How Lobbyists Are Selling Themselves to the Super Committee

With time running out for the Super Committee to agree on a deficit-reduction plan, Capitol Hill dailies are fat with ad pages meant to influence lawmakers.

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With time running out for the Super Committee to agree on a deficit-reduction plan, Capitol Hill dailies are fat with ad pages meant to influence lawmakers. As National Journal's Fawn Johnson wrote last week [subscription],  "A quick skim through any of the 'inside-Washington' print papers—Roll Call, Politico, The Hill, Congressional Quarterly, and National Journal Daily—shows an unprecedented number of ads aimed directly at lawmakers and staffers." With as much as $3 trillion worth of spending cuts and new taxes on the line, many companies's bottom lines are at stake. Here's a survey of their pitches for favorable treatment from the Super Committee:

Health care You can bet the AARP is on high-alert, given that even Democrats are proposing to slash some $400 billion in Medicare with savings in Social Security as well. An ad in the October 12 edition of Congressional Quarterly reminds legislators, "We are not a line item in a budget. We are America's seniors." They're invited to visit AARP's website to "see how AARP members are fighting to protect their Medicare and Social Security benefits."

Another item the Super Committee is reportedly considering is medical imaging reimbursements for Medicare. Alerting readers, the American College of Radiology wrote in August that "the 12-member super committee undoubtedly will consider changes in Medicare physician reimbursement rates to cut costs ... cuts to imaging will likely be part of a larger package of physician reimbursement reductions." And what do we have here? The Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance pulling out an ad with scary disease talk.

Defense The threat of steep cuts looms large for the defense industry. Some DC insider think it will only be on the hook for $100 billion in cuts. But if the Super Committee doesn't reach a decision, some $600 billion will be automatically cut from defense spending via sequestration. In advertisements, you'll see contractors such as Boeing emphasizing how cheap their sleek war machines are, such as this ad that appeared in National Journal's October 29 issue: "C-17 flying hour costs have been reduced by 26% since 2004. An AIA study estimates PBL savings to be $25-$30 billion":

Lockheed Martin has its own cool flying vehicle to sell, the Armed Aerial Scout helicopter that was pitched in the October 20 issue of Politico:

In another ad, Lockheed Martin takes advantage of hyper-focused rhetoric on jobs, jobs jobs. This National Journal ad for the F-35 Lighting triumphs "Security and Jobs for decades to come":

Spectrum Even obscure issues like freeing up the broadcast spectrum come under the budget-cutting of the Super Committee. As Politico's Kim Hart explained on Monday, "the deficit-reduction panel is eyeing auctions of the nation’s airwaves as a surefire way to raise billions," which is pitting the wireless sector against TV broadcasters. The below ad, which appeared in Politico's October 18 edition is in favor of freeing up spectrum:

Airline taxes and fees Here's another obscure one. As IBM lobbyists noted this week, "Proposals to increase airline taxes and fees ... are under consideration by the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (the Supercommittee).” As the industry group Stop Air Taxes Now warns in an advertisement in The Hill's October 17 edition,"Add Taxes. Lose Jobs." It's that simple!

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.