Feb. 12, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Lobbyists Prepare Eleventh-Hour Messaging Before August Recess

Sugar policies today “cost consumers $3.5 billion in extra food bills and sacrifice up to 20,000 potential jobs each year,” 22 groups — including the National Confectioners Association, Grocery Manufacturers Association and Americans for Tax Reform — wrote to Members last week.

Jennifer Cummings, a spokeswoman for the Coalition for Sugar Reform, said she’s hoping to see bipartisan support for an amendment by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) that would roll back “some of the most onerous provisions that were in the 2008 farm bill.”

K Streeters acknowledge most legislative items are about political messaging or are likely to become embroiled in partisan bickering. And some in the business community say they, too, are focused more on the campaign trail than on Capitol Hill, as Members passed big-ticket items including a highway bill before the July Fourth recess. Other matters will be deferred until after the elections.

“Most of what’s going to happen this summer is for show, like the repeal of the health care bill,” one veteran lobbyist said. Another K Street source noted that much of the agenda will amount to “political positioning votes that each side will use in their campaign narrative.”

One example is Senate consideration of the DISCLOSE Act, which would shed more light on political spending. An aide to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), the bill’s lead Senate sponsor, said a vote is expected this month in the chamber.

It has little chance of advancing in the House, but Whitehouse and his allies are moving forward in part to score political points. Despite their embrace of unrestricted super PACs, President Barack Obama and leading Democrats continue to deliver campaign attacks on undisclosed corporate spending in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling that deregulated political spending.

When it comes to campaign financing, DISCLOSE will take a much lower priority for lobbyists than the actual call for cash from Members, who are keeping the K Street calendar plenty packed with July events. This week alone, lobbyists can take in a Coldplay concert at the Verizon Center to boost the coffers of Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.), join Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) for lunch at Charlie Palmer Steak or chit-chat with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) at a reception for the Reclaim America PAC, according to invitations sent to lobbyists.

Eliza Newlin Carney contributed to this report.

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