Now that the debt deal has been signed, the lobbyists are stepping up. The healthcare and defense lobbies, two of Washington’s most powerful, are gearing up to protect themselves from billions in cuts, The Washington Post reported
Of particular concern are the $1.2 trillion in mandatory cuts that will be triggered if Congress can’t agree on a deficit reduction plan by December. Most of those cuts will fall on defense contractors and Medicare providers, the Post reported.
The industries plan to target the bipartisan super committee to be named this month with the message that cuts will hurt the nation and damage job growth.
“It will be a full-court press to work with the committee to make our views known,” Richard Pollack, executive vice president of the American Hospital Association, told the Post. “Our hospitals are in every congressional district in the country. Our patients are Republicans and Democrats. We are very concerned about where this is going to go.”
American Hospital Association members could lose an estimated $50 billion a year in Medicare payments under the trigger scenario. The deficit deal includes $350 billion in cuts for the Pentagon and defense, but an additional $600 billion could be added by the trigger, the Post reported.
“It’s going to be pain versus pain for a lot of people,” said Tony Podesta of the Podesta Group, whose clients include major defense contractors and health-care firms.
“There’s going to be a focus on the 12 and a focus on the leadership and a focus on the administration. Decisions will get made by a smaller number of people than you learned about in high school,” Podesta told the Post.
The healthcare industry spent nearly $300 million on lobbying in the first half of 2011, and Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and other major contractors and trade groups have spent $70 million, the Post reported.
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