Posts Tagged ‘jeb hensarling’

The Coming “Corporate Welfare” Vote

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014 by Geoffrey Lyons

“IT IS HEREBY DECLARED,” wrote President Roosevelt on a chilly February day in 1934, “that an agency, to wit, a banking corporation, be created….” Thus emerged, by virtue of Executive Order 6581, the Export-Import Bank of Washington. Eighty years later, the Ex-Im Bank is facing mounting opposition by conservative groups who claim it’s nothing more than a benefactor of corporate welfare.

They have a point: over 80% of the bank’s loan guarantees go to Boeing, which is no wonder competitors like Delta are irked by the bank’s favoritism.  On the other hand, supporters say the bank is needed to compete internationally on an “uneven playing field.”  Countries like China, they claim, have no qualms pumping government subsidies into the coffers of leading companies, so voluntarily terminating similar practices at home would amount to “unilateral disarmament.”

Both sides of the debate face a similar challenge: August recess.  In order to build a solid, bipartisan coalition to either pass or block a new charter before Congress goes home, policymakers need to move quickly.  According to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), there’s enough support in the Senate to reauthorize the bank.  Yet there are singular obstacles in the House, not least of which is House Financial Services Committee chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), a strident opponent of the Ex-Im bank who could single-handedly squash any efforts at the committee level.

While on the surface it seems Congress is on track to renew the Ex-Im bank’s charter (with some key reforms to satiate conservatives), it’s not entirely certain how things will play out.  Many policymakers, including John Boehner and John McCain, appear undecided.  And even if they did come out in favor of the bank, there would be precious little time on their side.

A Friend of a Friend is a Friend

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012 by Geoffrey Lyons

EXAMINE THE FOLLOWING passage from this morning’s The Hill, which despite its verbiage is furnished with a simple truth about lobbying:

“[Wayne] Abernathy is one of a few lobbyists who are considered close to [Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas)], a former aide to ex-Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas) who has served five terms in the House. Lobbyists say several former Gramm aides who are now on K Street remain close to Hensarling.”

Translation: if you’re in with Phil, you’re in with Jeb, and therefore – considering the latter’s ascent to the chair of the House Committee on Financial Services – you’re in.

Lobbying is often blithely described as being “about who you know” (though it should be whom).  But if it’s “about” anything, it may rather be whom they know.  Though H

ouse Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) can be reached via his Chief of Staff, Alexis Covey-Brandt, a lobbyist might opt for a more kindred spirit in ex-Chief of Staff Cory Alexander, now Senior VP of Government Affairs for UnitedHealth Group.  In another vein, someone once in business with ex-Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.) shouldn’t mourn a loss of influence.  Her replacement is Rep. Ron Barber, who formerly served as her district director.

Gaining access to the circles in which a lawmaker walks is therefore aided by an understanding of their range.  Some politicians may stay in touch with their bosses (Hensarling), some their staff (Hoyer).  Some may pass the torch to a campaign director (Giffords), some their son (Bud Shuster, succeeded by Bill Shuster).  If you know these things, and you leverage them correctly…you’re in.