Posts Tagged ‘politico’

Top Lobby Firms on Fiscal Cliff

Thursday, December 13th, 2012 by Geoffrey Lyons

“FISCAL” AND “CLIFF” may be the two most common words in Washington today behind “and” and “the,” “the” being most frequently used to furnish “the fiscal cliff.”  Yet one has to plow through a lot of weeds to discover the context in which they are used or alluded to by top lobbying firms (googling “fiscal cliff” sure doesn't help).  Here I've done just that:

Patton Boggs –In November, Patton Boggs released a post-election forecast of what to expect in the months and year to come.  From the report: “Many Senators and Representatives recognize the irony that the best way to prevent going over the fiscal cliff this year is to cut a deal that merely creates a bigger cliff that would arrive in another six or twelve months. But doing so would at least keep us at the precipice.”

Akin, Gump –  Arshi Siddiqui, a partner at Akin Gump and former aide to Nanci Pelosi, expressed some optimism  in a November National Journal article: “I was happy about the rhetoric from the last meeting. Everyone realized that they needed a nice tone, and the markets responded nicely.  There will be lots of up and downs before we get to a successful resolution.”  By contrast, these meetings were described in the author’s terms as “Kumbaya rhetoric,” resembling “a stand-off in an old black-and-white Western movie, with two cowboys looking for the other to make the first move.”

Podesta GroupIn a recent Politico article, Tony Podesta, Founder and Chairman of Podesta Group, alluded to the business opportunities the cliff presents:  “This is a once in a generation opportunity to reform the tax code.  Companies I would imagine will put in extra resources. There will be plenty of opportunities.”

Holland & Knight – In the same vein (a

nd in fact the same article) Rich Gold, Partner at Holland & Knight, said “it's springtime in Washington in January”—a rather candid allusion to the gains lobbying firms stand to make by year’s end.

Van Scoyoc – Jeffrey Trinca, vice president of Van Scoyoc Associates, offers a unique perspective on the cliff as a longtime Senate tax counsel.  In a November Government Executive article about the administrative complications a delayed tax deal would bring to the IRS, Trinca said that “Congress is adding to the risk at IRS during the filing season.”  (Now quoting from the article…) “In the “good old days,” he said, Congress would finalize tax changes by the end of November or earlier, and IRS would make the necessary program changes in its computer systems. At the end of November, officials would say “no more” and, barring new legislation, they would “pause everything and focus on load testing,” Trinca said.”

Alston & Bird – Earl Pomeroy, former North Dakota Congressman and current Senior Counsel at Alston & Bird, deems Boehner the central figure in talks: “He has got one whale of a situation on his hands.”

U.S. Chamber – Not a lobby firm but certainly a lobby spender. President and CEO of the Chamber, Tom Donahue, had this to say in an op-ed entitled “America’s Looming Fiscal Cliff”: “We must adopt a fairer, simpler tax system that lowers marginal rates, encourages economic growth, promotes competitiveness and eases compliance. We must make sensible changes to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and other mandatory spending programs, which make up nearly 60 percent of our budget. Reforming entitlements is essential not just to our nation’s long-term fiscal health but to the future of the programs themselves. We must reform them to keep them solvent for other generations.”

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