Commerce and national security policy, White House and Executive Branch policy process, federal legislative process, congressional hearing preparation and witness training
Commerce, International Trade, Defense, Aerospace
White House, U.S. Senate, Aerospace Industries Association
Joseph Lai is a Vice President at BGR Government Affairs where he focuses on commerce, international trade, and defense issues for clients.
Prior to joining BGR, Joe served as Special Assistant to President Trump for Legislative Affairs. Starting with the White House team in January 2017, Joe led President Trump’s outreach to the U.S. Senate on economic issues including international trade.
A highlight of Joe’s time at the White House was working with the Senate Republican leadership to develop the legislative strategy to ensure Senate passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. In recent months, Joe focused on building Senate support for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) as well as working with the Senate on tariff and trade policy. During his three years at the White House, Joe managed the Senate confirmation process for senior members of the President’s economic team, the Supreme Court, the Federal Reserve, key independent regulatory agencies, and Cabinet members, including the current Secretary of Defense.
Prior to joining the White House, Joe served in the Senate for over a decade, most recently as legislative director and military legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), current chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. While working for Senator Wicker, who is also a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Joe worked closely with the Pentagon and the military services, including the Air Force, Army and Navy. Joe helped lay the groundwork for Senator Wicker’s successful efforts to expand the number of amphibious warships for the Navy and Marine Corps.
Joe also served as a policy advisor to U.S. Senators George Voinovich (R-OH) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE). In addition to his work on Capitol Hill, Joe led international trade and defense policy coordination for the Aerospace Industries Association. A native of Burlingame, CA, Joe received his Master of Arts from Yale University and his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California at Berkeley. He is fluent in Cantonese Chinese.