Thought of the Week
Next week begins SCOA’s Americas Week, and I’ll be appearing on a panel about “Enriching Lives Through Volunteerism” on Thursday; I hope you’ll be able to join. While many of us volunteer in our daily lives, more and more companies, including SCOA, support volunteerism as well as engage in their own Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) endeavors. Last night, at its annual holiday dinner, the Global Business Alliance (GBA), of which SCOA is a member, recognized several of its member companies’ efforts and announced Sony Corporation of America as its 2022 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Award winner. According to the GBA, international companies don’t just employ nearly eight million Americans, they also contribute to strengthening local communities. GBA’s CSR Award is intended to showcase the significant contributions that international companies make to local U.S. communities. Finalists for the 2022 award included the following GBA members:
- Sony Corporation of America: In response to widespread calls for social justice, Sony established a $100 million Global Social Justice Fund. Through the fund, Sony supports efforts that promote social justice and anti-racist initiatives that foster diversity, equity, and inclusion in the U.S. Through the Global Social Justice Fund, Sony contributed to over 400 community partnerships with nonprofit organizations such as the Asian American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (AALDEF), Asian Americans Advancing Justice, The Doe Fund, JustLeadership USA, and the International African American Museum.
- BACARDÍ: In 2021, the company partnered with the NAACP to commit more than $350,000 to support African American representation and ownership among liquor licenses for BACARDÍ accounts. The initiative directly assisted existing and potential retailers and provided entrepreneurship solutions for their establishments. From well over 1,000 applicants, nearly 60 entrepreneurs and business owners across the country participated in the program.
- GSK: To increase access to STEM pathways for underrepresented Philadelphia students, the Philadelphia STEM Equity Collective was established. The project committed to donating $10 million over the next 10 years through collaboration with local organizations. Through the $3.1 million already dispersed, GSK has reached 130,000 students between the high school and college levels.
- Sanofi U.S.: Their “All In for Community Health Workers” is a multi-year collaboration with the National Association of Community Health Workers. The initiative supports the infrastructure necessary to advance community health workers’ self-determination, livelihood, and effectiveness. Nearly 200 Sanofi employees across businesses, roles, and backgrounds have participated in the project.
- Siemens: the company’slegal team launched a pro-bono initiative to provide free legal services to marginalized members of society. Despite pandemic challenges, the team conducted 61 pro-bono projects totaling 189 service hours—nearly $100,000 in value. By the end of 2023, Siemens expects to reach a total contribution value of more than $250,000.
Thought Leadership from our Consultants, Think Tanks, and Trade Associations
Capital Alpha Says New Energy Production has Catching Up To Do. The Biden administration is shifting towards domestic answers to global supply challenges. Although the administration has asked producers for more production, refiners to reduce prices, and used the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to add to global market supply, pleas for OPEC+ to produce more have receded since the conclusion of the midterm elections. There now seems to be a growing recognition in the administration that global energy security requires the U.S. to produce more oil and natural gas—not just for U.S. domestic consumption but also to alleviate disruption in Europe and elsewhere caused by the war in Ukraine. However, impediments to U.S. production growth remain. First, the Biden administration maintains an ambitious de-carbonization agenda. Legislation such as the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) puts a priority on clean energy, although it does include measures to support fossil fuels. Second, energy prices represented a political problem prior to the midterms, but seem to be lessening now that the election is over. Third, U.S. producers have cost, service, and supply constraints, and also seek to return profits to shareholders rather than grow production. Fourth, the industry and the White House are having trouble communicating with each other. Industry is digging in against the administration’s mixed messages, does not view refilling the SPR as a “meaningful” incentive, and sees permitting reform as more important. Going forward, the GOP-led House may add more tension to the situation by seeking an “energy dominance” strategy supported by domestic production, the lifting of export restrictions, and a streamlined federal lands policy. Bottom line: the U.S. seems to be taking purposeful policy steps to support future oil production, including measures that support industry investment, both offshore and strategic, that can be used during times of shortage.
Eurasia Group Sees the Conclusion of the 2022 Midterm Elections as Peachy for Warnock…and Rotten for Trump. Incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA) defeated Republican challenger Herschel Walker by a nearly three-point margin; Warnock’s victory gives Democrats full control over Senate committees, allowing them to conduct greater oversight. Democrats now hold both of Georgia’s Senate seats, although Republicans control other statewide offices. Georgia joins Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, Nevada, and Pennsylvania as the key states to winning 270 Electoral votes in the 2024 election. With this week’s result, the 2022 midterm elections were the first since 1934 where no Senator from the party controlling the White House lost reelection. Former President Trump became a liability for almost every high-profile Republican running with his endorsement; in fact, Trump candidates underperformed establishment GOP candidates by an average of 14 points in such critical states as Georgia, New Hampshire, and Nevada. Amid legal challenges, including his organization being found guilty of 17 counts of tax fraud, and a losing touch in the midterm elections, many in the GOP are distancing themselves from the former president even though he has already announced a 2024 presidential run. While Republicans may favor a populist in the 2024 presidential primary, that populist is looking less likely to be President Trump.
Quorum Quantifies 2022 Trends in State Legislatures—State and Federal Governments Have Become More Intertwined Due to Gridlock and Supreme Court Decisions. Most of the time, the federal government dominates public policy news. And while your state’s Senators or Representatives may be household names, the same cannot be said about state legislators. In 2022, however, more than in most years, the story of the federal legislature and the states became intimately intertwined. It began with the states redrawing district lines for Congress in the once-a-decade redistricting process. Then, a lack of bipartisanship in Congress and a Supreme Court with a 6-3 conservative majority led to a number of issues—abortion, guns, vaccines, and voting among them—being delegated to the states for consideration. With gridlock expected to continue at the federal level in the 118th Congress, legislative action at the state level may be even more active in 2023 than it was in 2022 when a total of 135,191 bills were considered. The Washington office has tools to monitor legislative activity at the state level through its membership with Quorum; do not hesitate to contact our office if you need assistance tracking public policy in the states.
Discussed at last night’s Global Business Alliance (GBA) annual dinner was speculation about the next House Speaker and the debt-ceiling. The consensus was that despite dissatisfaction among conservatives with Rep. McCarthy’s (D-CA) leadership, it is expected that he will eventually become the next Speaker of the House, primarily due to a lack of clear alternatives. In terms of the debt limit, the most likely scenario is that Congress will increase the borrowing limit at the last minute when the Treasury Department runs out of extraordinary measures, expected sometime in 2023’s third quarter.
In Other Words
“I don’t fear not raising the debt ceiling, because if we didn’t raise the debt ceiling, all that would mean is we’d have to cut discretionary spending so we stop spending more than we’re taking in. That’s a panic here in Washington because we’re so beholden to spending,” Representative Good (R-VA), an anti-McCarthy Republican, on the prospect of raising the debt limit.
“Can you imagine if he gets in? It would be the first time in history that a father and son were running against each other for President of the United States,” outgoing Arkansas Gov. Hutchinson (R) at the Gridiron Club’s winter dinner on the prospect of Florida Gov. DeSantis running against former president Trump in the 2024 Republican presidential primary
Did You Know
Washington, D.C., legend has it that the term ‘lobbyist’ originated at the Willard Hotel when Ulysses S. Grant was in office (1869-1877). President Grant would frequent the Willard to enjoy brandy and a cigar, and while there would be hounded by petitioners asking for legislative favors or jobs. It is said that President Grant coined the term by referring to the petitioners as “those damn lobbyists.” Although it has been confirmed that President Grant visited the Willard Hotel and enjoyed brandy and cigars, some claim he did not coin the term ‘lobbyist.’ In fact, the verb ‘to lobby’ first appeared in print in the U.S. in the 1830’s, at least thirty years before Grant came to Washington. The term is thought to have originated in British Parliament, in reference to the lobbies outside chambers where wheeling and dealing took place.
Graph of the Week
In recent years, a great share of major legislation has passed during lame duck sessions of Congress. Despite the impressive legislative record of Congress this year, this session appears to be no different as Congress tries to close the year with an omnibus spending bill and the National Defense Authorization Act.