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RNC selects Cleveland as host for 2016 convention

No Republican Presidential nominee has won the White House without carrying the state of Ohio since 1860, something not lost on Republicans today who announced this week that they had selected Cleveland, Ohio to host the 2016 Republican National Convention. Cleveland beat out several cities along the way, in the end besting Dallas in the final decision.

The GOP plans to hold its 2016 convention earlier than usual, with possible dates of June 28th or July 18th being considered for the start.

"This is great news for Cleveland and our entire state," Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said in a statement. "It's a unique opportunity to showcase the new Cleveland as one of America's great cities, and to bring dollars and jobs to Ohio."

For the RNC, the top consideration was the budget presentations from each of the competing cities. Current RNC Chair Reince Preibus insisted that city proposals outline how they would pay for the convention – rather than sticking the bill with the party.

In proposals and presentations to the party, city officials outlined how each would raise the tens of millions of dollars required to pay for the weeklong rally for the party faithful. A successful convention is a boon not just to the political party, but also to the local economy.

In a post-convention report, organizers of Tampa, Fla.'s 2012 GOP convention said its $58 million in fundraising resulted in a $214 million direct economic impact. Some 50,000 activists, officials and reporters descended on the Tampa area for the convention, officials said. More journalists visited Tampa for the GOP convention in 2012 than visited in 2009 when Tampa hosted the Super Bowl.

That economic impact is one reason cities have been competing for months to host the convention.
Organizers earlier eliminated bids from Denver; Cincinnati; Columbus, Ohio; Kansas City, Missouri; Las Vegas and Phoenix.

Obama calls for almost $4 billion for border

In response to a growing humanitarian crisis on the border with Mexico, President Obama is calling on Congress to appropriate $3.7 billion to stem families and unaccompanied minors illegally crossing into the U.S.

Here's a by-the-numbers breakdown of the emergency supplemental request to curb the crisis.

$1.1 billion for immigration and customs enforcement: This would help pay for transportation costs associated with apprehending unaccompanied children, to the tune of $116 million. It would also help detain and and remove undocumented adults with children; expand alternatives to detention programs, such as ankle bracelets; and provide additional immigration and customs-enforcement efforts and expand ICE's investigatory programs.

$433 million for customs and border protection: Crews could log 16,526 more flight hours for aerial surveillance of the border—an expansion that has a $39.4 million price tag. A large portion of the $433 million would pay for costs associated with apprehending more children and families at the border, such as overtime and temporary pay for Border Patrol agents and the care of children placed in CBP protection.

$64 million for Department of Justice: About 40 more immigration judge teams would be hired. Additionally, the number of immigration litigation attorneys and legal representatives for children would increase.

$300 million for state department and international programs: The administration hopes to counteract smugglers' misinformation that migrants will be allowed to stay in the United States. About $5 million would support media campaigns in Central America emphasizing the dangers of the journey to cross the border. The other $295 million will go toward reintegrating migrants into their home country and addressing the economic and social disparities causing families and children to cross the border.

$1.8 billion for Health and Human Services: Central American children are placed in HHS hands after they cross the border, and these funds will go toward providing appropriate care for the kids.

Click here to view the Washington Business Brief video, Big News for Cleveland!

Senate Intel Committee passes Cybersecurity bill

On Tuesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee approved the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act by a vote of 12 to 3. The legislation would make it easier for businesses and the government to share information with each other about cyber-attacks. Despite the vote, the bill continues to face opposition from privacy groups, who warn that it could give the National Security Agency access to even more personal information of Americans.

The legislation includes provisions aimed at protecting privacy, such as requiring companies that share information first strip out personally identifiable data (such as names, addresses, and Social Security numbers) of known Americans.

But the privacy groups are still worried that the legislation could encourage a company such as Google to turn over vast batches of emails or other private data to the government. The information would go first to the Homeland Security Department, but could then be shared with the NSA or other intelligence agencies.

Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden and Mark Udall voted against the legislation, saying in a statement that it "lacks adequate protections for the privacy rights of law-abiding Americans, and that it will not materially improve cybersecurity."

The legislation is a counterpart to the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, which passed the House last year.

That legislation prompted a major backlash from Internet activists, who fear it would undermine Internet privacy. More than 100,000 people signed a White House petition opposing the bill, and "CISPA" became a dirty word on many blogs, discussion forums, and news sites.

The White House issued a veto threat on CISPA, saying it lacked adequate privacy safeguards.

Senate confirms Castro at HUD

On Wednesday, the Senate easily confirmed President Obama’s nominee to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development – San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro – by a vote of 71 to 26.

The 39-year old Castro, who delivered the keynote address at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, is seen as a rising star in Democratic circles and is frequently mentioned as a potential 2016 Vice Presidential contender

All 26 votes against Castro came from Republicans, including one of his home-state senators, Ted Cruz.

Transportation in focus

Highway Trust Fund update 

There was movement this week on both the House and Senate side with regards to efforts to avoid the looming bankruptcy of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF).

House Republicans have introduced their proposal for a temporary patch and in the Senate, Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) are pursuing a different approach.

The Senate proposal is $8 to 9 billion, while the House proposal is $10.8 billion. The House plans on paying for the bill via pension smoothing, a customs duty extension, and a Leaking Underground Storage Tanks (LUST) account transfer. Senators are still working on their funding mechanism but the general consensus is that they will utilize a LUST transfer and possibly pension smoothing.

The biggest hurdle had been the difference in the length of both proposals. The Senate was proposing a three-month extension, while the House was proposing an eight-month extension. However, on Thursday afternoon, the Senate tweaked their proposal to mirror the eight-month extension in the House.

The House Ways and Means Committee marked up their version on Thursday morning. Approximately $6.4 billion is raised from pension smoothing, which is an accounting practice that allows companies with defined benefit retirement plans to assume higher interest rates when calculating how much money they need to contribute for their employees’ retirement. This reduces their required contributions into the plans and therefore raises the amount of taxes they owe, which brings new revenue to the federal government. The customs fees extension through 2024 will raise an additional $3.5 billion. The LUST transfer of $1 billion is from a separate trust fund designed to clean up underground oil leaks.

The pay-fors in the House bill have previously received broad bi-partisan support. Nevertheless, Democrats in the House will be under pressure to oppose the patch because it would mean that a long-term bill wouldn’t be worked out until next year (presumably with a Republican controlled Senate). Under the Senate’s patch timeline, a long-term bill could be negotiated during this year’s lame duck session.

Some outside groups, including Heritage Action, have already criticized the House plan for being “irresponsible.” Additionally, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who has called for a gas tax increase in order to permanently stabilize the HTF, did not mince words on his opinion of the House plan, calling it “disgraceful” and “generational theft.”

The House bill could be on the floor as early as next week.


Political bits


Alabama 6th Congressional District: Gary Palmer (R-AL) leads runoff opponent Paul DeMarco (R-AL), 59 percent to 29 percent, according to a Cygnal poll.

California 52nd Congressional District: Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA) raised more than $700,000 in the second quarter and has $1.9 million cash on hand. Carl DeMaio (R-CA) raised $613,000 in the second quarter and has $1.4 million cash on hand.

Michigan 3rd Congressional District: Club for Growth is spending another $180,000 on TV and radio ads opposing Brian Ellis (R-MI), who is challenging Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) in the GOP primary in Michigan's 3rd District, according to reports filed with the FEC Tuesday. The group has spent a total of about $375,000 so far on the race.


Michigan: Former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R-MI) raised $3.35 million, including a $1.2 million personal contribution, in the second quarter and had $5.25 million cash on hand, while Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI) raised $1.96 million in the second quarter, but did not disclose his cash-on-hand totals.            

New Hampshire: A new WMUR-TV/Granite State poll of likely voters, conducted June 19 to July 1, shows Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) leading former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R-NH), 50 to 38 percent. In the previous poll, conducted in early April, Shaheen led 45 to 39 percent.

North Carolina: Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) raised over $3.6 million in the second quarter and had over $8.7 million cash on hand.

Tennessee: The Tea Party Patriots endorsed Joe Carr (R-TN), the primary challenger to Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), this week.

West Virginia: Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) raised more than $1.3 million in the second quarter and had nearly $5 million cash on hand. Secretary of State Natalie Tennant (D-WV) raised $777,000, but did not disclose her cash-on-hand totals.


Georgia: Jason Carter (D-GA) raised $2 million in the second quarter, besting Gov. Nathan Deal (R-GA), who raised $1.2 million. Deal has $2.6 million on hand to Carter's $1.8 million.

A look ahead


Friday, July 11 – The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee's Energy Subcommittee will hold a hearing on Fusion Energy: The World's Most Complex Energy Project at 9:00 a.m. in 2318 Rayburn.

Friday, July 11 – The House Energy and Commerce Committee's Health Subcommittee will hold a hearing on 21st Century Cures: Incorporating the Patient Perspective at 9:00 a.m. in 2322 Rayburn.

Tuesday, July 15 – The House Judiciary Committee's Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet Subcommittee will hold a hearing on Moral Rights, Termination Rights, Resale Royalty, and Copyright Term at 1:00 p.m. in 2141 Rayburn.


Thursday, July 10 – The Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on Review of the President's Emergency Supplemental Request for Unaccompanied Children and Related Matters at 2:30 p.m. in 106 Dirksen. 

Tuesday, July 15 – The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing, during which Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will present The Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress at 10:00 a.m. in 106 Dirksen. 

Washington by the numbers                                                

$3.7 billion –  Emergency funds requested by the Obama administration to deal with a surge of young migrants from Central and South America.

54 percent – Portion of respondents in a poll saying they’ve heard enough from Sarah Palin and would like her to be less outspoken.

They said what?

“Do I look like I’m with a campaign?” – Joe Killoran, a shirtless jogger who accosted Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and was asked by a reporter if he worked for an opposing campaign (Washington Post)

Washington humor                         

"Yesterday Michelle Obama said she wants Americans to elect a woman president 'as soon as possible.' So even she has had enough of President Obama." – Conan O'Brien 


 Steven C. LaTourette, President | 202.559.2600

McDonald Hopkins Government Strategies LLC
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