BGR Thanks Summer ’22 Clerk Class

Thank you to our team of clerks for their hard work this summer! Pictured with BGR Founding Partner Governor Haley Barbour are:

First Row (Left to Right):

  • Claire Chou, Georgetown University
  • Mary Beth Muslow, Tulane University
  • Jasmine Caruthers, University of South Carolina School of Law

Back Row (Left to Right):

  • Roee Tenne, George Washington University
  • Anna Eager, University of Wisconsin Law School
  • Christian Dopico, George Washington University
  • Christy Charbonnet, College of Charleston
  • Tristan Whitaker, American University
  • Olivia Campbell, University of Maryland
  • Jackson Buttler, Wake Forest University

Not Pictured: Max Summer, George Washington University; Skylar Rubin, Elon University

USICA –COMPETES ACT PROCESS – 5 Things to Watch

 

June 16, 2022

Overview

The United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) and America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (America COMPETES) Act Conferees continue to negotiate differences between the House and Senate versions of their respective bills. In May, lawmakers outlined the conference schedule for May and June, with plans to report the final version out of conference by June 20 – though that timeline will not be met, as the conference has already missed its deadline of May 25 for Professional Staff and Counsel to “close out” all legislative items. Officials close to the conference process have indicated that the bill may not be ready until late August. There are still key differences between the House-passed America COMPETES Act and the Senate-passed USICA including how to prioritize research funding. USICA would allocate most of its funding to the National Science Foundation (NSF) while the America COMPETES Act would allocate its funding to the Department of Energy. Other key differences include provisions providing pathways for immigration, provisions on climate spending, and provisions on trade and tariffs. Here are five key questions about the process moving forward.

1 – What is the likelihood of passage for a broad agreement?  The conference committee has been moving relatively slowly given the predicted timeline. The longer the conference process takes, the louder the calls will grow to separate out the more popular and business-friendly provisions into a stand-alone bill. This week, Congressional leaders, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have been moving to narrow the scope of the package, in an effort to produce a final product before the August recess. This step is largely driven by the concern that the longer negotiations drag out, the increased likelihood that nothing will get done this Congress. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said that he sees the bill moving before August, as Democrats continue resolving differences. Pelosi and Schumer will meet this weekend in hopes of resolving key differences. Lastly, the longer the conference drags on, the less likely Republicans are to compromise and provide President Biden and Congressional Democrats a legislative victory.

2 – If a bill passes, will it look more like the Senate or House version?  After the Senate took the procedural steps to move the conference process forward, more than 100 conferees were named including 80 conferees from the House. Many of the House members will push for their priorities, however, it is important to be mindful that 18 Republican Senators crossed the aisle to support this package, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is unlikely to support the final package. This means Senate Democrats must secure at least 11 GOP votes to pass the final version. There are some stark differences that must be resolved before a final product can be voted on. Both bills include similar statements of purpose for the program and focus on technology development, job creation, and expanding U.S. innovation capacity, with the House bill emphasizing inclusive innovation. But there are differences in technology hub priorities, funding for research, and some eligibility and oversight requirements.

3 – If no agreement occurs, will CHIPS Act move separately? One of the most sought-after provisions in this process is the CHIPS Act, which aims to increase American competitiveness by subsidizing new investment in domestic semiconductor manufacturing capacity. The CHIPS Act does this by providing $52 billion in federal funding to support investment in semiconductor manufacturing capacity. The main funding mechanism is tax credits for companies who meet certain criteria, or direct spending on R&D by some government agencies. Given the shortage of semiconductor chips over the past few years impacting consumer sales on everything from cars to phones to washing machines, and concerns over China’s technological ambitions, there is bipartisan and bicameral resolve to increase the supply of American-made semiconductors. If the CHIPS Act language is stripped out and moves on its own, roughly $50 billion would be allocated for the Commerce Department to carry out the semiconductor incentive program. This has become a key priority for many, including the Biden administration, with Commerce Secretary Raimondo being an especially vocal proponent for the semiconductor incentives. However, if CHIPS were to move separately, many members fear they would lose leverage for their other priorities in the broader package. Therefore, it may be highly unlikely that decoupling the package becomes a viable option.

4 – What happens to the riders? Following the House passage of the China Competition bill, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) released a statement that addressed his concerns about riders, or extraneous policy provisions. In his statement, McConnell stated that “From Green New Deal follies to Big Labor handouts to marijuana banking, the House Democrats’ competing bill drags these efforts leftward and backward. The Senate must now restore a product that reflects what passed this chamber with bipartisan support.” McConnell’s objections highlight the leverage Senate Republicans currently have, knowing that whatever comes out of conference will need their support again. With Senate Democrats constrained by the need to keep at least 11 GOP votes, assuming no more defections, controversial riders that do not have full support within the Senate Democratic caucus are unlikely to gain momentum.

5 – What China components are still in play?  Two of the more significant China-related provisions are the outbound investments screening language and the modifications to the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act (HFCAA). An updated outbound investment language was recently proposed by Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA) and John Cornyn (R-TX), and Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), Michael McCaul (R-TX), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Victoria Spartz (R-IN) as a mechanism that would follow a similar model at the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), focused on regulating outbound investments in ‘critical capabilities’ made by U.S. individuals or entities to foreign entities in specific countries of concern, like China. The White House has also stated its support for an outbound investment screening mechanism, so it would be unsurprising to see this priority return if the conference process does lead nowhere. The HFCAA modifications, offered by Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) and Reps. Brad Sherman (D-CA), Andy Barr (R-KY) and Spartz, would shorten the potential delisting timeline from three to two years for U.S. listed Chinese companies in violation of U.S. audit regulations.

 

OP ED: How the President Should Fight Inflation & Get the Economy Back on Track

By Sean Duffy
June 10, 2022

The price of food, gas, and goods continue to rise along with summer temperatures. With the annual inflation rate above 8 percent, the highest since the early 1980s, the heat is also increasing on President Biden and congressional Democrats to do something to fix the problem. Americans are right to wonder: What can – or will – the president do about it?

The president campaigned on providing economic relief to working families. The opposite has happened. Runaway inflation is making Americans poorer and sapping the average family of its ability to buy even the basics they need to survive.

READ FULL ARTICLE

Keiffer J. Mitchell, Jr. Joins BGR Group

Former Democratic State Legislator, Senior Aide to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan Joining the firm’s bipartisan State & Local Advocacy Practice

June 2, 2022 – BGR Group, Washington, D.C.’s premier bipartisan lobbying and public relations firm, today announced that Keiffer J. Mitchell, Jr., a senior aide to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and former Maryland State Delegate, will join the firm’s bipartisan government affairs State and Local Advocacy Practice as a Vice President starting June 15.

During his eight years of service under Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Mitchell served as Acting Chief of Staff, Chief Legislative Officer and Senior Counsel, and Senior Advisor. He worked with Governor Hogan and cabinet agencies to prioritize policy issues as well as to advance budgets and the legislative priorities before the Maryland General Assembly. He also acted as the Governor’s chief negotiator with the General Assembly leadership and drive consensus on critical issues including allocating American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. Additionally, Mitchell was involved in advancing Governor Hogan’s signature issues including the `Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-Tech) Program, cybersecurity, broadband deployment and infrastructure policies.
From 2011 to 2015, Mitchell served as an elected member of the Maryland House of Delegates where he served on the Judiciary Committee, the Economic Matters Committee, and the Baltimore Regional Revitalization Task Force. He previously served on the Baltimore City Council from 1995 to 2007.

“Keiffer has been with me every step of the way since my first day in office in 2015, and he has played an integral role in all of the accomplishments we have made and the crises we have weathered,” Governor Hogan said. “An expert in both policy and politics, he is widely respected across the political spectrum for his ability to bring people together to solve problems and get things done. Keiffer will be greatly missed in the State House, but I want to wish my good friend and his family well as they embark on this next chapter.”
Mitchell commented, “I am thrilled to join BGR Group and help their clients navigate complex budget and policy issues facing states across the country. I am looking forward to bringing my experience as a Democratic legislator and service for a Republican governor to an already excellent bipartisan team.”

Congressman Kweisi Mfume (D-MD-7), a former President and CEO of NAACP, praised Mitchell’s record of service. “Keiffer Mitchell has served in local and state governments with distinction. His ascent and passion for others are no surprise to me as he comes from a storied family committed to public service, civil rights, excellence, and equal justice.” Congressman Mfume continued, “His grandfather, Clarence Mitchell, Jr., was a key architect of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 as well as a Presidential Medal of Freedom awardee. His grandmother, Juanita Jackson Mitchell, was a pioneering civil rights attorney who helped desegregate the Baltimore City Public Schools Systems and its Recreation and Parks System. I respectfully succeeded his uncle Parren J. Mitchell, the first African American elected to Congress from Maryland, in the U.S. House of Representatives. While Keiffer has a rich and storied pedigree, it’s his own professionalism, work ethic and dedication to principle that garners him the respect of leaders on both sides of the aisle.”

BGR’s Chairman and CEO Bob Wood said, “BGR stands out among Washington, D.C.-based firms with its robust bipartisan state and local government relations offering. Keiffer’s experience on both sides of the aisle will immediately bolster BGR’s ability to help clients achieve results.”

Currently, Mitchell serves on the Board of Directors at the University of Maryland Medical System and the Maryland Center for History & Culture. His past board service includes Habitat for Humanity, Midtown Academy Charter School and Maryland Food Bank. As a city councilman, he was Chairman of the Board for the Baltimore City Human Services Commission. He earned his JD at the University of the District of Columbia David Clark School of Law and his BA in Political Science from Emory University.
Loren Monroe, head of BGR’s State and Local Advocacy Practice, commented, “Whether a red or blue state, county or city, decision-makers confront similar issues such as public health, the economy, education, technology modernization and, increasingly, social and cultural issues, Keiffer understands how to achieve results by finding consensus between both sides of the political aisle.”
Former Democratic State Senator and Chairman of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee Bobby Zirkin (D-Baltimore County) offered, “Keiffer and I were in the Young Democrats together during our college days. Our paths would cross again when we both served in the Maryland State Legislature where I was proud to work with him on important pieces of legislation. In this hyper-partisan political environment we live in, Keiffer is a throwback to a bygone era where relationships – no matter party affiliation – are essential to getting things done. Keiffer’s ability to maintain relationships and trust on both sides of the aisle was invaluable to the Governor and to many of us in the Maryland Legislature. I am honored to call Keiffer Mitchell a colleague and a trusted friend.”

Gov. Barbour Inducted into the AAPC Hall of Fame

BGR Founding Partner Haley Barbour was recently honored by the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) — America’s largest and only bipartisan network of political professionals — as an inductee into the AAPC Hall of Fame. Inducted along with Governor Barbour were Alexander Gage and Mandy Grunwald. AAPC annually selects accomplished industry professionals for induction into its Hall of Fame. This is the highest honor that working members of the profession can bestow upon a colleague. The award recognizes honorees’ influence on other political consultants and public affairs professionals, the length and seriousness of their careers and their commitment to ethical business practices.

Watch the tribute to Governor Barbour here:

BGR Founding Partner Haley Barbour Joins Former President Clinton to Honor Legacy of Former Mississippi Governor Winter

May 3, 2022

BGR Founding Partner and former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour joined former President Bill Clinton and former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Reuben Anderson at the Two Mississippi Museums – the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum – in a bipartisan tribute to former Mississippi Governor William Winter and former Mississippi First Lady Elise Winter. Governor Winter, who died in 2020, was remembered as an advocate for racial reconciliation and education reform, and Mrs. Winter, who died less than a year after her husband, as an avid volunteer who worked tirelessly to end homelessness.

Among the Winters’ greatest legacies were their contributions in realizing the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, the state bill for which was signed into law in 2011 by Governor Barbour; Governor Winter and Justice Anderson had been instrumental in lobbying the Mississippi legislature to pass the bill. Ground was broken in 2013, and the museum finally opened in December 2017. In addition to serving as Governor of Mississippi, William Winter had served at President Clinton’s National Advisory Board on Race. Ceremony attendees included fellow Mississippians Congressman Bennie Thompson, former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy, Congressman Michael Guest, former Governor Phil Bryant, and Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba.

 

BGR Expands Texas, Multistate & Attorney General Practice with hiring of Halie Daniels

Daniels served as a Texas Assistant Attorney General prior to joining BGR Group

(WASHINGTON, D.C., April 11, 2022) – BGR Group, Washington, D.C.’s premier bipartisan lobbying and communications firm, announced today that Halie Daniels is joining BGR’s Texas office as a Senior Associate. Halie has worked extensively with state agencies in the Lone Star state as well as with attorneys general offices across the country. As an Assistant Attorney General, Halie represented the State of Texas, including the Governor, Attorney General, and various State agencies.

“Halie joins BGR at a time of significant growth in our State Practice,” remarked BGR President Erskine Wells. “All of our clients will benefit from her steady counsel and policy expertise. We are thrilled to have her join the team.”

Based in BGR’s Austin, TX, office, Halie will serve as a key member of the firm’s bipartisan State Advocacy and Appropriations Practice. In this role, she will help BGR’s clients advocate before elected officials and state agencies in Texas as well as bolster the firm’s work before attorneys general across the country.

“It’s an honor to join the BGR team,” Daniels said. “BGR has an excellent reputation as a hard-working, bipartisan, results oriented firm. I look forward to working with BGR clients in Texas and across the country to advance their policy objectives.”

Speaking about the addition to the BGR Austin office, BGR Texas Director Jerry Strickland said, “As the 9th largest economy in the world, Texas is rich with companies who often need assistance engaging with the federal government and state leaders across the country. Halie’s experience will bolster BGR’s ability to help businesses navigate regulatory challenges and pursue sound policy solutions. She will be a valued member of our team.”

“Governors and attorneys general are on the frontlines of tackling the complex energy, health care and technology policy challenges facing the country,” said Loren Monroe, Head of BGR’s State Advocacy and Appropriations Practice. “Joining forces with Jerry Strickland, who served under Greg Abbott when he was Governor as well as Attorney General, Halie’s experience will further strengthen our strong offering in Texas and before the nation’s attorneys general.”

Halie brings nearly a decade of state experience to BGR’s team having served in the General Litigation Division as well as a key litigator in a Civil Medicaid Fraud for the Texas Attorney General. She has previously served in private practice as well as in the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. She earned her Juris Doctor from the Florida Coastal School of Law in May 2015.

BGR Releases Quarterly Outlook for April 2022

Read More

In the Quarterly Outlook for April 2022, the BGR team is looking ahead to the political and policy agenda for the late spring and summer. The Outlook examines how the Ukraine/Russia conflict will continue to impact the Congressional agenda, what has been happening in the states, the prospects for a USICA/COMPETES compromise, and where things stand on COVID actions, among other topics.

View Full Report

BGR Welcomes David J. Urban as Managing Director

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 6, 2022) – BGR Group, Washington, D.C.’s premier bipartisan lobbying and public relations firm, today announced that David J. Urban will be joining the firm as Managing Director. David has more than three decades of experience in public policy, business, the law, military and public service sectors. He will provide expertise and counsel to BGR clients across a broad range of public policy areas.

“David Urban will be a tremendous asset to all of BGR’s clients,” Founding Partner Haley Barbour said. “His broad experience in both the public and private sectors is unparalleled. His insights into communications, policy, law, and politics make him uniquely suited to the BGR team. We are thrilled to have him on board.”

“I am honored to join BGR,” Urban said. “After more than three decades of working in and out of Washington, I know what it takes to build a successful team. BGR represents the best of the best. I am ready to dive in and help BGR’s clients navigate an increasingly volatile and complicated political and policy environment.”

“When people think of Pennsylvania, they think of David Urban,” Congressman GT Thompson (R-PA-15), Dean of the Pennsylvania Republican congressional delegation, said.  “Arlen Specter, Rick Santorum, Pat Toomey, and scores of others have turned to David for his insight and assistance. I have appreciated the opportunity to rely on David’s Pennsylvania knowledge and public policy experience as well.”

Most recently, David served as Executive Vice President of North American Corporate Affairs for ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok. In this senior role, he worked alongside the company’s top leadership, helping them navigate public policy and communications challenges, as well as advising on Environmental, Social, and Governance and Corporate Social Responsibility issues.

As President of the American Continental Group (ACG), a premier bipartisan government affairs and strategy consulting firm, he provided high stakes counsel to key clients including the CEO of Zoom during the early tumultuous days of the COVID-19 pandemic and the CEO of 7-Eleven to help the company adapt to a rapidly changing regulatory environment. He also has experience in nonprofit space working with groups ranging from the Human Rights Campaign to the US Anti-Doping Agency.

Before joining ACG, David served as Chief of Staff to former U.S. Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania for five years. Senator Specter was an influential member of the Senate Judiciary and Appropriations Committees. In this role, David was the Senator’s senior advisor on all legislative, political, media and administrative matters in Pennsylvania and Washington.

David was appointed by former President Donald Trump to serve as the 11th Chairman of the American Battle Monuments Commission, playing a leadership role in the commemorations of the 100th Anniversary of the World War I Armistice, the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day landings at Normandy and the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge. He was also appointed by the President to the Board of Visitors (Trustees) for the United States Military Academy at West Point.

A graduate of West Point, David served as an artillery officer in the 101st Airborne Division where he was awarded the Bronze Star for his service during Operation Desert Storm. He earned a law degree from Temple University and a Master’s in Government Administration from the University of Pennsylvania. He completed an ESG certification program through the Said School of Business at Oxford University and the Stratfor certification program in geopolitical analysis at the Florida Atlantic University. He served as an adjunct professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz School of Government. An active member of the Pennsylvania Bar, David is admitted to practice before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and the Supreme Court of the United States.

Analyzing the Impact of a Ukraine No-Fly Zone

PBS Newshour

There have been growing calls in recent days for the United States and NATO to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine. Ukrainian President Zelensky reiterated the plea on Monday, but what is a no-fly zone and how would it work? For that we turn to two former U.S. ambassadors to NATO. Retired Army Lt. General Doug Lute and Kurt Volker join Judy Woodruff to discuss.

WATCH