With Daniel Lippman
VELA’S CHIEF OF STAFF HEADS TO K STREET: Sandra Alcala has joined the lobbying firm Subject Matter, leaving the Hill after nearly nine years. Alcala most recently served as chief of staff to retiring Rep. Filemón Vela (D-Texas), and previously worked for House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas). Alcala, who has a doctorate in neuroscience, will focus on issues like health care and tech, she said in an interview.
— Part of Alcala’s departure stemmed from times being “pretty tough on the Hill,” she said, and her boss’s retirement made the decision less difficult. “I thought this is a really good opportunity for me to kind of learn and grow in very different areas,” she told PI, adding that she’s eager to focus more on policy issues.
BUSINESS EXECS PUSH FOR ACTION ON CHIP SHORTAGE: Chief executives representing dozens of corporations across a range of industries urged lawmakers today to push forward with legislation aimed at addressing a global shortage of semiconductors. “Semiconductors are essential to virtually all sectors of the economy — including aerospace, automobiles, communications, clean energy, information technology, and medical devices,” the business leaders wrote in a letter to congressional leadership, asking for “prompt” action on bills to fund incentives for domestic semiconductor manufacturing and investments in chip research and to create a semiconductor investment tax credit.
— “Unfortunately, demand for these critical components has outstripped supply, creating a global chip shortage and resulting in lost growth and jobs in the economy. The shortage has exposed vulnerabilities in the semiconductor supply chain and highlighted the need for increased domestic manufacturing capacity,” they added. The letter was signed by executives from Alphabet, Apple, Dell, Ford, General Motors, Honda, HP, IBM, Intel, Micron, Microsoft, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, Toyota, Verizon, Volkswagen and more, and was organized by the Semiconductor Industry Association, which represents the vast majority of chipmakers.
— “Semiconductors form the nerve center of our economy, national security, and critical infrastructure,” John Neuffer, SIA’s president and CEO, said in a statement, calling the bills a boon to the jobs market and a path to more “resilient” supply chains for chips. “We applaud the action taken today by CEOs from a range of critical sectors, and we urge Congress to prioritize getting these bipartisan initiatives across the finish line this year.”
FIRST IN PI — FORBES TATE ADDS 3: Forbes Tate Partners has added three new members to its public affairs team, including Andres Ramirez, a veteran communications strategist and former Harry Reid aide, as senior vice president. Ramirez previously managed his own Las Vegas-based firm, the Ramirez Group, for a decade, and will primarily focus on health care clients at Forbes Tate, he told PI. Will May and Colin Finnegan are also joining as senior directors in the public affairs practice from Firehouse Strategies and Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, respectively.
DEMS’ PLAN TO BROADEN CORPORATE TAX BASE RUNS INTO TROUBLE: Democrats in Congress are facing complaints from a litany of industries over their proposal to create a new 15 percent minimum tax on big businesses to help pay for their reconciliation package, POLITICO’s Brian Faler reports, with industries lobbying for exemptions from the plan.
— “Green energy companies say they would lose investment write-offs under the proposal, blunting efforts to combat climate change. Heavy manufacturers are worried too, saying the plan would strip away long-standing deductions for buying machines and equipment. Companies with pensions say that, because of accounting anomalies, they could be forced to pay taxes on the earnings on money they’ve socked away for their workers’ retirement. Insurance companies, meanwhile, say they don’t even use the accounting system the minimum tax proposal relies upon.”
— “Some lawmakers want to address unintended consequences like those, but they are hemmed in on several fronts. For one thing, their reconciliation package is already in the hole, projected to add $367 billion to the deficit and making exceptions to the tax would only cost more money. Second, they face a slippery-slope problem: If they make changes for one industry, they will face demands to help others as well, which could quickly drain the revenue from what is now their single-biggest tax increase.”
— Brian notes that “if Democrats have a tactical advantage, it’s that they’ve managed to divide the business community on the issue, if only inadvertently.” The alarm “underscores how Democrats’ so-called book income minimum tax proposal is proving far messier than the corporate rate increase they originally had in mind until Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) scotched those plans.”
TALLY IT UP: Greenberg Traurig is out this week with a helpful chart that breaks down the 10 biggest revenue raisers in Democrats’ reconciliation bill, with the caveat that of course it’s all subject to change as the Senate works through it. The corporate minimum tax, which the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates will bring in $319 billion over 10 years, tops the list.
DENTONS GLOBAL ADVISORS ACQUIRES AMBASSADOR’S CONSULTANCY: Hills & Company, the international consulting firm founded by former U.S. Trade Representative and HUD Secretary Carla Hills, will merge with Dentons Global Advisors next year. Hills will join DGA, which this year joined with Albright Stonebridge Group, as a senior counselor, as will Thomas Pickering, a former ambassador to the United Nations. Atman Trivedi will co-lead the South Asia practice.
COALITION PRESSES FOR CANNABIS BANKING BILL IN NDAA: “A coalition of trade groups, businesses and even a labor union — all of which frequently work with the cannabis industry — wrote to Senate leadership on Tuesday asking for passage of the SAFE Banking Act,” POLITICO’s Natalie Fertig reports.
— More than a dozen groups, including the American Bankers Association, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, the Electronic Transaction Association and the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers, signed on to the letter calling for cannabis banking language to be included in the National Defense Authorization Act. In their letter to Senate leadership as well as the chairs of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs and Armed Services committees, the groups called the status quo “untenable for workers, communities, ancillary businesses and law-abiding financial institutions.”
— “Despite 36 states and several territories permitting cannabis use, a growing number of Americans and legal businesses continue to face civil and even criminal liability if they service state-licensed cannabis businesses and ancillary companies,” the groups wrote of the proposal that was included in the House’s version of the annual defense policy bill. The language has bipartisan support in the Senate, though Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) “has said repeatedly that he will not support a cannabis bill that addresses industry concerns while people are still being put in jail for cannabis possession or sale,” a position that has the support of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
WHAT OUSTED HRC PRESIDENT TOLD CUOMO INVESTIGATORS: “The former president of the influential LGBTQ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign revealed to investigators more details than previously known about how he advised Andrew Cuomo’s team during the former governor’s sexual harassment scandals,” per CNBC’s Brian Schwartz.
— “Alphonso David told New York state investigators that he talked to the then-governor’s aides on at least two different instances of how to handle accusations of sexual harassment during 2020 and 2021. Both of these instances happened while he was running the Human Rights Campaign. He was fired from running the group earlier this year after it was revealed that he provided a confidential file on Lindsey Boylan, one of Cuomo’s accusers who once worked for the governor, to a press aide. David, a lawyer, worked in the governor’s office before becoming the leader of HRC in 2019.”
— “David’s advice to the governor’s executive chamber was linked to the role of the New York State Governor’s Office of Employee Relations, or GOER, according to David’s lawyer. GOER is supposed to handle oversight and investigations into the treatment of employees who work at state agencies.” Transcripts released by the state attorney general this week show that, when asked whether he’d provided legal advice on questions of sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo, David told investigators he “was consulted on a confidential basis with respect to process,” and his attorney repeatedly invoked privilege when asked about discussions David had with Cuomo’s aides.
— Hannah Wesolowski is now national director of government relations, policy and advocacy at the National Alliance on Mental Illness. She was most recently NAMI’s director of field advocacy, and is a Public Affairs Council alum.
— Cheryl Heinonen has joined the Brunswick Group as a partner in the San Francisco office. She was most recently executive vice president of corporate communications at Macy’s.
— Norman Ross will be vice president of government affairs for PIM Brands Inc. (the company behind Welch’s fruit snacks). He was most recently vice president of public affairs and communications for Heartland Coca-Cola Bottling Company.
— The Freedom Initiative named Andrea Prasow as executive director. She was most recently deputy and acting Washington director at Human Rights Watch.
— Martha Spieker is joining the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Playbook reports. She was most recently associate director of federal advocacy media and previously was deputy comms director for Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii).
— Christian McMullen is joining TAG Strategies as public affairs director, per Playbook. He previously was comms director for Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-Texas).
— Susan Soonkeum Cox, vice president of policy and external affairs at Holt International, will retire at the end of December after four decades at the adoption agency.
— John Howes is now counsel for Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio). He previously was government affairs counsel at the Wireless Infrastructure Association.
ALABAMA PATRIOTS PAC (Super PAC)
Impact Vets Inc. (Super PAC)
Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld: Education Reform Now Advocacy
Ballard Partners: Allied Universal Corporation
Ballard Partners: City Of Largo, Florida
Ballard Partners: Nostromo Energy Inc.
Ballard Partners: Safe Port Terminals, LLC
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP: Universal Corporation
Holland & Knight LLP: Novo Nordisk, Inc.
Invariant LLC: Fenix Group
Invariant LLC: Havenpark Management
Iranian Americans For Liberty: Iranian Americans For Liberty
Klein/Johnson Group: Metropolitan New York Coordinating Council On Jewish Poverty
Lobbyit.Com: Alan Turing Neuromorphic Semiconductor Corporation
Miller & Chevalier Chartered: Freeport-Mcmoran, Inc.
Platinum Advisors Dc, LLC: The County Of Napa, California
Salt Point Strategies: Ipc
Subject Matter (Fka Elmendorf Ryan): Square, Inc
Sylvamo North America, LLC (Fka Sylvamo): Sylvamo North America, LLC (Fka Sylvamo)
Vectis Dc: California State University, Dominguez Hills
Vectis Dc: City Of Inglewood, California
Vnf Solutions, LLC: American Green Elements LLC
Gray Global Advisors, LLC: Shipyard Creek Associates Branch Properties LLC
Southern Strategies LLC: Idemia Identity & Security USa LLC (Formerly Known As Idemia North America)
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