Super-lobbying at super committee

Lights are on at the U.S. Capitol as the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C.

Steve Chiotakis: The Congressional super committee that's gonna try and tackle deficit reduction meets today
for the first time.

The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction is going to look for ways to knock off $1.5 trillion from the deficit. Needless to say, lobbyists are circling like buzzards over a pumpkin patch.

From Washington, here's Marketplace's David Gura.


David Gura: On the super committee, there are 12 heavy hitters: the Senate minority whip; the head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Bill Allison: And all of them have long-term relationships with donors and lobbyists in Washington.

That's Bill Allison. He's with the Sunlight Foundation, a lobbying watchdog. Dozens of lobbyists used to work for the super committee's members, and they're happy to visit their old bosses.

Lobbyist Rich Gold is with Holland & Knight. He says every special interest has something at stake.

Rich Gold: You're really talking about, soup to nuts, the entirety of what people consider to be the government.

David Thomas is a lobbyist with Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti. He says nobody can sit this one out.

David Thomas: If you care about some of these issues, you definitely need to be up on the Hill, working it.

If the super committee can't reach a consensus, or if Congress doesn't pass what the super committee recommends, there will be across-the-board cuts to security and domestic spending.

And Kevin O'Neill, a lobbyist at Patton Boggs, says some special interests may see that as the best possible outcome.

Kevin O'Neill: I think more interest groups will realize, hey, we'd be better off with this across-the-board approach than we are with the bill that's coming out of the super committee.

And that would create another opportunity for lobbyists, who would shift their attention from the super committee back to the whole Congress.

In Washington, I'm David Gura for Marketplace.

About the author

David Gura is a reporter for Marketplace, based in the Washington, D.C. bureau.

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