With Daniel Lippman
PHARMACEUTICAL COALITION HITS PINGREE, GOLDEN IN ESCALATING E-LABELING FIGHT: A coalition of drugmakers announced a new ad buy today as the lobbying battle about an obscure FDA spending rider moves to the House floor. The Alliance to Modernize Prescribing Information, whose members include AbbVie, AmerisourceBergen, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Bristol Myers Squibb, Viatris, Pfizer and Teva, announced a 30-second ad targeting Maine Democrats Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden, whom the group accuses of blocking the FDA from allowing pharmacists to opt out of the paper pamphlets of prescribing information.
— Congressional appropriators have included a rider in every spending bill since 2015 barring the FDA from carrying out a proposed rule to allow prescribing information to be distributed digitally rather than on paper. Back in April, a bipartisan group of House members wrote to Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) asking for the rider to be left out of the fiscal 2022 Agriculture-FDA spending bill. And an AMPI spokesperson told PI last month that the coalition believed it had succeeded in keeping the language out up until a week before a subcommittee markup.
— The AMPI, which formed last year, has blasted the paper industry for promoting “senseless waste,” extrapolating data from the Sierra Club to estimate that the practice destroys 4.8 million trees per year. In its ad, which will air on television and run digitally, AMPI accuses Pingree and Golden of supporting an “earmark for the paper lobby” while accepting the endorsement of groups like the Sierra Club. Neither Pingree or Golden responded to requests for comment.
— The House is set to take up the Agriculture-FDA spending bill as part of a seven-bill appropriations minibus later this week, according to a floor schedule sent out by Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s office. At least one paper industry lobbyist, Tonio Burgos & Associates’ Steven Fier, who represents Twin Rivers Paper Company, a member of the Pharmaceutical Printed Literature Association, urged the House Rules Committee in an email to the Hill this month not to allow a floor amendment stripping the e-label rider. Fier highlighted recent cyberattacks on major U.S. companies while pointing to Congress’ push to expand broadband access as proof that prescribers should not be allowed to solely rely on electronic prescribing information.
Good afternoon and welcome to PI, where your host would like to wish Theo Meyer the very best of luck in his post-POLITICO adventures. I’d be remiss if I didn’t give him a public shout-out for being such an indispensable resource to me since I took over PI — we’ll miss him fondly! But back to business: If you haven’t already, make sure to add me to your press lists (not just the big blast ones but also those secret smaller ones!) and as always, shoot me your K Street tips, gossip and musings: [email protected]. And be sure to follow me on Twitter: @caitlinoprysko.
U.S. TRAVEL URGES WHITE HOUSE TO RETHINK KEEPING TRAVEL BANS: The top lobbyist for one of the travel industry’s largest trade associations today urged the Biden administration to reconsider its decision to keep in place restrictions on international travel in light of surging coronavirus cases attributed to the highly transmissible Delta variant and as large numbers of Americans remain unvaccinated.
—“Given where we are today,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters in a press briefing this afternoon, “we will maintain existing travel restrictions at this point for a few reasons.” Psaki noted that the Delta variant has been driving an uptick in cases both in the U.S. and internationally, with unvaccinated Americans suffering disproportionately compared to those who are fully vaccinated. The decision was a blow to industry groups that have been thwarted in their push to have the White House move toward lifting restrictions that have been in place for nearly 18 months. The industry has pushed for the administration to at least release benchmarks for lifting the bans, to no avail, while some lobbyists have placed the blame on Covid czar Jeff Zients and mulled ways to get to other administration officials.
— “Covid variants are of concern, but closed borders have not prevented the Delta variant from entering the U.S. while vaccinations are proving incredibly durable to the virus’ evolution,” Tori Barnes, the U.S. Travel Association’s executive vice president of public affairs and policy, said in a statement, acknowledging that widespread vaccination is the “surest and fastest path to normalcy for everyone.” Barnes also pointed out that Canada and much of Europe resumed allowing international travelers, while the U.S. “remains closed to one of the most important segments of the travel economy — the international inbound traveler.”
— Barnes asked the White House “to revisit its decision in the very near term” and suggested the U.S. start with opening air corridors between the U.S. and countries with similar vaccination rates to allow vaccinated tourists.
BARRACK PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO FOREIGN LOBBYING CHARGES: “Tom Barrack, a longtime adviser to former President Donald Trump, pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges that he secretly acted as an agent for the United Arab Emirates,” POLITICO’s Erin Durkin reports. “Barrack, who chaired Trump’s inaugural committee, was arraigned in a federal court in Brooklyn on a seven-count indictment.
— “‘Tom Barrack pled not guilty today. He did that because he’s innocent,’ his attorney, Matthew Herrington, told reporters after the court hearing in Brooklyn. ‘The charges that were presented to him today were based on information that were presented and discussed in my conference room two years ago. And he is innocent. We look forward to proving it in court.’ Judge Sanket Bulsara, a magistrate judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, agreed to release Barrack on the $250 million bail package, an unusually large sum because prosecutors deemed him a flight risk.”
— “The Trump adviser’s bond was secured by four properties, $5 million cash and shares he owns in an investment firm. His son and former wife and a business associate, Jonathan Grunzweig, agreed to pledge their homes to secure his release as well. Bulsara warned Barrack not to violate the conditions of his bail or he and his family would lose everything. ‘That might wipe you out, sir,’ he said.
SKDK ARRIVAL LOUNGE: Anita Dunn, who “has had a hand in shaping every major policy push so far” for the administration, “is set to return to her powerful Democratic consulting company, leaving a hole in [President Joe] Biden’s small inner circle as the highly infectious Delta variant is ripping through unvaccinated communities and the fate of Mr. Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure deal is teetering on the edge of collapse,” The New York Times’ Annie Karni writes.
— “Dunn has only separated herself from SKDK, the corporate and political consulting company she helped found and is returning to next month, for brief periods of campaign and government work. And the fact that she is exempt from filing public financial disclosures required of full-time presidential appointees has drawn criticism from some ethics watchdogs.
— “Her presence in the West Wing is also evidence of how Mr. Biden has prioritized his reliance on trusted figures with decades of Beltway experience, even as he promised to end the access-peddling that proliferated during the Trump administration. (This week, by contrast, Thomas J. Barrack Jr., a close friend of former President Donald J. Trump and one of his top 2016 campaign fund-raisers, was accused of using his access to Mr. Trump to advance the foreign policy goals of the United Arab Emirates and then repeatedly misleading federal agents about his activities.) Ms. Dunn and her colleagues have said she has always been scrupulous about adhering to ethics rules. SKDK emphasizes that it does not lobby but does political and media consulting.”
THE GUN TRADE GROUP FILLING NRA’S VOID ON ATF NOMINEE: “Gun control advocates have long been optimistic about the nomination of David Chipman to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, in part because the National Rifle Association ― long the leading political warrior for the gun lobby ― is battling bankruptcy and is politically weakened,” HuffPost’s Kevin Robillard writes. “But the National Shooting Sports Foundation has rallied vociferous opposition to Chipman, deploying rhetoric that echoes the NRA’s regular apocalyptic warnings about a forthcoming collapse of gun rights and threatening to derail a key plank of the Biden administration’s plans to tamp down on gun crimes … The NRA has not been absent from the fight,” but “gun control advocates said the NSSF’s role has surprised them and highlights the trade group’s increasing prominence.”
— Keaghan Ames is now director of government affairs at the Institute of International Bankers. Ames most recently served as the head of regulatory policy at Credit Suisse and is a PwC and CFTC alum.
— Former Rep. Dennis Ross will be interim CEO at College to Congress.
— Gideon Lett is now chief growth officer at BSA | The Software Alliance. He was most recently a senior adviser for Fair Tech at Access Partnership and is a Monument Advocacy and TechNet alum.
— Anheuser-Busch is adding David Caruolo as senior director of federal government affairs. He most recently was a policy adviser for Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.). Teresa Skala is also moving up to be director of federal government affairs.
— Stacey Brayboy is joining March of Dimes as senior vice president of public policy and government affairs. She most recently has been director of the Virginia Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.
Committee to Save the USA (Josh Mandel, Ashtabula County Republican Party – Federal Account)
Gillibrand Demings Victory Fund (Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Rep. Val Demings)
Great Task PAC (Rep. Liz Cheney, Cowboy PAC)
America First Values PAC (PAC)
Fight Fear Truth for All Political Action Committee (PAC)
Friends of A Better America PAC (PAC)
Future Democrats PAC (Hybrid PAC)
Indivisible Bemidji (PAC)
NIAGARA FRONTIER PAC (Leadership PAC: Rep. Chris Jacobs)
PresidentialPAC.com (Super PAC)
535 Group, LLC: County Of Eddy
Asml US, LLC: Asml US, LLC
Cornerstone Government Affairs, Inc.: Œez, A. S.
Dinino Associates, LLC: Cornerstone Government Affairs Obo Harmonia Holdings Group, LLC
Dinino Associates, LLC: Cornerstone Government Affairs Obo Integrated Energy Materials LLC
Dinino Associates, LLC: Cornerstone Government Affairs Obo On Point Technology, LLC
Lobbyit.Com: La Cumbre Mutual Water Company
Artemis Policy Group LLC: The Society For Maternal-Fetal Medicine
Govbiz Advantage, Inc.: Greater America LLC (For Green Point Resources)
Govbiz Advantage, Inc.: Pembina Pipeline Corp.
Hbw Resources: Bp America, Inc.
Holland & Knight, LLP: City Of Savannah, Ga
Jessica S Lefevre: Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission
Mml&K Government Solutions: Morehead State University
Permanente Federation: The Permanente Federation