With a quiet official schedule, lawmakers are using the public momentum for gun control to craft legislation that would make some limited changes to the nation’s background check system and gun purchasing policies. The starting place for those negotiations is a bill dubbed Fix NICS (National Instant Check System) that would push state and local governments to submit more information to the national background check system. House lawmakers have already approved the measure — albeit in a package (H.R. 38) that included a controversial policy to provide state reciprocity for concealed carry permits — but opposition emerged yesterday from both sides of the political spectrum in the Senate after Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) held up quick passage of Fix NICS and Senate Democrats lambasted it as too modest to combat the problem of mass shootings. It’s unclear what the next step is in the Senate, and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has suggested the lower chamber will refrain from any additional gun measures until the Senate makes its next move.
Both chambers will be back in session today after a week off for the Presidents’ Day holiday. The Mar. 23 deadline for an omnibus funding bill remains the biggest item on Congress’s to-do list, but those negotiations are only expected to continue behind the scenes this week. The House aims to pass a pair of financial services bills and a measure to combat sex trafficking before ending their voting schedule on Tuesday night. Today’s docket features seven suspension bills, including one aiming to give more access to dental care for low-income individuals (H.R. 2422) and another that would reauthorize federal efforts designed to combat congenital heart disease (H.R. 1222).
The Week in Review
Congress was in recess last week in honor of the Presidents’ Day holiday. President Trump headlined the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in a week where political debate again focused on gun control. Momentum for gun control legislation seems to be building, but it remains unclear what specific measures, if any, will be able to gain sufficient support from both sides of the aisle.
In today's Politico Influence newsletter — the leading government relations beat in Washington D.C. — Thorn Run Partners was cited following addition of Andrea Maresca to its elite health care practice. Maresca, a former Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services official, joined TRP as senior vice president for health policy. In a brief interview with Politico Influence, Maresca noted that her role includes analyzing health care policy and “reading the tea leaves on where the administration is heading on a number of issues that are important to Thorn Run’s clients.”
Dating back to 1862, and every year since 1886, the Senate has read President George Washington’s Farewell address. It is worth reading and thinking about our first President’s writing – both for its sage advice, but also as a reminder that many of the political ills that cloud our government today date back to the founding.
That said, some of his letter seems especially prescient today. For example, he states that,
The Week in Review
A week that started with policy developments on immigration, the White House’s budget priorities, and infrastructure ended with a renewed push for gun control legislation and indictments in the Russia probe after a whirlwind news cycle in Washington. The response to the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida that claimed the lives of 17 students and staff on Wednesday continued through the weekend as gun control advocates hope that the most recent episode of gun violence will force Congress to take up the issue. While a few prominent Republicans — namely Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) and Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-UT) — have offered some openness on the issue, it does not appear to be on the immediate agenda for lawmakers.
Today's Politico Pulse newsletter — a leading health policy beat in Washington D.C. — featured an excerpt on Andrea Maresca, the newest addition to Thorn Run Partners' elite health policy team. Maresca, who joins TRP as a Senior Vice President, worked most recently at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services as a special assistant and adviser to the deputy administrator. She also worked in the office of legislation and previously spent nearly a decade at the National Association of Medicaid Directors and National Governors Association. “We are thrilled to add to Andrea to our expanding health policy team,” stated TRP co-founding partner Andrew Rosenberg. “Both in terms of intellect and reputation, Andrea cements TRP Health Policy’s place among the city’s elite health policy practices and brings a level of expertise that our clients won’t ever find anywhere else.”
For Immediate Release: February 20, 2018
Contact: Andrew Rosenberg, (202) 247-6301
Thorn Run Partners (TRP) announced today the addition of health policy expert Andrea Maresca as Senior Vice President. A veteran regulator, analyst, and advisor with over 15 years of policymaking experience in both government and non-government roles, Ms. Maresca maintains a deep reservoir of strong relationships and an unsurpassed knowledge of federal health policy issues, with a particular expertise in Medicaid.
- The Senate floor will be consumed by the immigration effort, and there are no hearings scheduled in the Banking Committee.
- There are two major financial services bills coming up on the floor of the House. First is the so-called “TRID” bill that will amend the CFPB’s rule for mortgage disclosure. Second, is the “Madden Fix” or “Valid when Made” bill that would bring some level of certainty to credit markets roiled by the Midland v. Madden decision. If this legislation, which will come up under a rule, is to have a chance for inclusion in the Senate reg relief bill its proponents will need to run up the Democratic votes on the floor.
- Even though the budget deal from last week made the President’s budget more moot than in most years, this week marks the start of budget week with numerous officials coming to the Hill to talk about the Administration’s policy priorities.
- As part of this effort, Secretary Mnuchin will again pull double duty on the Hill testifying before the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday and Thursday.
- OMB Director Mulvaney also heads before the House Budget Committee on Tuesday where we suspect he might receive a question of two about his other role as Acting Director of the CFPB.
- The House Financial Services Committee holds multiple hearings this week. First the Financial Institutions Subcommittee holds a hearing Wednesday morning on data breach that could provide insight into the draft bill they are working on. Then later that afternoon the Capital Markets Subcommittee has a hearing on derivatives.
- On Thursday the FI subcommittee holds another hearing on de-risking, while the Terrorism Financing Subcommittee holds a hearing that afternoon.
In today's cover story for CQ Magazine, Thorn Run Partners' Andy Rosenberg and Harriet Melvin discuss how they have adapted to a changing lobbying environment following the 2016 election. “The whole last year has really changed a lot about the way you think about positioning your clients and their issues,” said Melvin. “It’s not just the change in administration, but it is the activism that is now out there.” Rosenberg touted the work that Thorn Run does in building stakeholder coalitions as a part of solving complex industry issues. “How in this cacophony of stakeholders do you get the attention of decision-makers to fix something?” asked Rosenberg. “You build a stakeholder coalition around it. You become the thought leader on the issue and then you convene other stakeholders and thought leaders.” The article also highlights the role that TRP Engage plays in executing strategic communication plans for clients.