Coalition hits the Hill to fight Trump tariffs

 In Politics

With David Beavers and Garrett Ross

ANTI-TARIFF GROUPS GO TO THE HILL: A broad coalition of steel users, aluminum users and agriculture producers will go to the Hill today to lobby against President Donald Trump’s proposed tariffs. (In case you’ve been living under a rock, Trump announced last week that he plans to impose tariffs of 25 percent on imports of steel and 10 percent on aluminum.) Among the lawmakers the coalition plans to meet with are House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and subcommittee Chair Dave Reichert (R-Wash.), according to a lobbyist familiar with the meeting. The Hill meetings come one day after the National Foreign Trade Council, a U.S. business group, held a meeting and phone call with trade groups and companies that oppose the tariffs to strategize about next steps.

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— As POLITICO’s Marianne LeVine and Adam Behsudi report, the lobbying efforts include appealing to Trump directly through television networks he enjoys, including Fox News, and mobilizing Republican senators and governors who have voiced concerns about pulling out of NAFTA. Industry groups will continue to argue the tariffs will have a negative effect on steel and aluminum consumers, will lead to foreign retaliation on U.S. exports and could trigger a trade war that will hurt economic growth. But many lobbyists acknowledge that Trump appears to have already made up his mind. Full story.

— In other tariff-related news: CGCN Group is out today with a memo that advises free trade proponents to reframe their messaging strategy. “The key to reframing the debate is to acknowledge that America can do better,” the memo said. “Pure economic arguments don’t carry much weight with Americans who make things, particularly those in communities that have been hammered by globalization. Find voices who can make the case for a middle ground. For starters, let’s hear more from workers. We keep seeing statistics about how many Americans will lose their jobs, if these tariffs take effect. Well, let’s hear from some of those workers whose jobs are in jeopardy.”

We are also keeping an eye on how foreign governments and companies are reacting to the tariffs. David O’Sullivan, European Union ambassador to the United States, tweeted Monday that he, along with representatives for Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Sweden, met with House Speaker Paul Ryan to stress “EU concerns over possible US steel/aluminum tariffs.” Meanwhile, across the pond, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association warned Trump today “against punitive tariffs on European car exports, suggesting this would hurt transatlantic trade as well as affect jobs and tax revenues in the U.S.,” POLITICO Europe’s Hans von der Burchard and Jakob Hanke report. The trade group’s members include BMW, Fiat Chrysler, Honda, PSA (which makes Citroëns, Peugeots, Opels and Vauxhalls) and Volkswagen.

Good afternoon, and welcome to PI. Congratulations to Rob Hall of Entergy for being the first to answer our Monday trivia question correctly. Tommy Boggs first registered as a lobbyist in 1967, according to Franklin Foer’s recent blockbuster piece in The Atlantic. Next question: Who was the 19th century Washington lobbyist who once kept a congressman from showing up to a crucial committee hearing by hiding his boots?

— Today’s gossip is tomorrow’s news. (Rest in peace, Gawker.) Send us your tips: [email protected] and [email protected] You can also follow us on Twitter: @theodoricmeyer and @marianne_levine.

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STEPTOE SIGNS RAYTHEON: Raytheon has added Steptoe & Johnson to its stable of outside lobbying firms. Philip West, Steptoe’s chairman, will lobby on issues related to tax reform, according to a disclosure filing, in the latest indication that Republicans’ tax law may drive as much business after its passage as it did when the bill was coming together. Raytheon spent $5.1 million on Washington lobbying last year and also retains American Continental Group; American Defense International; BGR Group; C. Baker Consulting; Capitol Tax Partners; Covington & Burling; DLA Piper; Etherton and Associates; HAKA; Holland & Knight; Innovative Federal Strategies; O’Brien, Gentry & Scott; Rasky Partners; and the Vectre Corporation.

OPEN YOUR WALLETS: Lobbyists and others who’d like to have dinner with nearly half the Senate Republican Conference can do so next week at a fundraiser for Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.), who’s up for reelection in 2020. The dinner, hosted by Gina Rigby and Aflac PAC, has a long list of special guests: GOP Sens. John Barrasso (Wyo.), Roy Blunt (Mo.), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), Bill Cassidy (La.), John Cornyn (Texas), Steve Daines (Mont.), Joni Ernst (Iowa), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Orrin Hatch (Utah), Jim Inhofe (Okla.), Johnny Isakson (Ga.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Jerry Moran (Kan.), Rob Portman (Ohio), Pat Roberts (Kan.), Tim Scott (S.C.), Thom Tillis (N.C.) and Pat Toomey (Pa.).

— The dinner will be held at the Monocle at 6:30 p.m. on Monday. It’ll cost $2,700 to get in the door as a host ($5,000 for PACs), $1,500 as a co-host ($2,500 for PACs) or $1,000 as a mere attendee. (Aren’t all the hosts at an event with more than one host “co-hosts”? But we digress.)

AHEAD OF THE FILINGS — AKIN GUMP SIGNS FIVE: Akin Gump has five new clients: Hoveround, for which it will lobby on health issues; Connected Nation Development Corporation, for which it will lobby on telecommunications issues; the National Honey Packers & Dealers Association, for which it will lobby on food industry issues; Laureate International Universities, for which it will lobby on trade and foreign relations; and Altice USA, for which it will lobby on telecommunications issues.

LAWMAKERS PUSH AL JAZEERA TO REGISTER AS FOREIGN AGENT: “A group of U.S. lawmakers is prodding the Trump administration to require the Qatar-based news channel Al Jazeera to register as foreign agents under U.S. law,” POLITICO’s Josh Gerstein reports. “The move against the Arab-language TV-news powerhouse comes as the little-enforced Foreign Agents Registration Act is undergoing a renaissance of sorts, prompted in part by a rare criminal prosecution — special counsel Robert Mueller‘s indictment of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and longtime aide Rick Gates for their work for Ukraine. In a letter addressed to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and circulated for signatures on Capitol Hill, members of Congress argue that Al Jazeera is serving as a mouthpiece for Qatar’s foreign policy views and that the network appears to qualify as a ‘state-controlled’ operation.”

— “‘We find it troubling that the content produced by this network often directly undermines American interests with favorable coverage of U.S. State Department-designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations, including Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria,’ Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) and others write in the letter. ‘American citizens deserve to know whether the information and news media they consume is impartial, or if it is deceptive propaganda pushed by foreign nations.’” Full story.

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