As lawmakers get ready to cut trillions of dollars from the federal budget, lobbyists are going all-out to defend their clients' cherished tax breaks and subsidies from the congressional axe, Business Week reports. On any given day on Capitol Hill, you might find thousands of farmers, or real estate agents, pleading their cases. "I can’t remember anything close to this," says the head of the lobbying trade group. To give you a flavor of what they're after:
• Ethanol producers want a new tax break to encourage use of vehicles that operate on corn-based fuel
• The Service Employees International Union wants Congress to raise taxes to close the budget gap
• Farmers say agricultural programs have been cut enough (a house bill recently chopped $30 billion in farm spending over a decade) and other industries should bear any additional burden
• The hospital industry opposes further reductions in what it gets from federal health entitlement programs
Some big lobby groups have held back, at least for the time being. The Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers recently sent a letter to congressional leaders, urging them to raise the debt limit without making demands, the idea being that pushing for specifics will only complicate efforts to reach a deal.
But most lobbyists are in full court press mode, and for some, like the American Petroleum Institute, "the lobbying has already paid off." Last week, the Senate blocked a measure that would have cut $21 billion in oil and gas subsidies over a decade.
• 'Lobbyists Mobilize to Preserve Tax Breaks' [Business Week]