Puerto Rico Cannot Pay Debts; Kasich to Enter 2016 Race July 21

Today’s Capital Brief

  • While the world is focused on a dramatic bailout referendum in Greece, an announcement closer to home took many in the U.S. by surprise: Puerto Rico’s governor said the island cannot pay nearly $72 billion in debts. (New York Times)
  • The Supreme Court still has three big decisions to announce today on lethal injections, political redistricting and environmental regulations. (USA Today) For background on the redistricting case, check out Reid’s story from earlier this month on how Arizona Republicans are already preparing for victory. (Morning Consult)
  • With the healthcare case decided, the Senate could start holding the anti-Obamacare votes leadership said they wanted to attempt when they took the chamber this year. But with a crowded floor schedule, it’s unclear how Republicans will go about taking those votes. And the Senate has taken just two floor votes on the Affordable Care Act this year. (Morning Consult)

Today’s Campaign Brief

  • Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) will officially launch a presidential campaign on July 21. He expects to have more than $10 million in his campaign chest by then, and has made recent fundraising trips to New York City, California, Florida and Texas. (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) is the only major Democratic candidate campaigning to unseat Republican Sen. John McCain in 2016. But depending on how the Supreme Court rules on a redistricting case today, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) may opt to join the Senate race rather than run for re-election in a redrawn district. (Arizona Republic)
  • In a blow to the more conservative presidential candidates, Virginia’s Republican party will hold a presidential nominating primary open to all voters, as opposed to a party-run convention. (Washington Post)

Today’s Lobbying Brief

  • A slew of new lobbying registrations came in over the weekend. Scroll down for details.

Today’s Chart Review

Mark Your Calendars (All Times Eastern)

Monday
Congress is in recess until after the July 4 weekend.

President Obama will sign H.R. 2146 Defending Public Safety Employees’ Retirement Act and H.R. 1295 Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015 in the morning. At night he will host a working dinner with President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil and Vice President Biden.

General

Puerto Rico’s Governor Says Island’s Debts Are ‘Not Payable’
from the New York Times by Michael Corkery and Mary Williams Walsh 

The governor, Alejandro García Padilla, and senior members of his staff said in an interview last week that they would probably seek significant concessions from as many as all of the island’s creditors, which could include deferring some debt payments for as long as five years or extending the timetable for repayment.

Gov. John Kasich to announce presidential bid July 21
from the Columbus Dispatch by Darrel Rowland and Jack Torry

With more than $10 million flowing toward his campaign coffers, Ohio Gov. John Kasich is expected to announce his presidential candidacy July 21 at the Ohio Union, sources tell The Dispatch…Kasich has made fundraising trips to at least New York City, California, Florida, Texas and, just last week, two days in the Chicago area. The results of all that activity will become clear July 15 when Kasich’s political organization, New Day for America, must disclose its finances.

And then there were three: Today’s big Supreme Court rulings
from USA Today by Richard Wolf

  • Clean air…A major rule requiring coal- and oil-fired power plants to reduce emissions of mercury and other toxic air pollutants hangs in the balance.
  • Lethal injections…The case involves the use of a sedative called midazolam as part of a three-drug cocktail used by several states, including Oklahoma, where three death-row inmates are challenging its use.
  • Political maps. In the second case to reach the court this year on political redistricting, the justices must decide whether nonpartisan commissions can replace state legislatures in drawing congressional district maps every 10 years.

Va. GOP will choose presidential nominee by primary
from the Washington Post by Jenna Portnoy

Until now, members of the fellowship had been unified in their commitment to conventions. Yet moderates persuaded some of them to vote for a 2016 presidential primary in exchange for a recommendation for a convention in 2017, when the party will choose nominees for governor and other statewide offices.

Iran Wish List Led Nuclear Deal Talks With U.S.
from the Wall Street Journal by Jay Solomon 

Clandestine meetings between U.S. and Iranian officials that started three years ago in Oman’s capital, Muscat, have yielded negotiations that aim to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for removal of international sanctions. Negotiations here on a final agreement will continue past Tuesday’s deadline, officials said Sunday.

Florida lawmakers in Washington travel large
from the Tampa Bay Times by Alex Leary 

Topping the list was Rep. Ander Crenshaw, R-Jacksonville, who combined with staff members to log $75,021 in privately financed trips. That included travel to Japan (paid for by the Aspen Institute Congressional Program), Colombia and Peru (paid for by the International Conservation Caucus Foundation) and Cambodia (paid for by the Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere).

Rand Paul set to raise money from marijuana industry
from the Lexington Herald-Leader by Sam Youngman 

Paul, Kentucky’s junior senator and a candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, is scheduled to attend a fundraising reception next week at the National Cannabis Business Summit and Expo in Denver…An invitation to the event says it is being hosted by the National Cannabis Industry Association’s political action committee, and a spokeswoman for the group confirmed that Paul will be the only presidential candidate in attendance.

As Left Wins Culture Battles, G.O.P. Gains Opportunity to Pivot for 2016
from the New York Times by Jonathan Martin 

As important as some of these issues may be to the most conservative elements of the party’s base and in the primaries ahead, few Republican leaders want to contest the 2016 elections on social or cultural grounds, where polls suggest that they are sharply out of step with the American public.

Sunday show wrap-up: Same-sex marriage grabs the spotlight
from The Hill staff 

Huckabee predicts MLK-like resistance to gay marriage ruling: “They will go the path of Dr. Martin Luther King,” the GOP presidential candidate said.

U.S. Stock-Index Futures Retreat Amid Greek Euro Exit Concern
from Bloomberg News by Adam Haigh and Sofia Horta E Costa 

National Bank of Greece ADRs plummeted 30 percent in early New York trading, and the Global X FTSE Greece 20 ETF tumbled 16 percent. Morgan Stanley dropped 1.6 percent, while Citigroup Inc. slipped 1.9 percent. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, which makes about a quarter of its sales in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, retreated 4.6 percent.

Senate

After King v. Burwell, Senate Could Start Obamacare Votes
from Morning Consult by Meghan McCarthy 

With the case decided, the Senate could start holding the anti-Obamacare votes leadership said they wanted to attempt when they took the chamber this year. But with a crowded floor schedule, the prospect of tough amendment votes under regular order and disagreement over what budget reconciliation should be used for, it’s unclear how Republicans will go about taking those votes.

Looming highway debate stirs tax fight
from The Hill by Alexander Bolton 

Senate Finance Committee Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who is tasked with finding a way to pay for a multi-year deal, has ruled out the prospect of raising taxes, putting him on a collision course with Democrats. Senate Democratic leaders have called for a six-year, $478 billion transportation bill paid largely by taxing overseas corporate profits.

House

Former Illinois US Rep. Mel Reynolds Indicted on Tax Charges
from the Associated Press by Michael Tarm 

A grand jury indictment unsealed Friday charges Mel Reynolds, a 63-year-old Chicago Democrat, with failing to file income tax returns for 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. The brief, four-page indictment doesn’t specify dollar amounts or offer other details, including sources of the purported income.

Benghazi chairman threatens to force Kerry to testify
from The Hill by Timothy Cama 

Gowdy said he’s spoken Jon Finer, Kerry’s chief of staff, about State’s “total recalcitrance at allowing Congress to investigate,” including its refusal to provide emails from nine of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 10 senior aides, and Gowdy is calling Finer to testify.

Campaign

Kirkpatrick racking up Democratic endorsements
from the Arizona Republic by Dan Nowicki 

Kirkpatrick, a Flagstaff Democrat, may wind up having an uncontested primary, but U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., has yet to publicly close the door on a Senate run. Sinema’s future prospects may come into sharper focus on Monday, when the U.S. Supreme Court hands down its eagerly awaited decision in Arizona’s redistricting case.

Dem Eric Lynn reports daunting fundraising number to take on David Jolly
from the Tampa Bay Times by Adam C. Smith 

The campaign has more than two weeks before it must file official reports, but Team Lynn tells the Buzz he has raised more than $400,000 so far…Lynn raised more than any U.S. challenger in Florida in the first quarter of the year and more than all but four incumbents of either party.

GOP Tries to Portray Feingold as a Hypocrite Over PAC Spending
from Roll Call by Emily Cahn 

After losing re-election to a fourth term in 2010, Feingold, who had championed limits on spending in federal elections, launched the Progressives United PAC, which the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported spent a large percentage of the $7.1 million it raised on overhead and staff salaries. Republicans are already attempting to use that news to paint Feingold as a hypocrite.

Top U.S. Senate candidates run quietly, for now
from the Los Angeles Times by Cathleen Decker 

Harris scored an important one last week when she secured the backing of the California branch of the Service Employees International Union. It was both concrete, in that the union will now communicate its wishes to rank-and-file members, and symbolic, in that it denied something to Sanchez that could have provided a boomlet of publicity for her campaign.

Lobbying

Have the inside scoop on K-Street movement? Send it our way!

Registrations:

Rail Term hired Cassidy & Associates to work on surface transportation and rail policy.

Larry LaRocco will work on foreign detention issues for S. Abdassalam for M. and K. al Darat.

Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen Bingel & Thomas registered to lobby for Teladoc on Medicare, Medicaid and VA coverage.

Bradford Card and Adam Bordes will work on patent legislation for the Coalition for Consumer Patent Protection.

The Smith-Free Group’s Jack S. Deuser will lobby on spectrum management and wireless competition for DISH Network.

Biohealthonomics hired Jack Burkman and Ralph Palmieri to take up HHS issues and DOD contracts.

McAllister & Quinn’s will work on federal funding for R&D for Henkel Aerospace and University of Md. Orthapaedic Association.

James O’Keeffe will advocate for Rails to Trails Conservancy on TIFIA.

Tenable Network Security hired Fierce Government Relations to work on cybersecurity.

Parry, Romani, Deconcini & Symms registed to work on pharmaceutical issues for Rock & Associates.

Alan Wheat and Tim Perrin of Polsinelli PC signed Nanotherapeutics as a client. They will work on issues pertaining to the provision of medical countermeasures.

SunOpta hired Mark Rokala for work related to USDA Agriculture Marketing Service programs.

Terminations:

Q1 (No activity): Van Heuvelen Strategies is no longer registered to work on behalf of Volvo.

Q4 (No activity): Lobbyit.com no longer lobbies for the following – Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals, Council of Pakistan American Chamber of Commerce, Independence Bio Products, Measurement, Control & Automation Association, MEND Foundation, National Alopecia Areata Foundation, New Era Contract Sales, Safe States Alliance, Spondylitis Association of America and Utility Composite Solutions International.

Opinions, Editorials & Perspectives

Gary Hart: America’s Founding Principles Are in Danger of Corruption
in Time

The lobbying business is no longer about votes up or down on particular measures that may emerge in Congress or policies made in the White House. It is about setting agendas, deciding what should and should not be brought up for hearings and legislation. We have gone way beyond mere vote buying now. The converging Influence World represents nothing less than an unofficial but enormously powerful fourth branch of government.

Dark Money’s Deepening Power
from the New York Times Editorial Board 

President Obama is reported to be considering an important brake on the torrent of “dark money” already flooding the 2016 presidential campaign — an executive order requiring federal contractors to disclose their donations to political candidates. Mr. Obama should immediately sign such an order. In doing so he would expose some of the bigger players in today’s big money politics, while offering a healthy counterpoint to Republican efforts to squelch disclosure.

Ten Days in June
from the New Yorker by David Remnick 

What a series of days in American life, full of savage mayhem, uncommon forgiveness, resistance to forgiveness, furious debate, mourning, and finally, justice and grace.

Realistic Goals for the Paris Climate Conference
from the Wall Street Journal by Michael R. Bloomberg 

For starters, nations—particularly less ambitious ones like Canada, Japan and Russia—should strengthen their commitments. Doing so is less difficult than is widely believed, if nations empower cities and businesses to take action. Mayors and CEOs are already taking the lead in many places, because they understand that a low-carbon future benefits not only public health but also economic growth.

Repairing the ObamaCare Wreckage
from the Wall Street Journal by Scott W. Atlas 

The 107 million people on Medicaid or Medicare in 2013 will increase to 135 million by 2018, a growth rate tripling that of private insurance, according to projections by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. At the same time, private health-care insurance premiums are expected to skyrocket in 2016, many by more than 30%.

No Labels stakes out a national agenda
from the Washington Post by Fred Hiatt
 

Now it is staking out a role in the presidential election process, deploying field organizers to primary states and inviting candidates to an October convention that will gather more than 1,000 undecided New Hampshire voters — the “most valuable resource” in the state, Huntsman said.

Research Reports, Issue Briefs & Case Studies

Americans’ Internet Access: 2000-2015
from the Pew Research Center by Andrew Perrin and Maeve Duggan 

A new analysis of 15 years-worth of data highlights several key trends: For some groups, especially young adults, those with high levels of education, and those in more affluent households, internet penetration is at full saturation levels. For other groups, such as older adults, those with less educational attainment, and those living in lower-income households, adoption has historically been lower but rising steadily, especially in recent years. At the same time, digital gaps still persist.

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