Lobbying To ‘Tweak’ Health Reform Bills Heats Up
"In Washington, there are two ways to wage legislative war: fight to kill and fight to tweak," the Washington Post reports. "With a growing sense that Democrats may have the votes to pass health-care reform, many participants are now attempting to shape the components of landmark legislation rather than to defeat it." Lobbyists, corporate executives and lawmakers say the time has come for last-ditch efforts to influence the health bill, with a Senate-wide draft bill expected to go to the budget office for a cost estimate Monday. "We're entering the final stage, and everyone is maneuvering to get the best possible deal," said Kaiser Family Foundation president Drew Altman (Connolly, 10/26).
Lobbyists such as Ken Raske, president and CEO of the Greater New York Hospital Association, have been working towards this moment all year. Raske's group has spent more than $1 million on lobbying Washington in 2009, The Hill reports. A top fundraiser for the Democratic Party, he's "collected donations worth more than $152,000 for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) in September alone, according to the latest FEC report" (Bogardus, 10/25).
Others may not feel they are getting a fair hearing. The Washington Post reports in a separate story: " The chief lobbyist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce alleged Sunday that there is a White House campaign of 'invectives' and 'name-calling' against his organization, and said the business group is eager to ignore the heated rhetoric." President Obama's anti-lobbyist rhetoric part of his campaign platform has led to clashes with Washington groups (Shear, 10/26).