjourned for a district work period. The Senate is expected to vote at 1 a.m. on a government funding bill that would go through February 8th, which Speaker Ryan has indicated the House would pass, ending the shutdown.

Tuesday (January 23): Senate Banking Committee hearing on the nominations of Jelena McWilliams (to be a member of the board of directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation), Marvin Goodfriend (to be a member of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors), and Thomas Workman (to be a member of the Financial Stability Oversight Council); Senate HELP Committee hearing on preparedness and response capabilities for 21st century public health threats; Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing to examine the performance of the electric power system under certain weather conditions; Senate Commerce Subcommittee hearing on current and emerging threats in surface transportation security;

Wednesday (January 24): Senate Budget Committee oversight hearing of the Congressional Budget Office, with testimony from CBO Director Keith Hall; Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nominations of Michael Brennan (to be circuit judge for the Seventh Circuit), Daniel Desmond Domenico (to be district judge for the District of Colorado), and Adam Klein (to be reappointed chairman and member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board); Senate Commerce Committee field hearing on driving automotive innovation and federal policies, held at the Washington Convention Center; Senate Armed Services Subcommittee hearing on officer personnel management and the Defense Officer Personnel Management Act of 1980; Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing on navigating critical decisions to turning 65;

Thursday (January 25): Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on global challenges and U.S. national security strategy, with testimony from former secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Shultz and former deputy secretary of State Richard Armitrage; Senate Banking Committee hearing to receive administration perspectives on CFIUS reform, with testimony from Assistant Treasury Secretary for International Markets and Investment Policy Heath Tarbert, Assistant Commerce Secretary for Export Administration Richard Ashooh and Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary for Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy Eric Chewning; Senate HELP Committee hearings on Higher Education Act reauthorization and the nomination of Frank Brogan to be assistant secretary for elementary and secondary educationSenate Commerce Committee hearing to examine the Wireless Emergency Alert system, including recent system failures; Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee field hearing to examine opportunities and challenges facing vehicle technologies, held at the Washington Convention Center; Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee hearing on exploiting vulnerabilities in international mail in combatting the opioid crisis;

Friday (January 26): House Judiciary Committee field hearing on music policy issues at Fordham University School of Law, with testimony from Recording Academy President Neil Portnow and artists Aloe Blacc, Mike Clink, Booker Jones, and Tom Douglas.

Don’t Listen to Washington, Tourist Organizations Try Telling Foreigners

By Martha C. White

Persuading international travelers to visit the United States never used to be difficult. But things have gotten a little more complicated.

According to the Commerce Department’s National Travel and Tourism Office, the number of international visitors in the first half of 2017 fell 4 percent from a year earlier. Those in the travel industry point to factors like a global market that gives tourists more possible destinations, the strength of the dollar and tightening visa restrictions.

They also say the messages coming from the Trump administration — the latest example being President Trump’s vulgar comment about Haiti and African nations — play a role.

“Although the policy of the administration has not been targeted towards tourists, per se, tourists around the world are asking themselves whether they’re welcome in the United States,” said Daniel Korschun, associate professor of marketing at Drexel University, who focuses on the intersection of advertising and politics. “That’s surely a factor in the sagging performance.”

This week, the United States Travel Association plans to announce that industry groups are forming the Visit U.S. Coalition in an attempt to combat the slump through advocacy, lobbying, advertising and other methods. Members include the American Gaming Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

CONTINUE READING

Christopher Heywood, spokesman for New York City’s tourism organization, NYC & Company, said “negative rhetoric coming out of the current administration” was a driving force behind the group’s marketing last year, which featured the phrases “Welcoming the world” and “All are welcome.”

“We’re not a political group,” he said. “We’re a marketing group, but there was so much at stake, we needed to be more engaged.”

The nonprofit tourism organization Brand USA will begin its new marketing campaign with a sweeping, 40-minute film that showcases the United States through the lens of musical history. It hopes the approach the will convey that the United States embraces individuals and cultures from outside its borders.

“Travel has a way of transcending politics,” said Chris Thompson, president and chief executive of Brand USA. “I think our ability to use music, because it’s so compelling and inspirational, it really allows us to rise above any of that.”

The film will be shown at museums and similar locations in top overseas markets beginning next month, and will be augmented by digital and social promotion.

“That strategy could be a very interesting one because it gets across a lot of the wonderful cultural influences that have permeated life in the States from everywhere in the world,” said Damien Eley, executive creative director at the ad agency Mistress, which has worked with the Los Angeles tourism board on its campaigns. “It’s a nice device to be able to show the depth of culture and diversity in the States.”

Getting a tone of tacit recognition just right is a delicate feat. The destination marketing organizations of New York and Los Angeles, which ran campaigns explicitly highlighting their inclusivity last year, have employed similar strategies to evolve their messaging to be not anti-Trump but pro-destination.

“Travel isn’t about negativity at all,” said Brian Tolleson, managing partner at the agency Bark Bark, which worked with Orbitz on a diversity-focused campaign last year. Advertising that taps into negative sentiment risks alienating people, he said.

“To stand up for positive values might be the best we can do in the face of whatever may happen in the political climate,” Mr. Tolleson added.

When NYC & Company began its “True York City” campaign late last year, Mr. Heywood said, the intent was to draw attention to the city’s diversity of people, neighborhoods and cultural offerings. The organization enlisted an array of designers, chefs, writers and other residents to endorse the city’s hidden gems rather than just its iconic sights.

Mr. Tolleson said, “The instinct to talk about travel on a person-to-person level is something that helps disarm some of the negative political discourse.”

Los Angeles is evolving last year’s Everyone Is Welcome” campaign to highlight eclectic cultural offerings as well as inclusivity in a campaign that will begin next month.

“We want to drive visitation, too,” said Don Skeoch, chief marketing officer of Discover Los Angeles, the city’s destination marketing organization. “We have to pivot a bit.”

Although Los Angeles officials recently announced that a record 7.1 million people from outside the United States visited the city in 2017, Mr. Skeoch said appealing to millennial travelers with the promise of unique and personal experiences would keep the momentum going.

“We’ll emphasize high and low culture in this creative,” he said. “We have museums, but we’ll also look at street murals.”

In its promotions, Brand USA also works with travel and lifestyle personalities who have large social media followings in their countries, giving their endorsements more clout. “We’ve really gravitated more towards that — this being on the ground and in touch,” Mr. Thompson said.

Mr. Eley of Mistress said making inclusivity and tolerance part of their public profile was a way for cities to stand apart from the political invective.

“A city now has in their marketing armory a story of who they are and how they’re different from the current administration,” he said. “It’s certainly something that’s given L.A. a whole other avenue of their brand to fall back on and celebrate.”

Agenda: 1/14/18

By S-3 Public Affairs

FACT OF THE WEEK:

CNBC reports that as the value of bitcoin has made headlines, the demand for employees with these skills has also increased. “As the cryptocurrency universe grows, businesses are on the hunt for job candidates with experience in blockchain, the technology that supports popular digital tokens such as bitcoin and ethereum. Upwork, a freelancing firm, says blockchain is its fastest-growing skill category. … LinkedIn says there are now 28 times as many people citing cryptocurrency skills on their profiles and 5.5 times as many people with bitcoin skills as there were in October 2013. And from 2014 to 2017, LinkedIn has seen a 9.4-time increase in bitcoin-related postings within the financial services and insurance industry sector, as well as a 4.6-time increase for the software technology industry.”

CHASER: The Harvard Crimson notes that some economists see government interference or potential overregulation as a threat to the value of bitcoin. “Some Harvard Economics professors say the current high valuation of bitcoin—the founding coin of the international virtual currency boom—is unsustainable and will eventually drop, thanks in part to government regulation.”

BONUS FACT: United Launch Alliance this week had its first launch of 2018, “the 124th successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006. It was also the 36th flight of the Delta IV rocket since its inaugural launch in 2002.”

CONTINUE READING

IN THE MEDIA

Bloomberg reports on the Virtual Reality trend that emerged from the Consumer Electronics Show. In addition to being “cheaper, lighter and less likely to require tethering to a smartphone or computer,” Bloomberg notes, “It also gives companies something to sell while they figure out augmented reality, widely believed to have more mass-market appeal than virtual reality.” What’s the difference? “VR isolates users while AR lays digital information over the real world, offering countless potential consumer and commercial applications—streaming basketball stats to fans during games, say, or sending instructions to mechanics repairing complicated equipment.

Recode adds a note about Facebook’s contribution to the potential VR trend.“Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wants to get one billion people using virtual realitya lofty goal considering there were just one million VR headsets shipped across the entire industry in last year’s third quarter.” The means to achieving this: “A new standalone VR headset exclusively for the Chinese market.”

IN THE ADMINISTRATION

President Trump is expected to travel to Pennsylvania next Thursday and discuss tax reform, ahead of a special election being held in March for a House of Representatives seat. Politico reports, “Trump’s visit to the district next week will take him to a manufacturing plant outside Pittsburgh.”

ON THE HILL

Congress returns this week with all eyes on a Friday government-funding deadline. Also on the Hill this week:  

Monday (January 15): Martin Luther King Jr. Day;

Tuesday (January 16): Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing of the Department of Homeland Security, with testimony from Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen; Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing to examine the domestic and global energy outlook, with testimony from International Energy Agency Executive Director Dr. Fatih Birol; House Natural Resources Committee markup of 9 bills and subcommittee legislative hearing on the Jobs for Tribes Act; House Rules Committee hearing on the Home Mortgage Disclosure Adjustment Act, World Bank Accountability Act, and Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act; House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee field hearing on the Obama administration’s rapprochement with the Castro regime;

Wednesday (January 17): Senate Commerce Committee hearing on terrorism and social media, with testimony from Facebook Head of Global Policy Management Monika Bickert, YouTube Global Head of Public Policy and Government Relations Juniper Downs; Twitter Public Policy and Philanthropy Director Carlos Monje, and Foreign Policy Research Institute Fellow Clinton Watts; Senate Finance Committee hearing on the nominations of Dennis Shea to be the deputy U.S. trade representative in the Geneva office and C.J. Mahoney to be the deputy U.S. trade representative for investment, services, labor, environment, Africa, China, and the Western hemisphere; Senate Banking Committee executive session to vote on the nominations of Jerome H. Powell (to be chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve), Randal Quarles (to be a member of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors), Brian Montgomery (to be assistant secretary at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Federal Housing Commissioner), Robert Hunter Kurtz (to be assistant secretary at the Department of Housing and Urban Development for Public and Indian Housing), and David Ryder (to be director of the U.S. Mint) and hearing on combating money laundering and other forms of illicit finance, with testimony from Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Crimes Sigal Mandelker and Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division M. Kendall Day; Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on the nominations of Michael Atkinson to be the inspector general of the intelligence community and Jason Klitenic to be general counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence; Senate HELP Committee hearing on facing 21st century public health threats; Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on the unintended consequences of Medicaid and the opioid epidemic; Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on America’s water infrastructure needs and challenges; Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing to receive a progress report on the implementation of 2017 VA reform legislation; Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee hearing to examine the Bureau of Reclamation’s title transfer process and potential benefits to federal and non-federal stakeholders; House Financial Services Committee markupof 17 bills to amend the Dodd-Frank Act; House Judiciary Committee markupof the Disclosing Foreign Influence Act; House Ways and Means Subcommittee hearing on the opioid crisis and CMS actions to prevent opioid misuse; House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee markup and vote on the Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act, Pharmaceutical Information Exchange Act, and Over-the-Counter Monograph Safety, Innovation, and Reform Act; House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee hearing on the state of the U.S. flag maritime industry; House Science, Space & Technology Subcommittee hearing to receive an update on NASA commercial crew systems development; House Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing on the current state of the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) program; House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee hearing on recent efforts to win the war against ISIS; House Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing on the Denver Replacement Medical Center;

Thursday (January 18): Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committeehearing on the nominations of Melissa Burnison to be an assistant secretary of Energy for congressional and intergovernmental affairs and Anne Marie White to be an assistant secretary of Energy for environmental management; Senate Banking Committee hearing on CFIUS reform; Senate Commerce Committee executive session to vote on 7 nominations, including Ann Marie Buerkle to be chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission and Jim Bridenstine to be NASA administrator; Senate HELP Committee hearing on reauthorizing the Higher Education Act; Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on the long-term care needs of first responders injured in the line of duty; House Rules Committee hearing on Article I: effective oversight and the power of the purse; House Natural Resources Committee oversight hearingexamining the Interior Department’s actions to eliminate onshore energy burdens; House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearings on the Internet of Things, manufacturing and innovation and modernizing the Superfund cleanup programHouse Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee hearing on America’s water resources infrastructure; House Homeland Security Subcommittee hearings on the capabilities of federal law enforcement agencies to share information related to transnational gangs and innovation at TSA;

Friday (January 19): Next government funding deadline; House Natural Resources Subcommittee oversight hearing examining deficiencies in the permitting process for offshore seismic research; House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearings on legislation addressing LNG exports and PURPA modernization and continuing concerns over the Food and Drug Administration’s food-recall process.

Agenda: 1/7/18

By S-3 Public Affairs

Fact  of the Week: The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon, “This year it is on track to spend as much on video content as Netflix did in 2017. … Amazon’s video business isn’t just its own potential profit center; it’s also a way to keep people in Amazon’s world longer, where they spend more money, Amazon Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky said in October. Amazon Prime Video also makes customers more likely to renew their Prime subscriptions, he said.”

Bloomberg adds, “Amazon.com Inc. plans to bid for the rights to stream Premier League matches in the upcoming auction in the U.K., according to a source familiar with the matter, part of a broader strategy to bring more sports content to its global customers. The digital giant sees such sporting events as American football, tennis and soccer matches as a way to get more people to subscribe to Prime memberships, which include video streaming and convert occasional customers into more loyal shoppers.”

CONTINUE READING

In the Media: CNBC reports, “Music streaming service Spotify, which filed confidentially with U.S.regulators for an initial public offering on Wednesday, has 70 million subscribers, it said in a tweet on Thursday. Spotify, valued at as much as $19 billion last year, is targeting a direct listing in the first half of 2018. Spotify is the biggest global music streaming company and counts Apple and Amazon.com as its main rivals.” Note that this is the first ever direct listing of its kind (a good read from Bloomberg’s Matt Levine on why this approach is noteworthy).

In addition to music, as we noted last week, Spotify is making a big push in the podcasting space. Media and tech writer Tim Carmody writes for The Nieman Lab about his evolved opinion on the app: “I want to make the case for Spotify, the company with audio at its core, and that’s made a big leap in podcasts in the last year — not least because Spotify’s evolution helps explain what Apple and Google are up to.” He adds that he sees Spotify as, “one of the most interesting trajectories in media; and I firmly believe publishers should be paying close attention to how it works.”

In the Administration: President Trump heads to Nashville on Monday to speak at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 99th Annual Convention. The president also plans to attend the College Football Playoff national championship game in Atlanta on Monday night.

On the Hill: Both the House and Senate are in session this week, with negotiations continuing on a government funding bill. Additionally, HHS Secretary-Nominee Alex Azar appears before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday, and the Senate will continue its work on district court nominations, with a cloture vote scheduled Monday and three other cloture votes filed.

Monday (January 8): Senate expected to vote on the nomination of William Campbell to be U.S. District Judge for the Middle District of Tennessee; Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs business meeting to vote on the nominations of Margaret Weichert to be deputy director for management in the Office of Management and Budget and Mark Greenblatt to be inspector general of the Export-Import Bank;

Tuesday (January 9): Senate Finance Committee hearing to consider the nomination of Alex Azar to be secretary of Health and Human Services; Senate HELP Committee hearing assessing the opioid crisis; Senate Banking Committee hearing on combating money laundering and illicit finance; Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee hearing on attacks on U.S. diplomats in Cuba, with testimony from Acting Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs Francisco Palmieri, Diplomatic Security Assistant Director of International Programs Todd Brown, and Bureau of Medical Services Director Dr. Charles Rosenfarb; House Rules Committee hearing on FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act; House Financial Services Subcommittee hearings on CFIUS and financial regulatory legislative proposals (the Community Financial Institution Exemption Act, Protecting Veterans Credit Act, Home Mortgage Reporting Relief Act, Community Bank Reporting Relief Act, and an amendment to the Truth in Lending Act); House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing on Department of Energy modernization, with a panel including Deputy Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, Undersecretary for Science Paul Dabbar, Undersecretary for Nuclear Security Frank Klotz and Undersecretary of Energy Mark Menezes; House Natural Resources Subcommittee legislative hearing on the Shash Jáa National Monument and Indian Creek National Monument Act; House Armed Services Subcommittee hearing on China’s pursuit of emerging and exponential technologies; House Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing on border security from an agent and officer perspective;

Wednesday (January 10): Senate Judiciary Committee nominations hearingSenate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on America’s water infrastructure needs and challenges; House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on sanctions and financial pressure and subcommittee hearing on the implications of upcoming elections in the Western hemisphere for U.S. policy; House Armed Services Committee hearing to receive an update on the Financial Improvement and Audit Remediation (FIAR) Plan, with testimony from Undersecretary of Defense and Chief Financial Officer David Norquist; House Natural Resources Committee markup of the Swan Lake Hydroelectric Project Boundary Correction Act, Route 66 National Historic Trail Designation Act, National Memorial to Fallen Educators Act, Streamlining Environmental Approvals Act, and Alex Diekmann Peak Designation Act; House Science, Space & Technology Committee markup of the Low Dose Radiation Research Act; House Financial Services Subcommittee hearing to examine Federal Reserve reform proposals; House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee hearing on how veteran homebuyers are affected by home loan churning practices;

Thursday (January 11): Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on U.S. policy in post-ISIS Syria, with testimony from Ambassador David Satterfield, the acting assistant secretary of State for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs; Senate Judiciary Committee executive business meeting to consider Circuit Court nominees Stuart Kyle Duncan and David Ryan Stras and District Court nominee Fernando Rodriguez, Jr., and to consider the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act; Senate HELP Committee executive session to consider the nominations of 8 top officials in the Departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services.

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!

S-3 Public Affairs | January Look-Ahead

The continuing resolution Congress passed last month, that runs through January 19, included several provisions worth noting:

  • Extended Title VII of FISA and the NFIP (Flood Insurance) for the length of the CR.
  • Provided $4.7 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations for missile defense, repair damaged Navy ships, and support the Administration’s South Asia strategy.
  • Appropriated $2.85 billion to provide CHIP payments for Q1 and Q2 of FY18.
  • Appropriated $2.1 billion for the Veterans Choice Fund.
  • Exempted the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act from statutory PAYGO.

The Senate kept roughly 150 nominations on the executive calendar in status quo; however around 100 nominations were returned to the White House. This means the administration will have to re-nominate them with updated paperwork. Among the most significant are HHS Secretary nominee Alex Azar, Export-Import Bank nominee Scott Garrett, Labor Deputy Secretary nominee Patrick Pizzella, and Federal Reserve nominees Randal Quarles and Jerome Powell.

CONTINUE READING

_________________________________________________________________________________________

January 1: New Year’s Day

January 2: Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) to resign his seat

 January 3: Senate returns from recess, with the swearing in of Senator-Elect Doug Jones (D-AL) and Senator-Designate Tina Smith (D-MN); Federal Reserve to release minutes from December’s Federal Open Markets Committee meeting

January 5: Bureau of Labor Statistics releases monthly jobs report

 January 6-7: President Trump to host House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) at Camp David to discuss the 2018 legislative agenda

January 8: House returns from recess, beginning with a 6:30 p.m. vote series

January 9: Senate HELP Committee hearing assessing the opioid crisis; American Petroleum Institute President and CEO Jack Gerard delivers annual remarks on the state of American energy

January 10: U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue delivers annual remarks on the state of American business

January 11: Next deadline for President Trump to certify whether Iran is meeting its obligations under the nuclear deal; Securities and Exchange Commission’s Fixed Income Market Structure Advisory Committee Meeting

January 12-17: Multiple waivers of U.S. sanctions on Iran under the nuclear deal stand to expire unless reauthorized

January 15: Martin Luther King Jr. Day

January 18: U.S. Energy Association’s 14th Annual State of the Energy Industry Forum

January 19: Continuing resolution expires

January 23-28: Sixth round of NAFTA renegotiations in Montreal, Canada

January 24: Senate Commerce Committee field hearing on automotive innovation and federal policies, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center

 January 30: President Trump to deliver the State of the Union; Federal Communications Commission’s monthly open meeting

 January 31-February 2: House-Senate Republican legislative retreat at the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia

Agenda: 12/31/17

By S-3 Public Affairs

Fact of the Week: Podcast popularity continued to grow throughout 2017. AdWeek notes, “In 2017, podcasting exploded into a seemingly bottomless ocean of content that Edison Research dubbed “the Infinite Dial,” with an estimated 15 percent of Americans listening to podcasts each week.” AdAge gives a look at what 2018 has in store for the medium: “As Spotify’s spotlight offers a high-profile listening platform for Android users, Google will engage to become a true cross-platform destination for podcasts. With both services gathering deep data, their recommendation algorithms will step up discovery and enhance the playlist culture. Next month’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is likely to confirm 2018 as the Year of Voice. Communicating with robots through voice-activated devices will become passѐ. With 70 percent of smart speaker owners listening to more audio since buying the devices, the industry will continue to benefit in the broader audio-on-demand context.”

CONTINUE READING

In the Media: TVNewser reports, “As Nielsen ratings continue to decline for the cable entertainment networks, there’s one genre that thrived in 2017: Cable news.” The year-end review had good news for all three major cable news networks, with Fox News topping the list in prime time and total day, MSNBC showing the most growth, and CNN showing “year-over-year audience growth in total day.”

Nevertheless, streaming continues to be a trend to watch for 2018. Pew research this year found, “About six-in-ten Americans ages 18 to 29 say the primary way they watch television now is with streaming services on the internet. … Overall, just 28% of Americans cite streaming services as the primary way they watch TV.”

In the Administration: President Trump next weekend will host Senate Majority Leader McConnell and House Speaker Ryan at Camp David to map out the 2018 agenda.

On the Hill: The Senate will return to the Capitol on January 3, and the House is scheduled to return to Washington on January 8. Reuters reports, “On Wednesday, Trump’s budget chief Mick Mulvaney and legislative affairs director Marc Short will meet with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan – both Republicans – and their Democratic counterparts, Senator Chuck Schumer and Representative Nancy Pelosi, the White House said.” On the agenda: “immigration policy, government spending and other issues that need to be wrapped up early in the new year.”

2018 Calendars:

The House

The Senate 

WATCH: Bipartisan praise from Congressional leadership for newest S-3 Public Affairs team member, Matt Bravo! 

S-3 wishes everyone a happy, safe, and restful NYE. We’re looking forward to a great 2018!

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: 12/17/17

By S-3 Public Affairs

Fact of the Week: Fact of the Week: When your teenager family members are glued to their phones over the holidays, chances are they’re on Snapchat. Recode reports, “Some 79 percent of U.S. 13- to 18-year-olds surveyed said they have a Snapchat account, more than any other type of social media. Of that age group, 73 percent have an Instagram account, and just 57 percent say they are on Facebook. Respondents had to choose only one social network they could keep if they were ‘trapped on a deserted island.’ This time, 44 percent of teens picked Snapchat.” The most popular feature: messaging – which Instagram is now working to replicate as well, after having already implemented the stories feature.

CONTINUE READING

In the Media: The Wall Street Journal reports on a new trend in which social media “influencers” leverage their following to market a product, event, or service. The WSJ notes, “Regulators say such financial rewards—even those given to influencers without explicit demands in return—can run afoul of longstanding rules against deceptive marketing if they aren’t disclosed. Authorities in the U.S., the U.K., France and elsewhere are policing social media to ferret out potential offenders. FTC officials say that merely tagging a brand or business on social media is a form of endorsement that falls under its purview.”

In the Administration: Reuters reports, “President Donald Trump will lay out a new U.S. national security strategy on Monday based on his “America First” policy and will, among other items, make clear that China is a competitor, two senior U.S. officials said on Saturday.”

On the Hill: Congress returns for a busy final week of the year with tax reform and government funding legislation both on deck.

  • Monday (December 18): Senate vote on the confirmation of J. Paul Compton to be general counsel of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Owen West to be an assistant secretary of Defense; House Rules Committee hearing on the Systemic Risk Designation Improvement Act;
  • Tuesday (December 19): House expected to vote for final passage of tax reform, with a final Senate vote either in the evening or on Wednesday; Senate Banking Committee executive session to vote on the nominations of Scott Garrett to be president of the Export-Import Bank, Kimberly Reed to be first vice president, Spencer Bachus, Judith DelZoppo Pryor, and Claudia Slacik to be members of the board of directors, and Mark Greenblatt to be inspector general of the bank; Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the nominations of Peter Hendrick Vrooman to be ambassador to the Republic of Rwanda and Joel Daies to be ambassador to the Gabonese Republic and the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe; Senate Rules and Administration Committee hearing on a resolution by Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) to change the procedures for consideration of nominations in the Senate; House Administration Committee markupof the House resolution implementing mandatory anti-harassment and anti-discrimination guidelines each session of Congress; House Rules Committee hearing on the Senate amendment to the Department of Homeland Security Blue Campaign Authorization Act (further Continuing Resolution); Senate amendment to the further Continuing Resolution; House Veterans’ Affairs Committee markup of pending legislation;
  • Wednesday (December 20): House Education and Workforce Committee hearing on the policies and priorities of the Education Department, with testimony from Secretary Betsy DeVos; Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee hearing on the freight movement.

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: 12/10/17

By S-3 Public Affairs

Fact of the Week: We’ve shared a lot about the trend toward video – and shorter video at that. AdWeek this weekend shared YouTube’s top 10 watched videos of 2017, “which amassed 633 million views, an 83-million increase from 2016’s top clips.”

In the Media: AdWeek reports, “Three months after ESPN transitioned to Nielsen’s total live audience number—which combines streaming and out-of-home viewing with traditional linear ratings—the sports network is sharing its first seven weeks of data, which sees millennial audience increases for its live sports broadcasts by as much as 33 percent. … While the new metric combines streaming and out-of-home data, ‘streaming is the vastly more meaningful number,’ said Meyers [ESPN’s svp of fan and media intelligence]. He noted that around half of all streaming occurs on connected TV or smart TV devices, which means that audiences are still watching that content on a TV screen even though it’s being streamed.”

Meanwhile The Wall Street Journal notes that Nielsen is feeling pressure from networks to update its definition of “live” viewership from online streaming. The “policy set in the early days of digital video recorders” is such that if you are more than 25 seconds behind “live,” you are not accounted for in live viewership – which is a key figure in setting ad rates, particularly for sports programs. “Nielsen said it’s working with clients to change its processing systems to redefine ‘live’ viewing for streaming content on TV sets to within three minutes.”

CONTINUE READING


In the Administration: The administration remains engaged and focused on congressional progress on tax reform, with the president expected to, “deliver a closing argument for the proposed Republican tax overhaul in a speech on Wednesday,” per BloombergAdditionally, the Fed is set to hold its final meeting of 2017 with an interest rate hike expected.

On the Hill: Congress this week will continue work on the tax reform package with the conference committee holding an open meeting on Wednesday.

  • Monday (December 11): Senate cloture votes on Circuit Court nominees Steven Grasz, Don Willett and James C. Ho; Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee business meeting to consider the nomination of Stephen Valden to be general counsel of the Department of Agriculture;
  • Tuesday (December 12): Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee business meeting to vote on the nominations of Linda Capuano to be administrator of the Energy Information Administration and Timothy Petty to be assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water and Science and hearing to examine the permitting processes at the Interior Department and FERC for energy and resource infrastructure projects; Senate HELP Committee hearing on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report on drug affordability; Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing of the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act; Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee hearings on U.S. interests and coercive Russian diplomacy in European energy security and the future of ZimbabweSenate Commerce Subcommittee hearings on the state of the National Ocean Policy and the role of machine learning and artificial intelligence in digital decision-makingHouse Financial Services Committee markup of 15 bills; House Natural Resources Subcommittee oversight hearing examining consequences of America’s growing dependence on foreign minerals; House Judiciary Committee markup of the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act and the Strengthening the Department of Homeland Security Secure Mail Initiative Act; House Rules Committee meeting to consider the Iranian Leadership Asset Transparency Act, the Privacy Notification Technical Clarification Act, the Corporate Governance Reform and Transparency Act, and the Strengthening Oversight of Iran’s Access to Finance Act; House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee hearings on policies to support democracy and human rights in Cambodiaprotecting North Korean refugees, and the future of NAFTA; House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearings examining concerns of patient brokering and addiction treatment fraud and the Corporate Average Fuel Economy Program (CAFE) and greenhouse gas emissions standards for motor vehicles; House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee hearing to receive updates on implementation of the Forever GI Bill and the Harry W. Colmery Educational Assistance Act; House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee hearing on addressing hurdles to economic development in Appalachia;
  • Wednesday (December 13): House-Senate tax conference committee meeting; Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nominations of Elizabeth L. Branch (to be Circuit Judge for the Eleventh Circuit) and 5 district court appointments and subcommittee hearing on the consumer welfare standard in antitrust; Senate HELP Committee executive session to vote on the nominations of four top Labor and Education Department officials and hearing on implementation of the 21st Century Cures Act with respect to mental health needs; Senate Environment and Public Works Committee oversight hearing of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on the strategic, political and legal considerations of using force and the examination of 4 treaties; Senate Commerce Committee executive session to vote on the National Transportation Safety Board Reauthorization Act, the National Integrated Drought Information System Reauthorization Act, the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Reauthorization Act, Coast Guard promotions, and the nomination of Barry Lee Meyers to be Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere; Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee hearing about safeguarding American agriculture in a globalized world; Senate Armed Services Subcommittee hearing to receive an update on research, diagnosis and treatment for traumatic brain injury and concussion in service members; House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing of the Justice Department’s investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election with testimony from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein; House Oversight and Government Reform Committee oversight hearing of the Bureau of Prisons and Inmate Reentry; House Natural Resources Committee markup of 16 bills; House Homeland Security Committee markup of 12 bills; House Ways and Means Subcommittee hearing on the taxpayer experience with the IRS; House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearings examining the drug supply chain and the impacts and future of North American energy trade; House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee hearings on preventing head trauma and advancing solar energy technologyHouse Armed Services Subcommittee hearing addressing physiological episodes in fighter, attack, and training aircraft; House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee hearing on the effectiveness of Veterans’ Affairs and Defense Department pre-discharge claims programs;
  • Thursday (December 14): Senate Homeland Services and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on the nominations of Margaret Weichert (to be Deputy Director for Management at the Office of Management and Budget) and John Dupuy (to be Inspector General at the Office of Personnel Management); Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on U.S. policy and strategy in the Middle East; Senate Foreign Relations Committee closed hearing to receive new counterterrorism guidance; House Financial Services Subcommittee hearing examining CFIUS operations; House Natural Resources Subcommittee legislative hearing on the Grand Staircase-Escalante Bill; House Foreign Affairs Committee markup of the End Banking for Human Traffickers Act and the United States-Jordan Defense Cooperation Extension Act.

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: 12/3/17

By S-3 Public Affairs

Fact of the Week: Recode reports, “Three quarters of all mobile traffic will be used for video in 2023, according to a new report by telecommunications equipment company Ericsson. That’s up from just over half of all traffic today. Not only will that be a bigger share but also a bigger pie, as more people watch more video on their smartphones.” The report adds that video is growing faster than social media use on mobile. “Social media consumption on mobile is also rising, but not as fast as video. Therefore, social media will represent a smaller share of mobile traffic in 2023 — eight percent — than its current 12 percent of mobile traffic.”

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In the Media: Spotify is taking data-driven advertising concepts off the internet and to billboards around the world. Talking to AdWeek, Spotify’s CMO Seth Farbman explains, “we’re not social media platform, but people do express themselves through music and through playlists just like they would express themselves through a tweet.” Once Spotify sifts through the “ridiculous amounts of data” it has, it works to make the ads concrete enough that people on the street will stop, read them in full, and laugh. “In general, the more concrete you can be, the the better it is and the easier it is to communicate. We take individual experiences, individual data points, and we use them to represent a broader feeling. If we just talked about how many people listened to this one song, or streamed this, or did this other thing, it stays up high. But when you get very concrete, so that in your mind you’re realizing this is a real person with real listening habits, real playlists, real playlist names, then it just cuts through the clutter.”

Note from S-3 PA: We are thrilled to welcome Andrea Riccio as we continue to grow our bipartisan public affairs team.

In the Administration: Axios reports, “President Trump is giving a speech Wednesday recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, according to two sources with direct knowledge. A White House spokesman refused to confirm the report: ‘The President has always said it is a matter of when, not if. The President is still considering options and we have nothing to announce.'” The president is also expected to hold a campaign-style rally on Friday, December 8, in Pensacola, Florida.

On the Hill: Congress returns this week with continued progress on tax reform, after the Senate passed its measure over the weekend, as well as plans for a short-term government funding package to keep the government open until December 22. House and Senate leaders are expected to name conferees for the tax reform negotiations early this week. The Wall Street Journal has a helpful chart outlining the differences between the House and Senate packages.

  • Monday (December 4): Senate cloture vote on Secretary of Homeland Security nominee Kirstjen Nielsen;
  • Tuesday (December 5): Senate Banking Committee executive session to consider the nomination of Jerome Powell to be chairman of the board of the Federal Reserve and the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act; Senate HELP Committee hearing on four top Education and Labor Department officials; Senate Foreign Relations Committee business meeting on 5 bills and 2 nominations and hearing on shared authority over international accords; Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the nominations of Dr. Timothy Petty (to be Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water and Science) and Dr. Linda Capuano (to be Administrator of the Energy Information Administration) and subcommittee hearing to receive testimony on 7 bills; Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on prevention, treatment and recovery in addressing the opioid crisis; House Rules Committee hearing on the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act;
  • Wednesday (December 6): Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about firearm accessory regulation and enforcement of federal and state reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System; Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on the nomination of R.D. James to be assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works and subcommittee hearing on challenges facing Superfund and waste cleanup efforts following natural disasters; Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on adapting to defend the homeland against the evolving international terrorist threat, with testimony from representatives of the Defense Department, the Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence; Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee hearing about countering terrorism, radicalization and promoting stability in North Africa, with testimony from Ambassador-at-Large and State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism and David Satterfield, the acting Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs; Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing on opportunities and challenges for America’s aging workforce; House Rules Committee hearing on the Small Business Mergers, Acquisitions, Sales, and Brokerage Simplification Act; House Natural Resources Subcommittee legislative hearing on the Endangered Fish Recovery Programs Extension Act; House Science, Space & Technology Subcommittee hearings on NASA’s next four large telescopes and the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps program; House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee hearings about advancing human rights to combat extremismBrexit negotiations, and U.S. policy toward TibetHouse Financial Services Subcommittee hearing on private sector perspectives of housing finance reform; House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee hearing examining opportunities and challenges of workplace leave policies for employers and working families;
  • Thursday (December 7): Senate Judiciary Committee executive business meeting to vote on 3 circuit court nominees and 7 district court nominees; Senate HELP Committee hearing on progress and the path forward for medical innovation in implementation of the 21st Century Cures Act; Senate Armed Services Committee hearing to receive testimony on Defense Department acquisition reform efforts; House Administration Committee hearing examining reforms to the Congressional Accountability Act and preventing sexual harassment in the congressional workplace; House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing of the FBI with testimony from Director Christopher Wray; House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing on the mission of the EPA, with testimony from Administrator Scott Pruitt; House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee hearing on counterterrorism efforts in Africa, with testimony from Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan and Mark Mitchell, the acting assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict; House Natural Resources Subcommittee oversight hearing of the Interior Department and legislative hearing on 4 bills; House Financial Services Subcommittee hearings examining the Office of Financial Research and legislative proposals for “a more efficient federal financial regulatory regime”House Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing examining the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to counter weapons of mass destruction; House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee oversight hearing of IT and cybersecurity at the Department of Veterans Affairs; House Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing on the VA Medical Surgical Prime Vendor program; House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee roundtable on emerging technologies in the trucking industry;
  • Friday (December 8): Government funding and debt ceiling deadline; House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing examining the role of the Department of Energy in energy sector cybersecurity.

Click here for a full look at the December schedule. 

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!

S-3 Public Affairs | December Look-Ahead

Congress currently has a target adjournment date of December 15. Neither chamber will adjourn on that date, likely remaining in session until December 22.  

In addition to a tax reform conference report, there are a number of policy matters that could be acted upon. These include government funding bills (short term CR from Dec 8 – 22; longer term CR into Q1 2018), an extension of the federal flood insurance program, reauthorization of the children’s health insurance program, health care and related extenders, Iran sanctions, North Korea sanctions, third round of disaster relief, and section 702 FISA authorities. Congress may also consider legislation on deferred action for childhood arrivals and cost sharing reduction payments.


December 1: Securities and Exchange Commission closed meeting

December 4House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee field hearing on the impacts of the 2017 hurricane season on the U.S. Virgin Islands; release of Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions

December 5Senate Banking Committee markup of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank regulatory relief)

December 7Securities and Exchange Commission Dodd-Frank investor advisory committee meeting

December 8Government funding and debt ceiling deadline (extraordinary measures will be used to delay hitting the debt limit until sometime January 2018); authorization of the National Flood Insurance Program expires; Bureau of Labor Statistics releases monthly jobs report

December 11-15Sixth round of NAFTA renegotiations to take place in Washington, DC

December 12Senate special election in Alabama

December 12-13Federal Open Market Committee meeting and press conference

December 13Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on the consumer welfare standard in antitrust

December 14Federal Communications Commission meeting, with vote to repeal net neutrality rules; 60-day window expires for Congress to introduce legislation imposing statutory sanctions on Iran following the President’s non-certification of the nuclear deal

December 15Open Enrollment Period for 2018 ACA health insurance ends

December 25Christmas

December 26Likely certification of new senator from Alabama

December 31Section 702 of FISA expires

S-3 Continues To Expand Bipartisan Public Affairs Practice

Andrea Riccio Brings Years of House Democratic Communications Experience to the Growing Firm

WashingtonDC – S-3 Public Affairs announced today the addition of Andrea Riccio as a vice president, where she will work closely with the firm’s public affairs and communications team.

“The collaborative approach S-3 Public Affairs takes on behalf of its clients is forward-thinking and one of the reasons I’m looking forward to helping them continue to grow,” said Riccio. “S-3 is uniquely positioned to help clients communicate policy issues in a way that resonates to Beltway and grassroots audiences alike.”

Riccio comes to the firm from Porter Novelli’s public affairs and corporate communications practice in Washington, where she managed some of the firm’s largest accounts. Prior to that, she was deputy director of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee (DPCC) under House Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and then-Chairman Steve Israel (D-NY). During her time with the DPCC, Riccio spearheaded House Democratic messaging during the 2016 election cycle and led multiple targeted campaigns.

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Riccio has extensive House experience as the former director of member services to then-Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and deputy chief of staff and key advisor to Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY). Riccio’s career in politics began as a campaign manager in a New Hampshire state senate race.

“Andrea’s unique ability to craft and implement communications strategies for the entire Democratic Caucus showcases her expertise in bringing diverse stakeholders together on important issues,” said Rep. Steve Israel. “Her depth of experience working for House Democratic Leadership will be an asset to S-3 Public Affairs.”

“From leading messaging for House Democrats during one of the most controversial campaigns of our time to running strategy for some of the most high-profile companies in DC, Andrea has proven herself an expert communicator,” said Amos Snead, Partner, S-3 Public Affairs. “Her experience, relationships, and understanding of the media, policy and political worlds will add unique value to our current and future clients. Our team has experienced rapid growth this past year, and continues to attract top talent from both sides of the aisle. We’re looking forward to seeing what Andrea brings to S-3 in 2018.”

Riccio’s addition comes shortly after S-3 announced Capitol Hill veteran and House of Representatives Floor Director Matt Bravo will be joining the firm in early 2018.

About S-3 Public Affairs 

Anchored by John Scofield, Mike Ference, Rob Collins, and Amos Snead, S-3 Public Affairs brings together the best in government and public relations to develop and execute a comprehensive and cohesive strategy for our clients.

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Agenda: 11/26/17

By S-3 Public Affairs

Fact of the Week: TechCrunch reports, “The final figures for Black Friday online sales are in, and it’s another record-breaking day for e-commerce in the U.S. Adobe says that shoppers spent $5.03 billion online,” with an increasing number of purchases made on mobile. “Purchases made on mobile devices have so far totaled a record 36.9 percent of all sales, and 54.3 percent of all site visits. This works out to just under $2 billion in sales. Smartphones accounted for 44.6% of visits and 26.0% of revenue.” In other Black Friday news, Jeff Bezos surpassed the $100-billion net worth mark.

In the Media: AdWeek reports on research from Nielsen that gives advertisers good news despite our decreasing attention spans on mobile. The research finds, “38 percent of brand recall, 23 percent of brand awareness and 25 percent of purchase intent is driven by video impressions shorter than two seconds, so decreasing attention spans aren’t necessarily a bad thing.”

Note from S-3: S-3 Public Affairs recently announced the addition of Capitol Hill veteran Matt Bravo, who most recently served as Floor Director to House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA). He will start work with the firm in 2018. Welcome to the team! 

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In the Administration: President Trump heads to the hill on Tuesday to address the Senate Republican Policy Committee’s during its weekly lunch ahead of expected floor action on the Senate tax bill. The president is also expected to meet with Speaker Ryan, Leader McConnell, and Minority Leaders Pelosi and Schumer later that day.

On the Hill: Congress returns this week with a busy year-end agenda, including continued progress on tax reform and an upcoming December 8 government funding deadline. Also this week, the House will vote on an anti-sexual harassment training resolution on Wednesday.

  • Monday (November 27): Senate roll call vote on the confirmation of Dabney Langhorne Freidrich, of California, to be District Judge for the District of Columbia;
  • Tuesday (November 28): Senate Banking Committee hearing on the nomination of Jerome Powell to be chairman of the Federal Reserve System’s Board of Governors and executive session to vote on the nominations of three Department of Housing and Urban Development assistant secretaries; Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the nominations of Christopher Ford (to be assistant secretary of State for international security and non-proliferation) and Yleem Poblete (to be assistant secretary of State for verification and compliance); Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on the nominations of Kenneth E. Allen, A.D. Frazier, Jeffrey Smith, and James R. Thompson III to be members of the board of directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority; Senate HELP Committee hearing on proposals to simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as part of Higher Education Act reauthorization; Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on modernizing anti-money laundering laws; House Rules Committee hearing on the Brownfields Enhancement, Economic Redevelopment, and Reauthorization Act; House Oversight and Government Reform Committee field hearing on combating the opioid crisis; House Homeland Security Subcommittee field hearing on stakeholder perspectives for securing public areas of transportation systemsCNN Town Hall Debate on taxes with Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Tim Scott (R-SC), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT);
  • Wednesday (November 29): Senate HELP Committee hearing on the nomination of Alex Azar to serve as secretary of Health and Human Services; Senate Environment and Public Works Committee business meeting to consider the nominations of Kathleen Hartnett White (to be a member of the Council on Environmental Quality) and Andrew Wheeler (to be deputy administrator of the EPA) and 19 General Services Administration resolutions; Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the nomination of Barry Myers to be undersecretary of Commerce for oceans and atmosphere; Senate Judiciary Committee nominations hearingJoint Economic Committee hearing on the economic outlook, with testimony from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen; House Rules Committee hearing on the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act; House Appropriations Subcommittee hearings on USDA’s role in disaster recovery and supplemental oversight hearings for the U.S. Forest ServiceU.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Small Business Administration and General Services AdministrationHouse Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on how companies’ decisions about data and content impact consumers and subcommittee hearing on the role of financial trading in the electricity markets; House Natural Resources Committee oversight hearing on modernizing the National Environmental Policy Act; House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee hearings on the latest developments in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon and a global update on Alzheimer’s diseaseHouse Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee joint hearing on the regulatory reform task forces; House Science, Space & Technology Subcommittee hearing on the role of states in the future of the WOTUS rule; House Financial Services Subcommittee hearing on the role of Ginnie Mae in the housing finance system and joint subcommittee hearing on legislative proposals to counter terrorism and illicit finance; House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee hearing on emerging uses of unmanned aircraft systems in national airspace; House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee hearing on the VA’s failure to address provider quality and safety concerns; House Education and Workforce Subcommittee hearing on the impact of financial challenges facing the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation;
  • Thursday (November 30): Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the nominations of M. Lee McClenny (to be ambassador to Paraguay), Carlos Trujillo (to be permanent representative to the Organization of American States), Kenneth J. Braithwaite (to be ambassador to Norway), and Brock Bierman (to be assistant administrator of USAID); Senate HELP Committee hearing on perspectives from states, communities and providers on the opioid crisis; Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on recommendations for a future national defense strategy with testimony from outside experts; House Appropriations Subcommittee supplemental oversight hearings for the Interior Department and FEMA, and disaster relief for the Transportation Department and Federal Highway AdministrationHouse Intelligence Committee hearing on the Russia inquiry, with testimony from Erik Prince; House Homeland Security Committee hearing on keeping America secure in the new age of terror; House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearings on implementation of the 21st Century Cures Act, with testimony from NIH Director Francis Collins and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, identity verification in a post-breach world, and developments in combating online sex traffickingHouse Financial Services Subcommittee hearings on implementation and cybersecurity protocols of the Consolidated Audit Trail and the effectiveness of U.S. sanctions programsHouse Natural Resources Subcommittee legislative hearings on the Bureau of Reclamation and Bureau of Indian Affairs Water Project Streamlining Act and geothermal exploration and 3 other billsHouse Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on the role and impact of nationwide injunctions by district courts;
  • Friday (December 1): House Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on community block grants and disaster recovery for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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: 11/19/17

By S-3 Public Affairs

Fact of the Week: CNN shares the story of how Square technology has helped small, struggling cities, recover. Webster City, Iowa – population 8,000 – is home to more than 40 businesses that use Square. The idea is “to cater to travelers passing through town often without cash. (Webster City is right off I-35, making it a pit stop on the way to Des Moines).” CNN adds, “About 2 million businesses nationwide use Square. The company continues to innovate with new products. It recently announced its first standalone cash register with its software and payments technology built inside. Square stock is up 175% this year, compared with 2016.”

Recode adds to Square’s success story, “Since its IPO, Square’s valuation has grown about four times to nearly $17 billion today.”

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In the Media: The Wall Street Journal reports, “Major online news publishers and technology companies have agreed to adopt a set of transparency standards set forth by industry consortium The Trust Project, in an attempt to help readers better assess the quality and reliability of the journalism they find on the web. A set of eight new “trust indicators” will enable publishers to volunteer key information about their journalism, including who it was written by, why it was written, how it was sourced and reported, and whether it’s news, opinion or sponsored content. Companies including The Economist, The Globe and Mail, the Independent Journal Review, Mic, Trinity Mirror and the Washington Post have agreed to implement the indicators this month, with other members of the 75-strong consortium expected to follow in the next six months.”

In the Administration: The President will host the National Thanksgiving Turkey Pardoning Ceremony at the White House on Tuesday. He will then head to Florida to celebrate Thanksgiving.

 On the Hill: The House and Senate are out this week for Thanksgiving. 

  • Monday: Senate Finance Subcommittee field hearing on NAFTA modernization;
  • Tuesday: Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee field hearing on the state of VA services in Ohio;
  •  Thursday: Happy Thanksgiving!
  •  Friday: Black Friday | BONUS Fact: New Morning Consult polling finds, “Fifty-eight percent of young adults said they prefer shopping on Black Friday, the traditionally in-store shopping holiday, while 42 percent said they favor Cyber Monday, which is usually tied to online shopping for the holidays. … Adults 45 and older prefer Monday’s online shopping experience during the holiday season, the poll showed.”

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!

S-3 Expands Congressional Reach; Adds Matt Bravo

Washington, DC – S-3 Public Affairs today announced the addition of Capitol Hill veteran Matt Bravo, who most recently served as Floor Director to House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA). He will start work with the firm in 2018.

“Matt Bravo has been a critical part of our Whip Office team from the start, and as floor director he has helped bring about many hard-earned legislative victories to the benefit of the American people. In more than a decade working on Capitol Hill, Matt has developed strong relationships with members of Congress and staff on both sides of the aisle, and while his counsel and friendship will be missed, I know Matt’s experience and expertise will serve him well in the next phase of his career,” said House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA).

Agenda: 11/12/17

By S-3 Public Affairs

Fact of the Week: More proof on the power of video: TechCrunch reports on how Instagram Stories and videos generally have helped to grow the social media platform. “As of June, video watch-time on Instagram is up 80 percent year-over-year and the number of videos shared is up 4x. From June 2016 to April 2017, Instagram grew monthly active users by 40 percentBefore Stories launched, there was a question about a per user Feed photo sharing decrease. A year after Stories launched, people younger than 25 spent 32 minutes per day on Instagram on average, and people 25 years and older spent more than 24 minutes per day. That compares to 21 minutes per day on average for all Instagram users in October 2014. Instagram Stories currently has more than 300 million daily active users, and that compares to Instagram’s total 500 million daily active users in September.”

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In the Media: Look for advertising in Podcasts to evolve in the coming year as more data about listeners becomes more widely available. Despite Podcasts being “about a decade old,” Bloomberg reports, “The medium … remains raw as a business. Partly that’s because audience data are primitive compared with, say, web writing. … Podcasters have very little access to even basic information about who’s listening, how many podcasts or episodes they’re listening to, or even how much of an individual episode they complete.” That’s likely to change soon: “Apple, which maintains a bit more than half of the overall podcasting market with its native Podcasts app, is expected soon to start releasing its data to podcast publishers. Suddenly, podcasters will know the demographics and geographic distribution of their listeners, if listeners actually finish episodes, if listeners skip over the commercials, whether listeners replay podcasts.” Forbes notes: “Sixty-one percent of Americans listen to digital radio monthly, and nearly a quarter listen to podcasts monthly.”

In the administration: President Trump is in the Philippines, the final stop on his Asia tour. The president is expected to have talks with Philippine President Duterte tomorrow before returning home. Administration officials remain actively engaged in the tax reform progress as well, continuing to push for quick action in Congress.

On the Hill: Tax reform remains top priority in both the House and Senate, with potential floor action in the House and an open executive session at the Senate Finance Committee. Also watch for completion of the National Defense Authorization Act.  

  • Monday: Senate Finance Committee open executive session to consider the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, beginning at 3pm; House Rules Committee hearing on the FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act conference report and the 21st Century Flood Reform Act; The Wall Street Journal’s 10th Annual CEO Council Meeting (through Tuesday); The Heritage Foundation event on “educational freedom” for military and veteran service members with Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN);
  • Tuesday: House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing with testimony from Attorney General Jeff Sessions; Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on hurricane recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee business meeting to consider the nomination of Kirstjen Nielsen to lead the Department of Homeland Security; Senate Foreign Relations Committee business meeting to consider the Multilateral Aid Review Act and nomination of Eric Ueland to be undersecretary of State for management followed by a hearing on the authority to order the use of nuclear weapons and subcommittee hearing on American leadership in the Asia-Pacific; Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the nominations of Anthony Kurta (to be principal deputy undersecretary of Defense for personnel and readiness), James McPherson (to be general counsel of the Department of the Army), and Gregory Maggs (to be a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces); Senate HELP Committee hearing on gene editing technology; Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee hearing on 4 bills; Senate Commerce Subcommittee hearing on agriculture technology and data-driven farming; House Financial Services Committee markup of 23 bills; House Administration Committee hearing on preventing sexual harassment in the congressional workplace, with testimony from Reps. Jackie Speier (D-CA), Bradley Byrne (R-AL), and others; House Natural Resources Committee oversight hearing on financial accountability in territories’ disaster recovery efforts; House Rules Committee hearing on the VA Asset and Infrastructure Review Act; House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing on response and recovery to environmental concerns from the 2017 hurricane season; House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee joint hearing on regulatory reform task forces progress, with testimony from representatives of the Departments of Agriculture, Education, and Health and Human Services; House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee hearing on Brexit negotiations; House Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing on the current threat at the U.S.-Canada border; The Hill’s “Digitalizing Infrastructure: Building A Smarter Future” with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Rep. Stacey Plaskett (D-VI);
  • Wednesday: House Committee on Education and the Workforce hearing on Labor Department policies and priorities, with testimony from Secretary Alexander Acosta; House Appropriations Subcommittee oversight hearing of Veterans Affairs’ electronic health records, with testimony from Secretary David Shulkin; Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nominations of circuit court appointees James Ho and Don Willett, district court nominees Calria Boom, John Broomes, Rebecca Grady Jennings, and Robert Wier, and the nomination of Pamela Bresnahan to be chair of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, and subcommittee hearing on the consumer welfare standard in antitrust; Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee business meeting to consider reconciliation legislation that would authorize the Interior Secretary to establish an oil and gas program in the non-wilderness portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; Senate HELP Committee hearing on “encouraging healthy communities” with testimony from Surgeon General Jerome Adams and nomination hearing for several top Labor and Education Department positions; Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing about promoting American leadership in reducing air emissions through innovation; Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee hearing on attacks on U.S. diplomats in Cuba; Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on VA efforts to prevent and combat opioid over-medication; House Rules Committee hearing on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act; House Foreign Affairs Committee markup of 9 bills and resolutions and subcommittee hearing on U.S. economic strategy in Asia amid China’s Belt and Road Initiative; House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the recommendations and reforms proposed by the inspectors general and subcommittee joint hearing on the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) Scorecard 5.0; House Natural Resources Committee legislative hearing on three tribal lands bills and subcommittee legislative hearing on National Park, Fish, and Wildlife Service bills; House Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing on maximizing the value of cyber threat information sharing; CQ Roll Call’s “Energy Decoded” with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), and FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee;
  • Thursday: Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the nominations of John Rood (to be undersecretary of Defense for policy) and Randall Schriver (to be assistant secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific affairs); Senate Judiciary Committee executive business meeting to consider S.2070Senate Foreign Relations Committee closed hearing on counterterrorism guidance; Senate Commerce Subcommittee hearing on Coast Guard readiness; House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing on 5G networks and “its potential to revolutionize American competitiveness”; The Federalist Society’s 2017 National Lawyers Convention (through Saturday);
  • Friday: House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee field hearing on best practices in veterans education and transition to civilian life.

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!

Top Lobbyists 2017

The S-3 team was again recognized in The Hill’s Top Lobbyist list for our deep reach throughout Congress and Washington, DC. Learn more about our growing team here.

The Hill
Top Lobbyists 2017: Hired Guns 
November 2, 2017
Rob Collins and Mike FerenceS-3 Group

“With close ties to House and Senate leadership, S-3 is well-positioned to help blue-chip clients in the biggest policy battles.”

Agenda: 10/29/17

By S-3 Public Affairs

Fact of the Week: For the first time in 14 years, McDonald’s is taking a step back and reviewing how it’s $2 billion annual global advertising budget is being used. The Wall Street Journal reports, “McDonald’s Corp. is conducting a review of its ad-buying account, as the fast-food company seeks to find more efficient ways to spend its advertising dollars around the globe.” Bob Rupczynski, McDonald’s vice president of global media and customer relationship management, joined McDonald’s this year after “developing a data-led approach to advertising for companies such as Kraft Heinz Co. … As part of its ad review, McDonald’s said it is moving away from a single global media agency and will instead select a small number of ad-buying agencies to work with globally.” Rupczynski says, “The goal of this is to find what is the most efficient way to reach the consumer” and to “ensure best-in-class media services and capabilities.”

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In the Administration: President Trump this week is expected to announce his choice for the next Fed Chair. The Wall Street Journal reports, “The day of the announcement is still unclear, and next week is a busy one for Fed officials and the president. … The Fed’s policy-setting committee, on which Mr. Powell sits, will hold a two-day meeting Tuesday and Wednesday, and Mr. Trump leaves for a trip to Asia first thing Friday morning, making a Thursday announcement possible.”

On the Hill: Primary focus this week is on the House Ways and Means Committee, expected to release tax reform legislation on Wednesday. The House is also expected to consider legislation to extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program, to repeal IPAB, and the Resilient Federal Forests Act. The Senate is also expected to vote on several judicial nominees.

  • Monday: Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on authorizations for the use of military force, with testimony from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James MattisSenate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee business meeting to consider the nomination of Emily Murphy (to be administrator of the General Services Administration); House Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing examining physical security and cybersecurity at U.S. ports;
  • Tuesday: Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on working with tech to find solutions for extremist content and Russian disinformation online, including a panel with representatives from Facebook, Twitter, and Google; Senate HELP Committee hearing on implementation of the 21st Century Cures Act; Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearings on oversight of the federal response to the 2017 hurricane season (with a witness panel including FEMA Administrator Brock Long) and cost overruns, information security, and accuracy of the 2020 census (with testimony from Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, U.S. Census Bureau Acting Director Ron S. Jarmin, and GAO Comptroller Eugene Dodaro); Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on the nomination of John C. Demers to be assistant attorney general for national security at the Justice Department; Senate Commerce Committee hearing on four transportation nominations and subcommittee hearing exploring Native American subsistence rights and international treaties; House Rules Committee hearing on the Resilient Federal Forests Act;
  • Wednesday: Facebook, Twitter, and Google general counsels testify before open House and Senate Intelligence Committee hearings on social media influence in the 2016 elections; Senate Banking Committee hearing for Export-Import Bank nominees Scott Garrett (to be president), Kimberly Reed (to be first vice president), Mark Greenblatt (to be inspector general), and board of directors members Spencer Bachus, Judith Delzoppo Pryor, and Claudia Slacik; Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nominations of Leonard Grasz (to be Circuit Judge for the Eighth Circuit), Terry Doughty (to be District Judge for the Western District of Louisiana), Terry Fitzgerald Moorer (to be District Judge for the Southern District of Alabama), and Mark Saalfield Norris, Sr. (to be District Judge for the Western District of Tennessee); Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing for the nominations of Irwin Goldstein (to be undersecretary of state for public diplomacy) and several ambassadorial nominations; Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the nominations of Jim Bridenstine (to be administrator of NASA), Dana Baiocco (to be commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission), Neil Jacobs (to be assistant secretary of commerce for environmental observation and prediction) and Nazakhtar Nikakhtar (to be assistant secretary of commerce for industry and analysis); House Homeland Security Committee hearing assessing FEMA’s preparedness and response capabilities, with testimony from FEMA Administrator Brock Long; House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearings on FirstNet oversight and securing consumers’ credit data in the age of digital commerceHouse Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee hearing reviewing 16 years of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan; House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on an insider’s look at the North Korean regime, with testimony from Thae Yong-ho, formerly North Korea’s deputy ambassador to the United Kingdom; House Financial Services Subcommittee hearings examining the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery Program and vulnerabilities and opportunities for improvement in data securityHouse Judiciary Subcommittee hearings on net neutrality and the role of antitrustoversight of the Executive Office for Immigration Review, and the Heartbeat Protection ActHouse Appropriations Subcommittee oversight hearing of accountable soft power in the national interest, with testimony from USAID Administrator Mark Green; House Rules Committee hearing on Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act;
  • Thursday: Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the potential for oil and gas exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the nominations of Mark Esper (to be army secretary), Robert Wilkie (to be undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness), Joseph Kernan (to be undersecretary of defense for intelligence), and Guy Roberts (to be assistant secretary of defense for nuclear, chemical and biological defense); Senate Judiciary Committee executive business meeting to markup the Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act; former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page testifies at a House Intelligence Committee hearingHouse Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearings on emergency response and energy infrastructure recovery efforts in the 2017 hurricane season and concerns over federal select agent program oversight of dangerous pathogens; House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing on central takeaways from the 2017 hurricane season; House Natural Resources Subcommittee hearing on three water-related bills; House Financial Services Subcommittee hearing on private sector perspectives towards sustainable housing finance and reform; Reps. Sean Duffy (R-WI) and Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) discuss the future of Puerto Rico at a Ripon Society event; Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) participate in a conversation on the opioid epidemic hosted by the Edward M. Kennedy Institute;
  • Friday: House Financial Services Subcommittee hearing on legislative proposals to improve small business and community access to capital.

In the Media: AdWeek shares insights from Kay Hsu, the global Instagram lead at the Facebook Creative Shop. Kay explains the potential of Instagram stories in building a brand, telling a complicated story, and advertising in a format that feels more like a social experience than an ad. “Complex stories that have multiple messages can be tightened up to fit the modern attention spans of mobile users, or brands can use the space to stretch their story out. …  Brand content stops seeming like an advertisement, and instead acts as a compelling ongoing story that people are delighted to engage with.”

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: 10/22/17

By S-3 Public Affairs

Fact of the Week: FastCompany reports, “Venmo, the PayPal-owned mobile app best known for peer-to-peer money transfer, is morphing into a full-fledged digital wallet. As of yesterday, any mobile website that accepts PayPal will also accept Venmo as a form of payment. That makes Venmo a viable checkout option at over 2 million U.S. retailers.” This comes the same week that PayPal reported continued profit growth and strong projections for next year. The Wall Street Journal adds, “Total payment volume increased 30% to $114 billion, a new milestone, and around one-third of that volume came through a mobile device. PayPal counted 218 million active customer accounts at the end of the third quarter, also a record.”

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In the Administration: President Trump heads to the Hill on Tuesday to address the Senate Republican Policy Committee’s weekly luncheon meeting. This comes as the president and the Hill continue their drive to tax reform, including an op-ed from the president in USA Today. The president is also expected to declare the opioid epidemic a national emergency this week.

On the Hill: Both the House and Senate return this week with focus in the House on adopting the Senate-passed budget resolution so it can move forward with tax reform. The Senate on Monday is expected to take a procedural vote on House-passed disaster-relief legislation. The House is also expected to vote on “new sanctions on Iran’s ballistic missile program and on Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah militia,” per Reuters.

  • Monday: House Rules Committee meeting on H.R.469 (Sunshine for Regulations and Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act) and H.R.732 (Stop Settlement Slush Funds Act); House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) addresses the SIFMA Annual MeetingThe Milken Institute’s Future of Health Summit (through Tuesday), with speakers including Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Reps. Fred Upton (R-MI), Diana DeGette (D-CO), and Debbie Dingell (D-MI);
  • Tuesday: Senate Banking Committee hearing on the nominations of David Ryder (to be director of the U.S. Mint) and Hester Peirce and Robert J. Jackson Jr. (to be members of the SEC); Senate Finance Committee hearing on the nomination of Kevin McAleenan to be commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and open executive session to consider the nominations of Jeffrey Gerrish (to be a deputy U.S. Trade Representative), Gregory Doud (to be chief agricultural negotiator at the office of the U.S. Trade Representative), and Jason Kearns (to be a member of the International Trade Commission); Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on U.S. policy towards Burma; House Rules Committee hearing on the Senate amendment to the FY2018 budget; House Financial Services Subcommittee hearing on the federal government’s role in the insurance industry; House Appropriations Subcommittee oversight hearing on the role of facilities and administrative costs in supporting NIH-funded research; House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing to examine HHS’s public health preparedness for and response to the 2017 hurricane season; House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee joint hearing on regulatory reform task forces updates and oversight hearing of federal political advertisement laws and regulations; House Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing on public-private solutions for cyber workforce education; House Veterans’ Affair Committee hearing on several bills and draft legislation; The Hill’s “America’s Opioid Epidemic: Aging & Addiction” event, with remarks from Reps. Katherine Clark (D-MA) and Markwayne Mullin (R-OK); Bloomberg Next: The Connected Future, featuring conversations with Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-VA), and FCC Commissioners Brendan Carr and Jessica Rosenworcel; The Heritage Foundation’s “The Business Perspective and Cost of Doing Nothing on Tax Reform” with remarks from Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) and Business Roundtable President and CEO Joshua Bolten;
  • Wednesday: Joint Economic Committee hearing on the future of American economic growth, with testimony from Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Kevin Hassett; Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on the Wildfire Prevention and Mitigation Act and business meeting to consider the nominations of four assistant EPA administrators and a member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Senate Banking Committee hearing on Department of Housing and Urban Development nominees Brian Montgomery (to be assistant secretary for housing), Robert Kurtz (to be assistant secretary for public and Indian housing), and Suzanne Tufts (to be assistant secretary for administration); Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee closed briefing on Nigeria security, with testimony from Donald Yamamoto, the acting assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of African Affairs and Mike Miller, the director of the State Department’s office of regional and arms transfers; Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the commercial satellite industry; Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee business meeting to consider the nominations of Jeff T.H. Pon (to be director of the Office of Personnel Management), Michael Rigas (to be deputy director of the Office of Personnel Management), and Emily Murphy (to be administrator of the General Services Administration); House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee hearing on the President’s Iran decision; House Energy and Commerce Committee oversight hearing of the FCC, with testimony from Chairman Ajit Pai and commissioners Brendan Carr, Mignon Clyburn, Michael O’Rielly, and Jessica Rosenworcel and subcommittee hearing on federal efforts to combat the opioid crisis; House Financial Services Committee hearing examining the Equifax data breach and subcommittee hearing on private sector perspectives of sustainable housing finance; House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee joint hearing on ongoing management challenges at IRS; House Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on Down Syndrome research, with testimony from a panel including Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), and Pete Sessions (R-TX); House Administration Committee hearing on state voter registration list management; House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee hearing examining how the VBA can effectively prevent and manage overpayments;
  • Thursday: Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on cyber technology and energy infrastructure; Senate Foreign Relations Committee business meeting to consider the Multilateral Aid Review Act, a resolution reaffirming U.S. commitment to human rights and the rule of law in Cambodia, and 18 ambassadorial nominations; Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee hearing on lessons from state legislatures for improving oversight of the regulatory process; Senate HELP Committee hearing about free speech on college campuses; House Judiciary Subcommittee oversight hearing of the U.S. refugee admissions program.

In the Media: The Wall Street Journal reports that people spend an estimated “12 hours a day on average consuming tech and media, including moments when they are multitasking. … By 2021, Americans are projected to spend an additional 18 minutes a day with tech and media.” This comes from insights shared by Michael Wolf of Activate Inc. speaking at its WSJ D.Live technology conference. When it comes to trying to capture attention during those 12 hours, Wolf notes “the most fertile ground is the digital voice assistant found in smart speakers and smartphones.” Podcasts are also expected to see significant growth. “Activate estimates the U.S. podcast audience will nearly double to 112 million active monthly listeners in 2021.” Finally, “Revenue from online videos—including subscription streaming services, individual purchases and online ads—are expected to make up about 15% of the $200 billion U.S. market for television and video in 2018.”

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: 10/15/17

By S-3 Public Affairs

Fact of the Week: Technology continues to disrupt the way we work. Next up: marketing. AdWeek reports, “But since 2011, the handful of tools in the marketing technology marketplace has ballooned to more than 3,800. And they’ve evolved from simply automating repetitive tasks to generating their own competitive insights. … When content can be created instantly, targeted and distributed instantly, and then tweaked and optimized instantly, marketing becomes a whole new ballgame. … For companies, keeping pace requires investing not just in the right people, but in the right tools.”

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In the Administration: President Trump is expected to have lunch with Senate Majority Leader McConnell tomorrow ahead of an important week in the Senate for tax reform. The two are expected to discuss the legislative calendar for the coming months.

On the Hill: Focus in the Senate this week is on passing the FY2018 budget resolution so it can move forward with tax reform. The Senate is also expected to consider an aid package passed in the House last week. Finally, the Senate is also expected to name conferees on the FY2018 Defense Authorization bill. The House is on a district work period this week.

  • Monday: Senate vote on the nomination of Callista Gingrich to be ambassador to the Holy See;
  • Tuesday: Senate Appropriations Subcommittee markups of the FY2018 Interior, Environment & Related Agencies Appropriations Bill and the FY2018 Homeland Security Appropriations BillSenate Intelligence Committee hearing on the nomination of Christopher Sharpley to serve as inspector general of the CIA; Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nominations of five circuit and district judges; Senate Banking Committee hearing on consumer data security and credit bureaus; Senate HELP Committee hearing on the cost of prescription drugs;
  • Wednesday: Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing of the Justice Department, with testimony from Attorney General Jeff Sessions; Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the nominations of Thomas Carter to serve as the U.S. representative on the Council of International Civil Aviation Organization, Jennifer Gillian Newstead to be a State Department legal adviser, and Manisha Singh to be an assistant secretary of state for economic and business affairs; Senate HELP Committee executive session on various Labor Department, Education Department, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and National Labor Relations Board nominations; Senate Environment & Public Works Committee business meeting to consider various EPA, Transportation Department and Nuclear Regulatory Commission nominees; CNN Town Hall Debate on President Trump’s tax plan featuring Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Ted Cruz (R-TX); Axios event on healthcare with Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Tim Kaine (D-VA);
  • Thursday: Senate Appropriations Committee markup of the FY2018 Interior and FY2018 Homeland Security Appropriations Bills; Senate HELP Committee hearing examining how healthy choices can improve health outcomes and reduce costs; Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on modernizing the Food for Peace program and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) delivers remarks on reforming international emergency food aid assistance at the American Enterprise Institute.

In the Media: The New York Times acknowledged the value that news consumers place on social media and the changing dynamics in the media today, announcing new social media guidelines aimed at maintaining unbiased reporting. “The New York Times announced on Friday an updated and expanded set of guidelines for our journalists’ use of social media. The new guidelines underscore our newsroom’s appreciation for the important role social media now plays in our journalism, but also call for our journalists to take extra care to avoid expressing partisan opinions or editorializing on issues that The Times is covering.”

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: 10/8/17

By S-3 Public Affairs

Fact of the Week: AIM will officially end on December 15 of this year, but its impact on how we communicate is now a multi-billion dollar industry. The Wall Street Journal reports, “While AIM remained in the mainstream for a decade, … A new set of internet titans emerged. Apple, Facebook and Google rolled out communications platforms and spawned a multibillion-dollar chat-app industry that owes more than a little debt of gratitude to AIM.” Just as AIM is shutting down, applications like Slack and Facebook’s Workplace Chat are continuing to evolve, all building on what AIM made mainstream. Mashable reports this week, “Facebook has finally released a beta version of Workplace Chat, a desktop messaging service for businesses. The new messaging service is essentially a competitor to Slack.” Meanwhile, CNBC adds, “Slack Technologies has secured a partnership with Oracle to integrate the tech giant’s enterprise software products into the popular workplace messaging app.” #ThanksAIM

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In the Administration: President Trump is expected to deliver a tax reform speech in Pennsylvania on Wednesday. Additionally, The Washington Post reports, “President Trump is expected to announce next week that he will “decertify” the international nuclear deal with Iran, saying it is not in the national interest of the United States and kicking the issue to a reluctant Congress. … Trump is expected to deliver a speech, tentatively scheduled for Oct. 12, laying out a larger strategy for confronting the nation he blames for terrorism and instability throughout the Middle East.”

Also this week: the fourth round of NAFTA renegotiations begins Wednesday.

On the Hill: The House returns to Washington on Tuesday with plans to consider a disaster relief measure. The Senate is in recess this week.

In the Media: Pew Research shares key insights on the continuing rise of digital, mobile, and social new consumption. A big part of the increase over the past year has been largely attributed to older Americans. “Roughly two-thirds (67%) of those ages 65 and older now get news on a mobile device, a 24-percentage-point jump from 2016 and about three times the share in 2013. … For the first time in Pew Research Center surveys, more than half (55%) of Americans ages 50 and older report getting news on social media sites, a 10-percentage-point jump from 2016.”

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: 10/1/17

By S-3 Public Affairs

Fact of the Week: Cities across the country are competing for the attention of Amazon as it decides where to invest $5 billion and bring 50,000 jobs. In Amazon’s quest for a new headquarters, everyone from volunteers in mayors’ offices to students at Wharton are vying for the contract. The New York Times shares more stories on the outreach happening across the country (including several plays on Alexa). Applications are due October 18. Just as the tax reform debate picks up inside the Beltway, this competition is also generating conversation about how these cities can make their tax structures most attractive to Amazon.

BONUS: Axios’ Sara Fischer shares highlights from last week’s Advertising Week conference in New York City. “A lot of scrolling: “The average person scrolls through 300 feet of mobile content every day,” said Andrew Keller, Facebook’s Global Creative Director.”

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In the Administration: President Trump is scheduled to deliver a speech Monday marking “Cut the Red Tape Day.” The Washington Examiner reports, “Trump will outline regulatory obstacles in his speech Monday, which will cast his deregulation push as the signature initiative of his presidency, according to the White House. He is expected to outline his accomplishments as well as efforts still to come. …The speech will be followed by breakout sessions at 10 federal agencies, including the departments of Agriculture, Energy, Interior and others. But the Environmental Protection Agency is not on the list, according to a White House agenda shared with the Washington Examiner.”

The president also indicated his intention to sign an executive order allowing for the purchase of health insurance across state lines.

President Trump and Vice President Pence plan to visit Puerto Rico on Tuesday, with Pence also visiting the US Virgin Islands.

On the Hill: The House is expected to consider the FY2018 congressional budget resolution, paving the way for tax reform, with a Rules Committee hearing Tuesday and a floor vote expected Thursday. Additionally, the House and Senate will hold several hearings on the Equifax breach, including testimony from Former Equifax CEO Richard Smith: House Energy and Commerce on Tuesday, Senate Banking and Judiciary Committees on Wednesday, and House Financial Services Committee.

  • Tuesday: Senate Finance Committee hearing on international tax reform; Joint Economic Committee hearing on tax reform and entrepreneurship; Senate Banking Committee hearing on the Wells Fargo accounts scandal, with testimony from CEO and President Timothy J. Sloan; Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on the administration’s decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals; Senate HELP Committee hearing on the Every Student Succeeds Act and executive session on the nominations of several Labor Department, Education Department, and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission positions; Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the nominations of Bruce Walker (to be Assistant Secretary of Energy for Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability) and Steven Winberg (to be Assistant Secretary of Energy for Fossil Energy), hearing on energy storage technologies, and subcommittee hearing on 7 bills; Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the political and security situation in Afghanistan; Senate Foreign Relations Committee nomination hearings for Ambassador to India and for Ambassadors to Cameroon, Niger, Mauritania, Angola, Zambia, and Mauritius and Seychelles; House vote on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act; House Natural Resources Committee legislative hearing on the Recreation Not Red-Tape Act and full markup on 9 bills; House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on online sex trafficking and the Communications Decency Act; House Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing on the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity mission; House Financial Services Committee hearing on sustainable housing finance, with testimony from Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Melvin L. Watt; House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee hearing on cybersecurity of the Internet of Things; House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing on patient access to investigational drugs; House Science Committee hearing on electric grid resiliency; House Armed Services Subcommittee hearing on securing the peace after the fall of ISIL; House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee hearing on Iraq and Syria genocide emergency relief and accountability;
  • Wednesday: Senate Intelligence Committee press conference on the status of the Russia investigation; Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nominations of various Circuit and District Court nominees; Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on the nominations of assistant EPA administrators Michael Dourson, Matthew Leopold, David Ross, and William Wehrum; Senate HELP Committee hearing on Labor Department and National Labor Relations Board nominations; Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on the nomination of John M. Mitnick to be Department of Homeland Security general counsel; Senate Foreign Relations Committee nominations hearing and hearing on the future of Iraq’s minorities; Senate Commerce Committee executive session to consider four bills and five nominations, including self-driving vehicle legislation and several Commerce Department positions; Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing on the nominations of Melissa Sue Glynn (to be assistant secretary of Veterans Affairs for enterprise integration), Cheryl Mason (to be chairman of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals) and Randy Reeves (to be undersecretary of Veterans Affairs for memorial affairs); House Financial Services Committee hearing on the SEC’s agenda, operations, and budget, with testimony from Chairman Jay Clayton; House Natural Resources Committee legislative hearing on 3 tribal bills and full markup on 9 bills; House Ways and Means Subcommittee hearing on the IRS’ IT modernization efforts; House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee stakeholder hearing on the air quality impacts of wildfires; House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee hearing on the GAO’s review of the State Department’s antiterrorism assistance program;

  • Thursday: House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on the U.S. response to the Rohingya crisis; Senate Finance Committee hearing on the nominations of Jeffrey Gerrish (to be Deputy U.S. Trade Representative of Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Industrial Competitiveness), Gregory Doud (to be the U.S. Trade Representative’s chief agricultural negotiator), and Jason Kearns (to be a member of the International Trade Commission); Senate HELP Committee hearing on the federal response to the opioid crisis;

  • Friday: Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee field hearing on efficient approaches to reducing industrial energy costs.

In the Media: A new report by the Morning Consult finds, “63 percent of U.S. adults report seeing more ads, and three-quarters of Americans agree that internet ads are intrusive.” That said, the survey found, “67 percent of U.S. consumers aren’t willing to pay more for a service without ads.” Despite the increasing focus on digital ads, TV are still found to be the most entertaining. “TV advertisements are the only kind that more than half of those surveyed agree are entertaining: Sixty percent of U.S. adults said that about television ads, compared to 41 percent who agree that social media ads entertaining, or the 38 percent who say the same about internet ads.”

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: 9/24/17

By S-3 Public Affairs

Fact of the Week: The Wall Street Journal reports on Mashable’s big bet on video, noting that Mashable is not alone in this shift. They note that the digital landscape has shifted in recent years, with initial excitement around new outlets leveling off and investors looking for clear returns. The solution: video. “Many companies seeking to accelerate growth to justify high valuations are banking on video, where ad spending is expected to grow to $9.4 billion this year, up 68% from 2015.”

In the Administration: President Trump is heading to Indiana on Wednesday to promote the tax reform plan expected to be released that day. Vice President Mike Pence will campaign for Senator Luther Strange (R-AL), on Monday, with the primary runoff on Tuesday.

On the Hill: The House and Senate return to Washington with busy schedules. Focus remains on possible health care legislation, with media events Monday and Tuesday and a hearing Monday at the Senate Finance Committee. Also this week, the White House and Republican leaders are expected to release their tax policy agenda on Wednesday, while House Republicans attend a half-day “tax-policy retreat.”

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Additional floor activity will likely include extensions to both the FAA authorization and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, both of which expire on September 30.

  • Monday: Senate Finance Committee hearing to consider the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson healthcare proposal, including testimony from Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA); House Rules Committee meeting on the Increasing Opportunity through Evidence-Based Home Visiting Act and the Control Unlawful Fugitive Felons Act.

  • Tuesday: Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on special counsels and the separation of powers; Senate Foreign Relations Committee business meeting and hearing on managing security assistance to support foreign policy; Senate Banking Committee hearing on Securities and Exchange Commission oversight, with testimony from SEC Chairman Jay Clayton; Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the reappointment of Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing to consider Energy Department nominees Bruce J. Walker (to be Assistant Secretary of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability) and Steven E. Winberg (to be Assistant Secretary of Fossil Energy); Senate Commerce Subcommittee hearing on FTC stakeholder perspectives for improving consumer protection and general process; House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on State Department redesign, with testimony from Deputy Secretary John J. Sullivan; House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on recommendations of Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking; House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee hearing on America’s nuclear waste management and storage policy; House Veterans’ Affairs Committee legislative hearing, with testimony from Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Steve King (R-IA), Lloyd Smucker (R-PA), Mike Coffman (R-CO), Steve Stivers (R-OH), Ron DeSantis (R-FL), John Rutherford (R-FL), and Veterans Affair Secretary David Shulkin; House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing on technology’s role in empowering consumers; House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee hearing on water stakeholders’ perspectives of infrastructure; House Homeland Security Subcommittee meeting on DHS efforts to improve aviation security; House Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing on modernization of DHS financial systems; The Atlantic Council Transatlantic Forum on Strategic Communications, featuring opening remarks from Sens. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI);  

  • Wednesday: Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on threats to the homeland, with testimony from Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and National Counterterrorism Center Director Nicholas J. Rasmussen; Senate Judiciary Committee business meeting to consider the nomination of Brian Benczkowski (to be an Assistant Attorney General) and the SAFER Act; Senate HELP Committee executive session on the nominations of Patrick Pizzella (to be Deputy Labor Secretary), Janet Dhillon (to be designated chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission); Daniel M. Gade (to be a member of the EEOC), and Carlos G. Muniz (to be general counsel of the Education Department); Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on the nominations of Kathleen M. Fitzpatrick (to be Ambassador to Timor-Leste) and Daniel J. Kritenbrink (to be Ambassador to Vietnam) and the nominations of Richard Duke Buchan III (to be Ambassador to Spain), Richard Grenell (to be Ambassador to Germany), and Edward T. McMullen, Jr. (to be Ambassador to the Swiss Confederation and Liechtenstein); Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing on suicide prevention; Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the nominations of Ann Marie Buerkle (to be Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission) and three other Commerce and Transportation Department positions; Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on legislative solutions for forest management to mitigate wildfires; Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee hearing on National Parks oversight; House Agriculture Committee hearing on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s 2017 agenda; House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee hearings on democracy in Rwanda and Burma’s campaign against the Rohingya; House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee hearing on cybersecurity of the Internet of Things; House Financial Services Subcommittee hearing on the Family Self-Sufficiency Program; House Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee hearing on reducing risks of catastrophic wildfire and improving forest resiliency; House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee hearing on improving access to GI Bill-approved apprenticeship programs; Financial Services Roundtable event on tax reform, featuring House Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA); 

  • Thursday: Senate Intelligence Committee is expected to meet with representatives from Twitter; Senate Banking Committee hearing on administration policy for North Korea sanctions enforcement; Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on perspectives for the 2018 farm bill; Senate Commerce Subcommittee hearing on TSA modernization; House Foreign Affairs Committee markup of several foreign policy bills and resolutions; House Financial Services Subcommittee hearing on insurance for nonprofit organizations; House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on agency compliance with the Congressional Review Act.

In the Media: Twitter and Buzzfeed’s foray into live video programming premieres tomorrow morning (8-9 AM ET). Variety reports, “‘AM to DM’ will follow a traditional morning-show format, delivering the day’s top stories from staff reporters providing news and commentary on politics, social issues, technology, business and entertainment. But it will have some unique twists, given the nature of the medium: The show will feature “everyday Twitter heroes” who have captured the spotlight and focus on what people are saying on Twitter live, as it happens during the broadcast. Also planned are regular segments with guest ‘newsmakers and notables’ discussing current trends, personalities — and the best jokes from the twittersphere.”

ReCode notes that we should expect continued growth in original online video content. “Our phones are our Everydevice. We can watch whatever whenever (and do) which shows just how quaint the idea of primetime is.”

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: 9/17/17

By: S-3 Public Affairs

Fact of the Week: This week the House of Representatives passed all 12 appropriations bills prior to the start of the new fiscal year (October 1) for the first time since 2009. The last time all 12 appropriations bills were enacted prior to the start of the fiscal year was in 1996. Congress is currently operating under a Continuing Resolution through December 8.

In the Administration: President Trump this week will make his first appearance at the United Nations, with remarks on Tuesday. The Hill’s Max Greenwood adds, “Trump is also set to hold a spate of meetings with world leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.N. Secretary General António Guterres. He will also meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Korean President Moon Jae-In about North Korea’s rapidly advancing weapons program.”

Bloomberg’s Margaret Talev notes, “In addition to Trump and Haley, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, the president’s adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner and his National Economic Council director, Gary Cohn, are all expected to attend events in New York next week. Two key foreign leaders will not be on hand: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.”

CONTINUE READING

Next weekend President Trump will head to Alabama to campaign for Senator Luther Strange.

On the Hill:

Senate returns this week through Wednesday and is expected to complete work on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), with a cloture vote scheduled for Monday. Also in the Senate, various efforts are moving in the health care spaceincluding bipartisan work on insurance market stabilization led by Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman and Ranking Member Alexander and Murray. In Senate committees this week:

  • Monday: House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee field hearing on “leadership failures” at the Manchester, NH VA medical center;

  • Tuesday: Senate Finance Committee hearing on business tax reform; Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act; Senate Foreign Relations Committee business meeting on various legislation and nominations and hearing on the nominations of Jon Huntsman (for Ambassador to Russia) and A. Wess Mitchell (for Assistant Secretary of State of European and Eurasian Affairs); Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee business meeting to consider various Interior, Energy, and FERC nominees and hearing on vegetation management requirements for electricity assets on federal lands; Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on Agriculture Department nominees Stephen Censky (for Deputy Secretary of Agriculture) and Ted McKinney (for Undersecretary of Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs); Senate HELP Committee hearing on the nominations of Carlos Muniz (for general counsel of the Education Department), Janet Dhillon (as member and designated chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), and Daniel Gade, Ph.D. (as member of the EEOC); Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on recent U.S. Navy incidents at sea;

  • Wednesday: Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on several District and Circuit Court nominations; Senate Environment & Public Works Committee hearing on the nominations of Michael Dourson, Matthew Leopold, David Ross, and William Wehrum as assistant administrators of EPA and Jeffrey Baran to be a member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing on the special needs of older Americans for disaster preparedness and response; Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Subcommittee hearing on end-of-year spending.

In the Media: Saturday’s Axios AM notes the rising trend in media’s coverage of itself in a quest to understand how the changing landscape, driven by technology, is influencing and shaping our lives. Business Insider reports, “CNN is set to launch a new technology-focused vertical about the changing media landscape on the West Coast. Titled ‘Pacific,’ the new franchise will be led by Senior Media Reporter Dylan Byers, and will focus on the powerful West Coast-based companies that have changed media, technology, and politics.” Axios’ Sara Fischer adds that CNN is not alone in this and is hosting an already-waitlisted event this week to unpack the trends.

To help those affected by the hurricane in the Virgin Islands, the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands (CFVI) has established the Fund for the Virgin Islands

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: 9/10/17

By S-3 Public Affairs

Fact of the Week: As Amazon makes plans for its second U.S. headquarters, the Wall Street Journal shares a positive perspective on the impact that automation (and businesses like Amazon) can have. “The brick-and-mortar retail swoon has been accompanied by a less headline-grabbing e-commerce boom that has created more jobs in the U.S. than traditional stores have cut. Those jobs, in turn, pay better, because its workers are so much more productive. This demonstrates something routinely overlooked in the anxiety about the job-destroying potential of robots, artificial intelligence and other forms of automation. Throughout history, automation commonly creates more, and better-paying, jobs than it destroys. The reason: Companies don’t use automation simply to produce the same thing more cheaply. Instead, they find ways to offer entirely new, improved products. As customers flock to these new offerings, companies have to hire more people.”

This reporting is consistent with research from S&P Global which found, “automation as both a problem and a solution for job creation,” with new opportunities supported by education and training programs.

CONTINUE READING

In the Administration: President Trump has spent the weekend at Camp David with cabinet members discussing hurricane preparedness and relief efforts as well as the fall legislative agenda, including tax reform.

On the Hill: When Congress returns this week the House will return its attention to the remaining appropriations package and the Senate will debate the National Defense Authorization Act. Meanwhile both the Senate HELP and Senate Finance Committees remain busy with continued efforts on stabilizing the insurance market.

  • Tuesday: Senate HELP Committee hearing on stabilizing the insurance market, with a focus on state flexibility; Senate Finance Committee hearing on issues impacting cost and coverage of healthcare; Senate Banking Committee hearing on the fintech landscape; Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on nominations; Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing on nominations; Senate Energy & Natural Resources Subcommittee hearing on the Department of Energy’s national laboratories; Senate Commerce Subcommittee hearing on reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act; Joint Economic Committee hearing on the gains from free digital trade; House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on “pressuring” North Korea; House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the recommendations of the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking; House Natural Resources Committee hearing on the SHARE Act and full committee markup of 7 bills (through Wednesday); House Science, Space & Technology Committee hearing on the resiliency of the electric grid; House Homeland Security Committee hearing on “Keeping America Secure in the New Age of Terror”; House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on regulation and competition of occupational licensing; House Financial Services Subcommittee hearing on the relationship between prudential regulation and monetary policy at the Federal Reserve; House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee hearings on reliability in the electricity industry and the impact of protectionist cross-border data flow policy on U.S. jobs; House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee hearings on infrastructure, with testimony from Coast Guard stakeholders and rail stakeholdersHouse Veterans Affairs Subcommittee hearings on VA mail management and legislative markup; The Hill“Turning Genes into Medicine: Reimagining Our Health Care System” panel, featuring Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-WA) and Patrick Meehan (R-PA); Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) holds Senate Homeland Security Committee minority roundtable on opioids sales and marketing;

  • Wednesday: Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the long-term impact of immigration; Senate Commerce Committee hearing on automated truck safety technology and impact; Senate Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing on the OMB’s ongoing government-wide reorganization; Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on the use of carbon capture; House Financial Services Subcommittee hearing on a legislative proposal to impede North Korea’s access to finance; House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee hearings on the President’s FY2018 budget request for Afghanistan and Pakistanthe crisis in Venezuela, and the future of democracy and governance in LiberiaHouse Energy & Commerce Subcommittee hearings on legislation reducing regulatory burdens for job creators and modernizing FDA regulation of over-the-counter drugs; House Ways & Means Subcommittee hearing on how the IRS resolves taxpayer disputes; House Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing on assessing suspicious activity reporting efforts; House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee hearing on the Save Local Business Act; House Small Business Committee hearing on the effectiveness of the Small Business Administration’s Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) Program; House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee hearing with economic development stakeholders’ perspectives on infrastructure; The Hill: “America’s Opioid Epidemic: Search for Solutions” panel,featuring Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY); Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduces the Medicare for All Act of 2017; The Atlantic Council hosts a conversation with Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) on immigration;
  • Thursday: POLITICO Pro Policy Summit; Senate HELP Committee hearing on stabilizing the insurance market, with testimony from health care stakeholders; Senate Finance Committee hearing on individual tax reform; Senate Banking Committee hearing on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States; Senate Judiciary Committee executive business meeting on various nominations; Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on policy options to support democracy in Venezuela; Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing on FCC’s Lifeline program; Senate Agriculture Committee hearing about nutrition programs and the 2018 farm bill; House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee hearing on workforce programs under the Public Health Service Act; House Small Business Subcommittee hearing about how Small Business Administration entrepreneurial development programs have evolved with technology; Center for Climate and Energy Solutions event, with remarks from Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and John Barrasso (R-WY).

In the Media: The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook is planning for significant investment in video. “Facebook’s thirst for video content pits it against traditional broadcasters such as Time Warner Inc.’s HBO and deep-pocketed tech companies such as Amazon.com Inc. and Netflix Inc., which all are banking on video to capture the fleeting attention of users and seize billions of dollars in advertising that is expected to migrate from television to digital video. Apple Inc. is preparing its own billion-dollar war chest for content.”

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: 9/3/17

By S-3 Public Affairs

Fact of the Week: Smartphones are about to get a lot smarter. Ahead of the next iPhone reveal, the New York Times reports on the “futurism” that your phone’s camera is expected to unleash as soon as 2018. “Here’s a peek into how the camera may come into play: As soon as you pick up your gadget, it will see you and know you are the owner and unlock the screen. Overseas, you will be able to point the camera at a restaurant menu to translate items into your native language. When shopping for furniture, you can point your phone camera at your living room floor and place a virtual rendering of a coffee table down to see how it looks and move around and peek underneath it.”

The Times notes, “All the tech giants are betting big on augmented reality,” including Google’s ARCore and Apple’s ARKit. Futurism adds, “Eventually, ARCore might be combined with a visual search tool like Google Lens to transform the way we get information. … ARCore is evidence of Google’s determination to help us all make sense of what we see around us, and to be part of the movement to digitally enhance our world.”

CONTINUE READING

In the Administration: As Congress returns, President Trump is scheduled to meet with House and Senate leaders to discuss both tax reform and likely hurricane relief funding, debt ceiling, and government funding measures.

The president is also expected to give a speech on tax reform in North Dakota on Wednesday.

On the Hill: Congress returns this week with its focus on emergency relief for Hurricane Harvey, as well as government funding and raising the debt ceiling. The administration’s request for relief funding included a call to quickly raise the debt ceiling as well to ensure the funds are accessible. Other September deadlines include reauthorizations of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, National Flood Insurance Program, and FAA. Additionally, in the Senate HELP Committee, bipartisan leaders are looking into health care stabilization efforts with hearings on Wednesday and Thursday, as well as continued discussion around tax reform.

  • Monday: Labor Day – enjoy!
  • Tuesday: House Rules Committee hearing on the Intelligence Authorization Act; Senate expected to vote on Timothy Kelly to serve as a U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia; 
  • Wednesday: Senate HELP Committee hearing on stabilizing the insurance market, with testimony from state insurance commissioners; Senate Homeland Security hearing on the “history and current reality of the U.S. health care system”; Senate Appropriations Subcommittee markups of the FY2018 Labor, HHS, Education Appropriations Bill and the FY2018 State & Foreign Operations Appropriations BillSenate Judiciary Committee hearing for various judicial nominees; Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the U.S.-Turkey relationship; Senate Commerce Committee hearingon waste, fraud and abuse in the FCC’s Lifeline program; House Education and the Workforce Committee hearing on the sharing economy; House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing on EPA oversight; House Financial Services Subcommittee hearing on the financing of lone-wolf and small-scale terrorist attacks; House Ways and Means Subcommittee hearings on Social Security and disability benefits and declining employment among working-age men;
  • Thursday: Senate HELP Committee hearing on stabilizing the insurance market, with testimony from a panel of governors; Senate Appropriations Committee markup of the appropriations bills for Labor, HHS, and Education and State and Foreign Operations; Senate Judiciary Committee executive business meeting to vote on judicial nominations; Senate Finance Committee hearing on Children’s Health Insurance Program reauthorization; Senate Banking Committee executive session to vote on the nominations of Joseph Otting to be Comptroller of the Currency and of Randal Quarles to serve as the Federal Reserve Board of Governors’ vice chairman for supervision and hearing on North Korean sanctions policy; Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on Interior Department and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission nominees; House Financial Services Subcommittee hearing on oversight of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), with testimony from FINRA President and CEO Robert Cook; House Foreign Affairs Subcommitteehearings on the State Department’s FY2018 budget in South Asia and FY2018 counterterrorism budgetHouse Armed Services Committee hearing on Navy readiness; House Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing on the cybersecurity workforce; House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee hearing on private sector exploration of the moon;
  • Friday: Govs. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) and John Kasich (R-OH) discuss their bipartisan proposal to stabilize the insurance market at a Center for American Progress/American Enterprise Institute event.

In the Media: According to the advertising industry, attention spans have gotten even shorter – 6 seconds. AdWeek talked to several experts who all concluded the 6-second spots (which Google calls “bumper ads”) are potentially more powerful and effective than 15 or 30 seconds, particularly when targeting millennials. Expectations are that we will begin seeing more of these in the coming months as they emerge as a new normal come 2018.

Among the observations AdWeek shares:

  • “They force you to be more focused;”
  • “You sort of have to understand your subject matter, your medium, your production tools so much more intimately in order to make use of six seconds;”
  • “If we’re trying to reach someone for the first time, the shorter the better.”

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: 7/30/17

By S-3 Public Affairs

Fact of the Week: The C-Suite is not just starting to accept AI, but it is embracing and acknowledging its power and potential. AdWeek reports on a new IBM report which finds, “73 percent of CEOs predict AI will play a “key role” in their companies’ future. And more than 50 percent of the chiefs said they plan to adopt such technologies in the next two years.” The technology continues to develop. Just this week Wired reports, “Google’s DeepMind is developing an AI capable of ‘imagination’, enabling machines to see the consequences of their actions before they make them. … Its attempt to create algorithms that simulate the distinctly human ability to construct a plan could eventually help to produce software and hardware capable of solving complex tasks more efficiently.”

CONTINUE READING

In the administration: This week has been billed “American Dreams Week,” while most attention will be on incoming chief of staff General Kelly, who is expected to be sworn in on Monday. President Trump will hold a cabinet meeting the same day and head to West Virginia Thursday for a campaign-style rally. Nick Ayers was sworn in Friday as Vice President Pence’s chief of staff and Jarrod Agen, Pence’s communications director was named today as deputy chief of staff to the Vice President. Deputy Homeland Security secretary Elaine Duke will serve as Acting Homeland Security secretary. The president is expected to sign the Russia sanctions bill this week.

Elsewhere in the administration: The FCC holds its monthly meeting Thursday.

On the Hill: House members are home in their districts for the August work period. The Senate returns to the Capitol on Monday evening. Focus remains on the path forward on FY2017 budget reconciliation, health care, and tax reform.   

In the Media: CNBC reports that Facebook is on the brink of joining “a very exclusive club. … If Facebook rises to another high next week to close at or above a $500 billion valuation, it will join AppleAlphabet and Microsoft as the only U.S. tech stocks to be so valued.” Recode adds that the social media platform continues to evolve. “Facebook says it wants to help publishers sell subscriptions. But Facebook says it doesn’t want a piece of the revenue those subscriptions generate, or any of the data involved in the transaction. Those details are emerging as Facebook talks to publishers about a subscription tool it wants to launch later this year, in conjunction with its Instant Articles program, where Facebook hosts publishers’ articles on its own mobile app.”

BONUS: S-3’s own Amos Snead talked to Axios’ Sara Fischer about the evolving public affairs trends: “We approach everything like a political campaign. … The narrative is moving quickly so it is essential that your media team understands the policy and knows the influential players. It only makes sense to have each of these expertise represented on one team.”

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!

Washington Media Trend: Niche firms take on PR giants

By Sara Fischer

Read the full article at Axios…

Small Washington-based public affairs firms are going after business typically won by large agencies. They lure clients with political expertise capable of handling crisis communications, and then expand those partnerships by creating full-scale agencies that can do everything from digital ad placement, to media booking.

Here’s what some of the key players in Washington have to say about the landscape.

  • We approach everything like a political campaign,” says Amos Snead, founder and CEO of S-3 Public Affairs. “Clients benefit from our collective expertise in winning campaigns, navigating the halls of Congress, and working closely with national media. The narrative is moving quickly so it is essential that your media team understands the policy and knows the influential players. It only makes sense to have each of these expertise represented on one team.”

Agenda: 7/23/17

By S-3 Public Affairs

Fact of the Week: Amazon delivered tough news to Blue Apron this week when it announced plans to break into the meal kit industry. Morning Consult polling finds high prices are the biggest challenge for existing meal kit companies, CNBC adding, “Amazon — known for keeping prices competitively low — could be looking to solve this problem, seeing opportunity in an evolving and expanding market. Amazon’s stock was climbing slightly higher Monday morning.” Blue Apron’s stock meanwhile has been tumbling since its IPO. CNBC shares a bit of optimism after trying each. “It felt like each kit was for a different kind of consumer. Amazon is selling meal kits for dummies. Blue Apron is selling meal kits for foodies. There may be room for both.”

CONTINUE READING

In the Administration: This week the White House will focus on American Heroes Week with visits and events with the American Legion Boys Nation and American Legion Auxiliary Girls Nation as well as for first responders later in the week. President Trump heads to Jamboree West Virginia on Monday, visiting the Boy Scouts of America, then to Ohio on Tuesday where he will hold a “Rally in the Valley.”

On the Hill: The final week before the House beings its August work period will be a busy one. The House will consider a Russia, Iran, and North Korea sanctions package as well as continued progress on appropriations and a number of other bills pertaining to Veterans. The Senate, which is not leaving town for a few more weeks, continues to focus on health care, with a vote as early asTuesday.

In the Media: Millennials are on the way out and “generation Z now represents the largest potential TV audience of any age demographic.” Fast Company shares insights from Nielsen’s latest report on how different generations consume media. Of note, GenZ are younger (born between 1997-2015) and likely still live at home. Fast Company notes their habits are likely to change when the move out on their own, but it is not clear exactly how or what the landscape will look like at that time. AdWeek adds, “The report overall shows how the age of a diverse generation presents new opportunities for marketers. New technologies and forms of content continue to spread across generations, and there will be more to learn about how users interact with media down the line.”

Why does this matter? Advertisers and content creators alike will have to continue to think creatively about how to package ads, news, stories, and entertainment so it is easily consumed across a variety of screens.

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: 7/16/17

By S-3 Public Affairs

Fact of the Week: Amazon Prime Day set new records growing, “by more than 60 percent compared to the same 30 hours last year. … More new members joined Prime on July 11 than on any single day in Amazon history.” Recode adds, “Within a couple of years, more U.S. households could be subscribers of Amazon Prime than cable or satellite TV, according to recent estimates of Amazon’s popular shipping and entertainment service. According to estimates from Morningstar, nearly 79 million people in the U.S. now have an Amazon Prime membership*, up from around 67 million at the end of last year. Based on Morningstar’s estimates of the average number of Prime memberships per household, that suggests about 66 million households have Amazon Prime memberships in 2017. That compares to a projected 90 million U.S. households that will pay for cable or satellite TV this year, according to S&P Global.”

CONTINUE READING

In the Administration: President Trump approaches six months in office this week as the nomination process continues in Congress. The administration is expected to tomorrow (July 17) publish its objectives for NAFTA renegotiation if it hopes to begin renegotiations on August 16This comes just ahead of a House Ways & Means Committee hearing Tuesday on NAFTA modernization. Additionally,The Washington Post’s Mike DeBonis reports that Jared Kushner will head to Capitol Hill to address interns.

Nominations:

On the Hill: As Senator McCain recovers from surgery in Arizona, Senate Majority Leader McConnell has postponed consideration of the Senate health care bill. Still expected this week: a CBO score on the revised Senate bill. Meanwhile the House is expected to release and mark up its budget and Appropriations remains busy, completing the rest of its 12 funding bills. Additionally, the House is expected to consider a number of Energy and Commerce bills regarding energy infrastructure and pipelines.

In the Media: The Wall Street Journal reports on continued efforts by traditional magazines to break into online video. “Condé Nast and other legacy magazine publishers are redoubling their efforts in online video after learning from their stumbles over the past few years. Those who tried unsuccessfully to build centralized, destination-websites for their brands are now more concerned with distributing their work on platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat and MSN. … As magazine print advertising revenue continues to weaken, video has become more critical. Advertisers are expected to spend $15.4 billion on video ads next year, according to eMarketer, up nearly threefold compared with 2014.” For Condé Nast, the shift is working. In May, it’s online video platform, the Scene, “attracted 98.3 million video views across Facebook, according to video analytics firm Tubular Labs—nearly triple the 36.4 million online video views the Scene generated in October 2016.”

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: 7/9/17

By S-3 Public Affairs

Fact of the Week: Emojis are increasingly being used for search online as their use among smartphone users remains incredibly high. Digiday reports on a, “MojiLaLa study that found 86 percent of smartphone users in the U.S. regularly use emojis, and that number jumps to 96 percent among those 18 to 34.” Kayak is one of the latest companies to embrace emoji search, even allowing users to vote on which emoji corresponds with which trip destination, turning the feature from not just modern search, but also user engagement. What’s next? “Ad agencies believe it’s likely more brands will begin to experiment with emoji search. VML is one agency that is advising its clients to do so, mostly because they could take advantage of organic search on social platforms. Twitter, Instagram, Google, YouTube and, as of last week, WhatsApp, have all added the capability to search using emojis in the past two years.”

CONTINUE READING

In the Administration: President Trump will return to Europe, heading to Paris on Friday for Bastille Day, at the invitation of President Macron. A CBO score of the president’s budget request is expected Thursday.

Nominations: Axios’ Mike Allen noted Friday that President Trump sent “87 nominations to the Senate in the month of June alone.”  

  • MondayThe Senate is expected to confirm Neomi Rao to head the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs within the Office of Management and Budget, aka regulatory czar. The Senate is also expected to invoke cloture on David Nye for US District Judge for the District of Idaho, with a final vote expected Wednesday.

  • TuesdaySenate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is expected to vote on David Glawe’s nomination to be under secretary for intelligence and analysis at the Department of Homeland Security. The committee will also vote on David Pekoske to head the TSASenate Foreign Relations Committee will hold confirmation hearings for David Steele Bohigian, nominee for president of the Overseas Private Investment Corp., and Jay Patrick Murray, nominee for alternate US representative in the UN. Senate Armed Services Committee hearing for Navy Secretary nominee Richard V. Spencer.

  • WednesdaySenate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for FBI Director Nominee Christopher Wray; Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is expected to vote on Annie Caputo and David Wright, nominated to join the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and Susan Parker Bodine to serve as an assistant EPA administrator. Also expected Wednesday: cloture vote on William Francis Haggerty, nominee for US Ambassador to Japan.

  • ThursdaySenate Finance Committee confirmation hearing for Kevin McAleenan, nominated for US Customs and Border Protection commissioner.

On the Hill: Congress returns from a  July 4 spent at home with the focus remaining on health care in the Senate. All eyes in the Senate await a CBO score on updated language, expected later in the week. Focus in the House will be on NDAA. The House is also expected to consider H.R. 23, the Gaining Responsibility on Water Act, as well as a series of bills related to human trafficking. House Budget Committee Chairwoman Diane Black also raised the possibility of a markup as soon as this week.

Also this week:

In the Media: For all the talk of the declining popularity of traditional TV, particularly broadcast, AdWeek reports, “Last week, advertisers were all about prime time—585 of them spent around $100 million on broadcast placement for new creative, about 13 percent of the $783 million advertisers spent on national broadcast placement overall, according to Kantar Media. Nearly half of the spending on new ads was devoted to prime-time programming. Most of that (28 percent) placement went during reality TV and competition shows.”

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: 7/2/17

By S-3 Public Affairs

Fact of the WeekAxios’ Sara Fischer notes in her new weekly media trends newsletter, “Roughly 50% percent of ad dollars flow to Google and Facebook, America’s ‘Duopoly.’ Together they are expected to take 83% of every new ad dollar, according to calculations from Digital Content Next, the premium publishers association.” To put that in perspective, “Google’s ad revenue has almost caught up to all print ad revenue globally and Facebook’s ad revenue is quickly approaching all radio ad revenue globally.”

CONTINUE READING

In the Administration: President Trump on Wednesday heads to Poland ahead of the G-20 summit, which begins FridayFox News reports, “Trump will also attend a summit in Warsaw devoted to the Three Seas Initiative … The initiative’s focused on expanding and modernizing energy and infrastructure ties in a region of Central Europe from the Baltic Sea in the north to the Adriatic and Black seas in the south.” The president will give a speech on Thursday, “at the site of a memorial to the 1944 Warsaw Uprising against the Germans, a Polish official says.”

Friday, President Trump will head to Hamburg, Germany for the G-20 summit where he is also expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Reuters notes a recent speech from German Chancellor Angela Merkel raising the “prospect of an open clash” between Merkel and President Trump. “Asked about Merkel’s comments, Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, said the U.S. relationship with Germany was ‘as strong as ever’ and played down the discord. ‘Of course there are going to be differences in relations with any country, and we’ll talk frankly about those differences. The president enjoys those conversations,’ McMaster told reporters.”

On the Hill: The House and Senate are at home for the July 4 holiday as Senate leaders continue to look for a path forward on health care. The APreports that Senate Majority Leader McConnell remains committed to a simultaneous repeal and replace strategy, despite a tweet from President Trump. “McConnell told reporters after an event Friday in his home state of Kentucky that the Republican health care bill remains challenging but ‘we are going to stick with that path’ … ‘failure has to be possible or you can’t have success.’”

The Hill explains one Senate Republican tactic: update the CBO benchmark. “They say the CBO used data from March 2016 in coming up with the analysis that 22 million people would lose health insurance. By using a more recent benchmark from this year, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) argues that number might come down by as much as 6 million.”

In the Media: Wimbledon was the first sporting event live-streamed by Twitter last year. As it gets underway this year, TechCrunch notes Twitter’s continued growth in this space. “In the year since, Twitter has delivered a slew of live streamed sports, sports-related programming, newsconcerts, and other events to its service, including streams from the NFL, MLBNBANHLNLLcollege sports, even esports, and many more. …the cumulative effect – or, at least Twitter hopes – is that people will begin to think to check Twitter to see if something is being live streamed. And if Twitter can gain mindshare around live video even without deals as big as NFL games, that could long-term help boost its other metrics – like signed-in users, ad dollars, and more.”

Have a wonderful 4th of July

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: 6/25/17

By S-3 Public Affairs

Fact of the Week: Thursday, June 29, marks 10 years of the iPhone – with 1 billion having been sold over the past decade. USA Today looks at how the phone has changed over the years and what the next decade may bring. Some think, “many, if not most, of the sensor-driven products we’ll come to rely on will be so small, that they’ll be hidden inside walls, ceilings, furniture, maybe even our own bodies. It plays into the still evolving Internet of Things trend, and what technology watchers sometimes refer to as ambient computing.”

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In the Administration: President Trump will have an eye on the Senate’s health care progress as he also meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday and hosts South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the White House on Thursday and Friday.

Administration officials remain busy on the Hill as hearings continue on the administration’s budget requests:

On the Hill: Focus will remain on the Senate’s efforts on health care, with a CBO estimate expected early this week. Under Senate Budget Rules, 20 hours of debate is required followed by a “vote-a-rama,” of amendments. If the 20 hours begins Monday, “vote-a-rama” would begin Thursdayevening.

  • Monday: Senate Armed Services Subcommittees hold markups of the FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act; House Appropriations Subcommittee markup of the FY2018 defense appropriations bill; Senate votes on Kristine Svinicki to be a member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission;
  • Tuesday: Senate Foreign Relations Committee business meeting to consider the nomination of Mark Green to serve as administrator of USAID; Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on FISA Amendments Act reauthorization; Senate Armed Services Committee markup of the FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act (through the end of the week); House Natural Resources Committee markup of 22 bills; House Rules Committee markup of Kate’s Law, which will increase penalties on individuals who illegally reenter the country; House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee markup of the 21st Century Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization Act; House Financial Services Subcommittee hearing on U.S. equity market structure; House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing on self-driving vehicle legislation;
  • Wednesday: Senate Commerce Committee nomination hearing for Steven Bradbury to begeneral counsel of the Transportation Department and Elizabeth Walsh to be Assistant Secretary of Commerce and director general of the U.S. Commercial Service; Ambassador Nikki Haley at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing about advancing U.S. interests at the United Nations; House Armed Services Committee markup of the FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act; House Appropriations Subcommittee markup of the FY2018 agriculture appropriations bill; House Appropriations Subcommittee markup of the FY2018 energy and water appropriations bill; House Financial Services Subcommittee hearing on the impact of the Federal Reserve;
  • Thursday: Senate Commerce Committee executive session on FAA reauthorization and to consider the nominations of Vice Admiral David P. Pekoske (Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security at the Transportation Security Administration), Robert L. Sumwalt III (member of the National Transportation Safety Board), and Derek Kan (Undersecretary of Transportation for policy); Senate Judiciary Committee business meeting to consider the nomination of Stephen Elliott for Assistant Attorney General for Legislative affairs and to consider a pair of human trafficking bills; Senate Banking Committee hearing on principles of housing finance reform;House Natural Resources Subcommittee hearing about access to oil and gas development on federal lands.

In the Media: The Wall Street Journal reports, “Social networking giant Facebook Inc. is moving its ambitions in TV-quality video to the front burner, taking meetings and making deals with an eye toward launching a slate of original programming by the end of summer, people familiar with the matter said.” Facebook is entering a crowded and shifting field, but brings with it a wealth of user data (Nielsen tracked 2.9 billion Facebook and Twitter interactions on TV this season alone) it says it will share with Hollywood. “The entertainment industry is eager to see if Facebook can translate the data it has on tastes and habits of nearly two billion monthly users into insights that make for more popular television.”

One thing reports suggest Facebook will not produce: the next House of Cards or Veep. It reportedly, “wants to steer clear of shows about children and young teens as well as political dramas, news and shows with nudity and rough language.”
 

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: 6/18/17

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,