Archive for March, 2017

Open Skies Issues Remain Under Trump

Thursday, March 30th, 2017 by Matthew Barnes

This week the U.S. Travel Association flew in hundreds of travel executives to meet with members on a range of issues including the “Open Skies” agreements. According to Politico, Delta, American and United have been lobbying the Trump administration to take action against the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, which they accuse of violating their agreements with the U.S. by subsidizing their state-owned carriers, Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways. The travel executives have taken the side of the Persian Gulf carriers and will tell members “that Open Skies agreements have been critical to America’s efforts to capture a share of the highly lucrative international travel market,” Cathy Reynolds, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Travel Association, wrote in an email.”

All three airlines are part of the Partnership for Open and Fair Skies, a coalition of airline companies and related organizations. In 2015, under the Obama Administration, the group spent $6.1 million lobbying. The group has continued its efforts under the Trump Administration. Politico reports that the coalition has “sent letters to President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and has been running TV ads on the issue.”

Trump Linked Industries Are Early Winners

Friday, March 24th, 2017 by Matthew Barnes

Since the election of President Trump organizations from an array of industries have been focusing on re-writing their government relations playbook for the new administration. For the first time in 8 years, organizations feel like there is a chance to usher through substantial changes on Capitol Hill.  According to Jeffrey Taylor, Managing Partner of, “Based on President Trump’s cabinet, the policy and management differences with the outgoing Obama Administration will be stark, substantial, significant, and aimed at systemic change in nearly every area of government policy that affects business.”


Industries that has already begun to see change during the Trump Administration include a few of the President’s favorites: real estate, construction, entertainment, hospitality, gambling and, golf courses. Politico reports, “Since taking office in January, Trump has made moves — from rolling back water quality permits to signaling big changes on overtime pay and internet betting — that benefit the fields he knows best. And his former peers — partners and competitors alike — are finding familiar faces in Trump’s White House and Cabinet agencies, who have the power to make even more of their wish lists come true…This is the first time a president of the United States is someone so familiar with private clubs,” said Henry Wallmeyer, president and CEO of the National Club Association, the trade group for private clubs. “That’s a unique circumstance.”

Re-writing the Playbook Under Trump

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017 by Matthew Barnes

When President Trump took office many industries and organizations new that it would call for a re-examining of the lobbying playbook. Throughout his campaign, Trump called for a draining of the swamp and to implement new lobbying reforms. Moreover, Republicans won a supermajority in the 2016 elections, changing the political landscape of Washington, D.C. Jeffrey Taylor, Managing Partner of, argues that “Some presidential transitions are so Earth shaking that they require companies to conduct a much deeper analysis of their government relations plans; Carter to Reagan, Bush to Clinton, Clinton to Bush, Bush to Obama were all substantial ideological flips… but Obama to Trump is not your typical transfer of power.  It is a monster change in direction for the U.S.; and by extension for U.S. and foreign business and industry.”

When President Obama took office in 2009, he also had supermajorities in both chambers of Congress, many companies initiated a new government relations efforts. However, according to Taylor, “Based on President Trump’s cabinet, the policy and management differences with the outgoing Obama Administration will be stark, substantial, significant, and aimed at systemic change in nearly every area of government policy that affects business.” This means companies need to re-write their playbook for the new administration.                                                                             

However, Taylor also argues that “those that want to engage in a first-time government relations effort don’t need to carve out a big lobbying budget, there are firms that can capably and economically represent your company in Washington for a reasonable budget – and it gets you in the game!”

In the Trump era, one strategy that organizations will employ is how they frame their argument. Taylor suggests that President Trump “believes – rightly or wrongly – that he’s beholden to no one for his victory, except ‘middle America’ who elected him. In the past few week, he and his Administration has come to adopt a message of fighting for the ‘forgotten man’.” President Trump indicated this in his first speech before a Joint Session of Congress saying, “Dying industries will come roaring back to life.  Heroic veterans will get the care they so desperately need.  Our military will be given the resources its brave warriors so richly deserve.  Crumbling infrastructure will be replaced with new roads, bridges, tunnels, airports and railways gleaming across our very, very beautiful land.  Our terrible drug epidemic will slow down and, ultimately, stop.  And our neglected inner cities will see a rebirth of hope, safety and opportunity.  Above all else, we will keep our promises to the American people.” Therefore, organizations that can frame their argument as being advantageous to the average American will be significantly more impactful.