POLITICO Playbook PM: McConnell steps up the GOP-Big Business battle – Politico

politico-playbook-pm:-mcconnell-steps-up-the-gop-big-business-battle-–-politico

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Tensions between the Republican Party and its traditional corporate backers are starting to boil over with DONALD TRUMP gone from the White House.

On the heels of MLB’s decision to pull its All-Star Game out of Atlanta over Georgia’s new voting law, Senate Minority Leader MITCH MCCONNELL put out a blistering new statement this morning. And he’s trying to reclaim the “big lie” terminology: “Corporations Shouldn’t Fall for Absurd Disinformation on Voting Laws”: “We are witnessing a coordinated campaign by powerful and wealthy people to mislead and bully the American people. … All the facts disprove the big lie. …

“Our private sector must stop taking cues from the Outrage-Industrial Complex. … From election law to environmentalism to radical social agendas to the Second Amendment, parts of the private sector keep dabbling in behaving like a woke parallel government. Corporations will invite serious consequences if they become a vehicle for far-left mobs to hijack our country from outside the constitutional order. Businesses must not use economic blackmail to spread disinformation and push bad ideas that citizens reject at the ballot box.” WaPo analysis of conservatives trying to redefine the “big lie”

The breach comes as corporate America is increasingly speaking out against GOP efforts to tighten voting laws, a cause led by its erstwhile leader Trump.

Our colleague Burgess Everett calls McConnell’s statement “just the latest sign of a fraying alliance between big companies and the Republican Party.” See also: Sen. MARCO RUBIO (R-Fla.) today asking MLB Commissioner ROBERT MANFRED whether he’ll resign as a member from Augusta National Golf Club in the wake of the decision to pull the All-Star Game from Georgia — which Rubio declares “woke corporate virtue signaling.” The letter

Texas Gov. GREG ABBOTT informed the Texas Rangers today that he would no longer be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at their home opener tonight. He cited the MLB’s decision, which he called a “false narrative.” “I will not participate in an event held by MLB, and the State will not seek to host the All-Star Game or any other MLB special events.”

MEANWHILE, the AP is out with data from a Public Citizen report on the major corporations that have given more than $50 million to state legislators across the U.S. who have supported voting restrictions.

AP: “Telecom giant AT&T was the most prolific, donating over $800,000 since 2015 to authors of proposed restrictions, cosponsors of such measures, or those who voted in favor of the bills, the report found. Other top donors during the same period include Comcast, Philip Morris USA, UnitedHealth Group, Walmart, Verizon, General Motors and Pfizer.” While these donations were of course not made with these measures in mind, there was a similar backlash when past donations to lawmakers who supported Trump’s efforts to overturn the election were publicized following the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. The Public Citizen report

GEORGIA ON MY MIND — The NYT has a tick-tock this morning exploring how big business took a stand against Georgia’s new law. In the case of Delta, the state’s biggest employer, pressure from employees and a missive from Black business leaders played a major role: “In February, civil rights activists began reaching out to Delta, flagging what they saw as problematic provisions in early drafts of the bill, including a ban on Sunday voting, and asking the company to use its clout and lobbying muscle to sway the debate. Delta’s government affairs team shared some of those concerns, but decided to work behind the scenes, rather than go public. It was a calculated choice intended to avoid upsetting Republican lawmakers.

“In early March, Delta lobbyists pushed David Ralston, the Republican head of the Georgia house, and aides to Gov. Brian Kemp to remove some far-reaching provisions in the bill. … Days after the law was passed though, a group of powerful Black executives frustrated by the results sprang into action. Soon, Atlanta companies were drawn back into the fight, and the controversy had spread to other corporations around the country.”

Good Monday afternoon.

INFRASTRUCTURE YEAR …

— SIREN … CBS’ @stevenportnoy: “In a radio interview with @HoppyKercheval, Sen. Manchin signals there are circumstances under which he won’t vote to get onto the infrastructure bill. ‘As the bill exists today, it needs to be changed,’ Manchin says. … Manchin says more revenue needs to be collected from high income earners, but he says the corporate tax rate should be at 25%. He says he would not support raising the corp tax to 28%.”

— “Janet Yellen to call for global minimum tax rate,” Axios: “Janet Yellen will use her first major address as Treasury secretary to argue for a global minimum corporate tax rate, Axios has learned, as she makes the case for President Biden’s plan to raise U.S. corporate taxes to fund his $2 trillion+ infrastructure plan.

“Convincing other countries to impose a global minimum tax would reduce the likelihood of companies relocating offshore, as Biden seeks to increase the corporate rate from 21% to 28%. ‘Competitiveness is about more than how U.S.-headquartered companies fare against other companies in global merger and acquisition bids,’ Yellen will say today in a speech to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, according to an excerpt of her prepared remarks obtained by Axios.”

— “A 28% Tax Rate Will Cost Companies, but Not Equally,” WSJ: “Tax bills would rise most for U.S.-focused firms that benefited more from 2017 tax cuts, offsetting some gains from stimulus spending.”

RECESS REVIEW — “Time back home with voters only emboldens Republicans to oppose Biden’s agenda,” WaPo: “Interviews with dozens of voters in three swing congressional districts across the country revealed evidence that attacks on the spending push are beginning to take hold, and congressional Republicans said they are well positioned to capitalize on voter doubts and win their way back to power in 2022. …

“Even with Biden’s pledges, fears persist in conservative communities like Yorba Linda [Calif.] that it won’t only be the rich who will bear the costs of new government programs. And some are questioning who reaps the benefits, even as red- and blue-tinged communities stand to gain assistance from the bills.”

ANDY SLAVITT at today’s Covid-19 briefing announced three new mass vaccination sites that will open in Columbia, S.C.; Pueblo, Colo.; and St. Paul, Minn. He also continued to sound the warning about botching the sprint to the pandemic’s finish line with premature relaxation: “The worst thing we could do right now would be to mistake progress for victory.”

SCOTUS WATCH — “Google beats Oracle in landmark Supreme Court case,” by Alexandra Levine: “The Supreme Court ruled on Monday in favor of Google in a long-running copyright dispute against Oracle that has huge implications for Silicon Valley — with the court finding that Google did not violate the law when it used more than 11,000 lines of software code belonging to Oracle in building its Android mobile operating system.

“The ruling in the case, which has been closely watched throughout the tech industry, sets new precedent in how U.S. copyright law applies to the computer code underpinning the American tech industry.”

— “Supreme Court dismisses case over Trump and Twitter critics,” AP … “Justice Thomas grumbles over Trump’s social media ban,” by Josh Gerstein: “Thomas weighed in with a 12-page lament about the power of social media firms like Twitter. … ‘We will soon have no choice but to address how our legal doctrines apply to highly concentrated, privately owned information infrastructure such as digital platforms.’”

2022 WATCH — THE LEFT GEARS UP: “Progressives target Jim Cooper for primary challenge,” by Holly Otterbein: “Justice Democrats, the left-wing group that recruited Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to run for Congress, has its eyes set on ousting another Democratic incumbent. … [I]t is backing Democrat Odessa Kelly in her campaign against Tennessee Rep. Jim Cooper — a Blue Dog Coalition member who has long frustrated liberals.” Kelly’s campaign announcement

— “Nina Turner collects $2.2 million for congressional bid,” Cleveland Plain Dealer: “The take gives her a likely fundraising edge among the more than half dozen candidates seeking the seat in an Aug. 3 primary and Nov. 2 general election.”

IMMIGRATION FILES — “In video, Biden thanks new U.S. citizens for ‘choosing us,’” AP: “In the brief remarks, Biden references the ‘courage’ of immigrants coming to the U.S. and his own heritage as a descendant of Irish immigrants. He also praises the contribution they will make to American society. ‘First and foremost, I want to thank you for choosing us and believing that America is worthy of your aspirations,’ Biden says in the video, calling the U.S. ‘this great nation of immigrants.’” The video

NOT YOUR USUAL LOBBYISTS — “Covid survivors look to turn grief into lobbying clout,” by Alice Miranda Ollstein: “[T]he new advocates — including people who lost loved ones to the virus — are focusing their grassroots lobbying on the follow-up plan Biden is expected to unveil later this month addressing the country’s ‘human infrastructure.’ They’ll press the White House and Congress to prioritize mandatory paid sick leave and make permanent the temporary expansion of Obamacare subsidies that was approved as part of Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package, among other goals. …

“[R]ecently formed groups like Covid Survivors for Change and Marked by COVID with several thousand members are also launching efforts at the federal and state levels, including setting up local chapters. They have an ambitious agenda: more funding for research, treatments and some form of compensation for the Covid-related deaths of more than half a million Americans. … Despite their growing numbers, the groups still face formidable odds.”

DIVERSITY PUSH — “Democratic firm aims to diversify consultant class,” by James Arkin: “Left Hook, a firm that works with major congressional candidates and committees, is launching the fellowship program this fall and bringing on a new veteran campaign operative to run a public affairs division, according to details shared first with POLITICO. The effort is part of a long-term goal to increase the diversity in their own ranks in the hopes of pushing the party to further develop talent pipelines for women and people of color.

“The firm has hired Shripal Shah, a veteran Democratic operative who was most recently a vice president at the super PAC American Bridge 21st Century, as a partner to lead the public affairs division.”

POLITICO COVERS ALL THE ANGLES — “‘It’s Not the Dog’: What’s Really Behind the White House Dog’s Biting Problem,” by Michael Kruse: “[A]ll politics aside, the dog training world is not overly impressed with what they’re hearing. A quartet of celebrity and expert dog trainers I talked to told me the response from the first family misses key points about a serious but eminently solvable situation. … It’s the place and the people around the dog. And what’s going on with Major needs to get fixed, and it isn’t going to get fixed until what’s going on around Major gets fixed, too.”

MEDIAWATCH — Kate Irby will be deputy Congress editor at POLITICO. She currently is a California congressional reporter for McClatchy in D.C. … CNN is adding Gabby Orr to cover Republican politics and Katie Bo Williams as an intelligence and national security reporter. Orr is currently a national political correspondent at POLITICO, and Williams most recently was senior national security correspondent at Defense One. Isabel Rosales is also joining CNN Newsource as a D.C. correspondent. She previously was at WFTS in Tampa.

— “Frank Bruni Stepping Down as Columnist; Named Endowed Chair at Duke University,” NYT: “He will no longer be a columnist but will continue to write his newsletter and will remain a contributing Opinion writer.”

TRANSITIONS — Matt McKnight is now government and public affairs director at R&R Partners. He most recently led the Change the Climate 2020 Campaign at the League of Conservation Voters, and is a Steven Horsford and Harry Reid alum. … Dylan Riddle is now head of media relations for the Americas region at Deutsche Bank. He previously was head of corporate comms at the Institute of International Finance. … Stephanie Potter is now head of sustainability strategy at Nestlé USA. She previously oversaw the sustainability and circular economy portfolio at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. …

… Rebecca Case will be lead health program analyst at MITRE. She previously was senior director of Medicaid policy at America’s Health Insurance Plans. … Owen Jappen is now director of chemical products and technology at the American Chemistry Council. He previously was senior manager of industry development at the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates. … Maria Secrest and Dan Betts are joining GOP Rep. Ken Buck’s Colorado office. Secrest will handle veterans casework issues and previously was a regional director in former Sen. Cory Gardner’s (R-Colo.) office. Betts will be an area representative and previously was a regional director for Gardner.

WEEKEND WEDDING — Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) and Cristina Bayardelle, an anesthesiologist assistant, got married on Saturday at Point Lookout Vineyards in Hendersonville, N.C. The two met through a mutual friend in Florida. Pic Another pic

WELCOME TO THE WORLD — Bennett Richardson, VP and general manager at Protocol, and Lindsey Richardson, senior business analyst at Dignari, on Friday night welcomed Parker Virginia Richardson, who came in at 8 lbs, 10 oz and 21 inches and joins big brother Andon. Pic

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