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BEHIND THE SCENES — WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW — After years of repealing Obamacare without a replacement, Republicans are starting the week bullish on the prospects of unveiling their health care bill this week. A senior GOP aide explains the state of play: “There was a large staff meeting at the White House Friday led by OMB Director [Mick] Mulvaney to identify and resolve the few outstanding issues. The health care committees in Congress worked over the weekend with the White House to tie up loose ends and incorporate technical guidance from the administration. Saturday there was also a call with the Speaker, [Energy and Commerce] Chairman [Greg] Walden, Director Mulvaney, [HHS] Secretary [Tom] Price, [Domestic Policy Council director] Andrew Bremberg, and others, and House and Senate staff worked throughout the day to close out open issues. We are in a very good place right now, and while drafting continues, we anticipate the release of final bill text early this week.”
THE COORDINATION between the White House, agencies and Capitol Hill is in stark contrast to how President Donald Trump handled his initial travel ban. Trump’s top aides now recognize that getting buy-in from the relevant Cabinet secretaries and top GOP lawmakers is how to do business in Washington.
BUT, BUT, BUT — Although Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has signaled that the Senate will take up the House bill and pass it before the next congressional recess, getting consensus among Senate Republicans will be a heavy lift and could be more complicated. Outside groups are just beginning to ramp up their efforts to oppose parts of the legislation.
— “Conservative Groups Jeopardize GOP Plan to Repeal Affordable Care Act,” by WSJ’s Michelle Hackman: “Conservative groups are raising alarms over central provisions of the House GOP’s emerging plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, pushing lawmakers to buck House Speaker Paul Ryan and oppose the Republican blueprint. The groups—including Heritage Action, the Club for Growth and Freedom Partners, an organization funded by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch—are troubled by the notion of refundable tax credits to help consumers pay for health insurance, a central tenet of Mr. Ryan’s plan that President Donald Trump appeared to endorse in his address to Congress last week. They also are deeply opposed to a commitment to temporarily maintain an expanded form of Medicaid, as numerous GOP governors are demanding.” http://on.wsj.com/2mVUK18
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SIREN — NYT A1, “Comey Asks Justice Dept. to Reject Trump’s Wiretapping Claim,” by Mike Schmidt and Mike Shear: “The F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, asked the Justice Department this weekend to publicly reject President Trump’s assertion that President Barack Obama ordered the tapping of Mr. Trump’s phones, senior American officials said on Sunday. Mr. Comey has argued that the highly charged claim is false and must be corrected, they said, but the department has not released any such statement. Mr. Comey, who made the request on Saturday after Mr. Trump leveled his allegation on Twitter, has been working to get the Justice Department to knock down the claim because it falsely insinuates that the F.B.I. broke the law, the officials said. … Mr. Comey’s request is a remarkable rebuke of a sitting president, putting the nation’s top law enforcement official in the position of questioning Mr. Trump’s truthfulness. The confrontation between the two is the most serious consequence of Mr. Trump’s weekend Twitter outburst, and it underscores the dangers of what the president and his aides have unleashed by accusing the former president of a conspiracy to undermine Mr. Trump’s young administration.” http://nyti.ms/2m9GbXR
CONNECTING THE DOTS — NYT A1, “A Conspiracy Theory’s Journey From Talk Radio to Trump’s Twitter,” by Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman: “Previous presidents usually measured their words to avoid a media feeding frenzy, but Mr. Trump showed again over the weekend that he feeds off the frenzy. Uninhibited by the traditional protocols of his office, he makes the most incendiary assertions based on shreds of suspicion. He does so without consulting some of his most senior aides, or even agencies of his own government that might have contrary information. After setting off a public firestorm with no proof, he then calls for an investigation to find the missing evidence. To his adversaries, Mr. Trump’s bomb-throwing seems like a calculated strategy to distract from another story he wants to avoid.” http://nyti.ms/2mKcAqO
–“Inside Trump’s fury: The president rages at leaks, setbacks and accusations,” by WaPo’s Philip Rucker, Robert Costa and Ashley Parker: “Trump was mad — steaming, raging mad. … When Trump ran into Christopher Ruddy on the golf course and later at dinner Saturday, he vented to his friend. ‘This will be investigated,’ Ruddy recalled Trump telling him. ‘It will all come out. I will be proven right.’ ‘He was pissed,’ said Ruddy … ‘I haven’t seen him this angry.’ … [Trump] has been feeling besieged, believing that his presidency is being tormented in ways known and unknown by a group of Obama-aligned critics, federal bureaucrats and intelligence figures — not to mention the media … That angst over what many in the White House call the ‘deep state’ is fermenting daily, fueled by rumors and tidbits picked up by Trump allies within the intelligence community and by unconfirmed allegations that have been made by right-wing commentators.
“As reporters began to hear about the Oval Office meeting [on Friday], Priebus interrupted his Friday afternoon schedule to dedicate more than an hour to calling reporters off the record to deny that the outburst had actually happened, according to a senior White House official. ‘Every time there’s a palace intrigue story or negative story about Reince, the whole West Wing shuts down,’ the official said. Ultimately, Priebus was unable to kill the story. He simply delayed the bad news, as reports of Trump dressing down his staff were published by numerous outlets Saturday.” http://wapo.st/2mcY1Lb
****** A message from the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs: Employers, unions, and others, providing benefits to 266 million Americans, partner with Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) to help meet the health care needs of their workers and beneficiaries. By providing patient-centric clinical programs and negotiating lower drug costs, these partnerships reduce costs and improve outcomes. Learn more: www.affordableprescriptiondrugs.org ******
PALACE INTRIGUE — “Knives are out for Reince: Trump’s chief of staff is becoming a singular target of criticism as persistent controversies plague the presidency,” by Alex Isenstadt and Josh Dawsey: “In interviews, over a dozen Trump aides, allies, and others close to the White House said that Priebus, the 44-year-old chief of staff, was becoming a singular target of criticism within the White House. They described a micro-manager who sprints from one West Wing meeting to another, inserting himself into conversations big and small and leaving many staffers feeling as if he’s trying to block their access to Trump. They vented about his determination to fill the administration with his political allies. And they expressed alarm at what they say are directionless morning staff meetings Priebus oversees that could otherwise be used to rigorously set the day’s agenda and counterbalance the president’s own unpredictability. … ‘It’s sheer incompetence,’ said another White House official. ‘There’s a lack of management, and a lack of strategy.’
“The White House vigorously disputed the notion that Priebus is losing the confidence of senior West Wing staff. Senior officials say the president respects the chief of staff for his deep relationships on Capitol Hill, and that no staff shakeup is expected in the immediate future. … [Some staffers] complain about Priebus’s West Wing management, which they argue has become suffocating. They point to his habit of sprinting into meetings — ‘He literally runs,’ said one senior administration official — which has led top aides to believe that he is trying to edge his way into their conversations or monitor their discussions with the president.” http://politi.co/2mrBPgD
THE LATEST ON THE BAN — “Trump expected to sign new travel ban order,” by AP’s Julie Pace and Jill Colvin: “A revised executive order temporarily barring the entry of people from certain Muslim-majority countries and halting the nation’s refugee program is set to go to President Donald Trump soon. A White House official says plans to roll out the order are on track for Monday. … Trump’s original orders temporarily blocked citizens of Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Syria and Libya from coming to the United States and put on hold the U.S. refugee program. The revised order is expected to remove Iraq from the list of countries whose citizens face a 90-day U.S. travel ban. That follows pressure from the Pentagon and State Department, which had urged the White House to reconsider, given Iraq’s key role in fighting the Islamic State group.” http://apne.ws/2lvMub1
MORE RUSSIA HACKS — “Russian Hackers Said to Seek Hush Money From Liberal U.S. Groups,” by Bloomberg’s Michael Riley: “Russian hackers are targeting U.S. progressive groups in a new wave of attacks, scouring the organizations’ emails for embarrassing details and attempting to extract hush money, according to two people familiar with probes being conducted by the FBI and private security firms. At least a dozen groups have faced extortion attempts since the U.S. presidential election, said the people, who provided broad outlines of the campaign. The ransom demands are accompanied by samples of sensitive data in the hackers’ possession.
“In one case, a non-profit group and a prominent liberal donor discussed how to use grant money to cover some costs for anti-Trump protesters. The identities were not disclosed, and it’s unclear if the protesters were paid. At least some groups have paid the ransoms even though there is little guarantee the documents won’t be made public anyway. Demands have ranged from about $30,000 to $150,000, payable in untraceable bitcoins, according to one of the people familiar with the probe.” http://bloom.bg/2lvAkik
SCOOP — “Liberals to Senate Democrats: Step up the Gorsuch fight,” by Elana Schor: “Liberal advocacy groups are issuing a sharp rebuke to Senate Democrats, who they say have failed to sufficiently fight President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick. In a letter to be delivered Monday and obtained by POLITICO, 11 progressive groups warn that the 48-member minority ‘must get out in front of this nomination process and refuse to be bullied by President Trump as he stampedes on the rights of Americans.’” http://politi.co/2lR3iW3 … The letter http://politi.co/2lvKeAA
— “Obama adds former W.H. staffer [Yohannes] Abraham as foundation adviser,” by Isaac Dovere: “He’s coming on for what’s expected to be a six-month stint as the top deputy to foundation chief executive officer David Simas, Obama’s former White House political director. … Abraham will help run day-to-day operations, focusing on building the structure and then recruiting and managing the staff. … Abraham was chief of staff to top Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett … [and] also served as a senior adviser to the National Economic Council.” http://politi.co/2lvx8mV
HAPPENING TODAY — THE PRESIDENT is having lunch with VP Mike Pence, and meeting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. He also has a meeting with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, the National Economic Council and VA Secretary David Shulkin. He’ll have dinner tonight with OMB Director Mick Mulvaney and HHS Secretary Tom Price.
THE JUICE …
— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK — SENATE MINORITY LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER is consolidating power, bringing in J.B. Poersch to run the Senate Majority PAC as its full-time president. Poersch, who has spent the last six years at SKDKnickerbocker, previously served as an adviser and strategist for the group. Poersch and Schumer know each other well — Poersch served as executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee under then-DSCC Chairman Schumer, helping Democrats take the Senate in 2006 and notch a 60-vote supermajority in 2008. SMP founders Susan McCue and Rebecca Lamb will stay on as outside advisers to the group.
— COMING ATTRACTIONS — NEW POWER LIST: We are launching our second Playbook Power List. This time, we’re looking for Washington’s “Up and Comers” — politicos who are making a name for themselves as the next generation of D.C. players. Please email us at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com with nominations. We’ll publish the list the week of April 24.
— THE PLAYBOOK POOL: POLITICO Playbook is gearing up for college tournament time with our very own bracket challenge. Our Playbook outposts across the country (D.C., N.Y., N.J., Massachusetts, Florida, Illinois, California) are co-hosting the PLAYBOOK POOL – a bracket challenge where you can face-off against your friends, top Playbookers, and political insiders. Track who’s up and down after each round in Playbook as you compete to win prizes including Amazon Echoes and Dots (where you can listen to Playbook in 90 seconds), BEATS headphones, Snapchat Spectacles and more. You’ll be able to create your bracket starting March 12 when the brackets are released on Selection Sunday eve. More details to come.
YOU’RE INVITED! … SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL will sit down with us for a live Playbook Interview Thursday at The Washington Court Hotel (525 New Jersey Ave NW). There will be no shortage of things to discuss with the Kentucky Republican as GOP lawmakers look to make good on their promises to repeal and replace Obamacare and take up tax reform, among a slew of other massive legislative initiatives on the docket. Doors open at 8 a.m. RSVP http://bit.ly/2l5qrrt
— ALSO! … We’re going to SXSW! Come join us for our inaugural AUSTIN, TEXAS, event, Monday, March 13 at the WeDC House (340 E 2nd Street). Doors will open at 11 a.m. RSVP http://bit.ly/2mUXXNG
TRUMP’S WASHINGTON — NYT A1, “Leashes Come Off Wall Street, Gun Sellers, Polluters and More,” by Eric Lipton and Binyamin Appelbaum: “Giants in telecommunications, like Verizon and AT&T, will not have to take ‘reasonable measures’ to ensure that their customers’ Social Security numbers, web browsing history and other personal information are not stolen or accidentally released. Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase will not be punished, at least for now, for not collecting extra money from customers to cover potential losses from certain kinds of high-risk trades that helped unleash the 2008 financial crisis. And Social Security Administration data will no longer be used to try to block individuals with disabling mental health issues from buying handguns, nor will hunters be banned from using lead-based bullets, which can accidentally poison wildlife, on 150 million acres of federal lands.
“These are just a few of the more than 90 regulations that federal agencies and the Republican-controlled Congress have delayed, suspended or reversed in the month and a half since President Trump took office, according to a tally by The New York Times. The emerging effort — dozens more rules could be eliminated in the coming weeks — is one of the most significant shifts in regulatory policy in recent decades. It is the leading edge of what Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, described late last month as ‘the deconstruction of the administrative state.’” http://nyti.ms/2muochn
CABINET WATCH — “State Dept. staffers have one question: Where’s Rex?,” by Nahal Toosi: “The State Department resumes its formal press briefing on Monday — an event that offers Secretary of State Rex Tillerson an ideal setting to assert to the world that America remains a diplomatic force and reassure his jittery employees that their work matters to the new administration. But Tillerson is not expected to show up, according to acting spokesman Mark Toner. America’s chief diplomat so far appears allergic to the spotlight. His aloof approach to his job is eroding confidence in him at the State Department, multiple sources told POLITICO, where staffers are upset about President Donald Trump’s mixed foreign policy messages and his plans to significantly cut the agency’s budget. ‘It’s making me anxious,’ said one State Department official … For the first week, at least, reporters will be briefed Monday through Thursday, but on two of those days the session will be done via telephone instead of the traditional in-person gathering. In the past, the briefing has been held every business day, with occasional exceptions.” http://politi.co/2matbRF
WASHINGTON, INC. – “Egypt’s Mukhabarat hires Washington lobbyists to boost image,” by AP’s Brian Rohan in Cairo: “Egyptian intelligence has hired two U.S. public relations firms in Washington to lobby on the country’s behalf and boost its image, the first such engagements by the country’s powerful security apparatus to be made public and a rare move by a foreign intelligence body. Filings dated Jan. 28 and seen by The Associated Press on the Department of Justice website Sunday showed that the General Intelligence Service has hired public relations firms Weber Shandwick and Cassidy & Associates Inc. … The … agreements [are] worth $1.8 million annually.” http://apne.ws/2mVw60D
OFF MESSAGE — “Chertoff on Trump’s ability to handle a crisis: ‘I’d be guessing’,” by Isaac Dovere: “When I ask Michael Chertoff, the secretary of Homeland Security during President George W. Bush’s second term, whether he wakes up in the morning feeling safe, given what he’s seeing out of the White House, he talks about a lot of people: John Kelly, the man doing Chertoff’s old job as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security; Defense Secretary James Mattis; and what Chertoff calls the ‘strong architecture of security.’ He does not, however, cite President Donald Trump, a man whom he called ‘hysterical’ during the campaign. Chertoff said during the transition that he’d been somewhat reassured, and now clearly has a tense mix of feelings. It’s critical in a crisis for the White House to get out of the way of security professionals, Chertoff said. Bush and his aides were good at that, he explained. He doesn’t know if Trump and his team would be. ‘You know, I’d be guessing,’ he said.” http://politi.co/2lvzdiB … Subscribe on iTunes http://apple.co/2kJqk3D
— SUSAN GLASSER sits down with Daniel Fried, who until his recent departure was the longest-serving U.S. diplomat, for the fifth installment of The Global Politico. His parting advice to Trump: “Don’t Be So Desperate to Rub up Against Russia” http://politi.co/2lRXN9C … Full transcript http://politi.co/2lvBJ8s … Subscribe on iTunes http://apple.co/2ki98RY
FOR YOUR RADAR — “Hundreds of Marines investigated for sharing photos of naked colleagues,” by Thomas James Brennan in Reveal News: “The U.S. Department of Defense is investigating hundreds of Marines who used social media to solicit and share hundreds — possibly thousands — of naked photographs of women service members and veterans. Since Jan. 30, more than two dozen women – many on active duty, including officers and enlisted service members – have been identified by their rank, full name and military duty station in photographs posted and linked to from a private Facebook page.” http://bit.ly/2mug6p5
DEEP DIVE – “Donald Trump’s Worst Deal: The President helped build a hotel in Azerbaijan that appears to be a corrupt operation engineered by oligarchs tied to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard,” by Adam Davidson in The New Yorker: “The Azerbaijanis behind the project were close relatives of Ziya Mammadov, the Transportation Minister and one of the country’s wealthiest and most powerful oligarchs. … At the time of the hotel deal, Mammadov, a career government official, had a salary of about twelve thousand dollars, but he was a billionaire. … [T]he Trump Organization may have broken the law in its work with the Mammadov family. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, passed in 1977, forbade American companies from participating in a scheme to reward a foreign government official in exchange for material benefit or preferential treatment.” http://bit.ly/2mVuFzl
JOE MANCHIN PROFILE — “Manchin in the Middle: Joe Manchin is either a moderate role model for a party that’s lost its way, or a doomed species from a less partisan era. Soon we’ll know which,” by Michael Kruse and Burgess Everett in Politico Magazine: “‘I’ve had more personal time with Trump in two months,’ he marveled, ‘than I had with [Barack] Obama in eight years.’ … Here at the hyperdivisive dawn of the era of Trump, Manchin sits smack in the middle of the unresolved debate over whether rattled Democrats should respond to an angry base by veering harder to the left or instead notch some compromises in an effort to regain the trust of people who aren’t clustered on the coasts or in cities and college towns.” http://politi.co/2lvqAVk
VALLEY TALK — “Uber employees lose faith and explore exit: Competitors and recruiters find more job applications from car-hailing app workers,” by FT’s Leslie Hook in San Francisco: “Recruiters in the Bay Area and executives at rival companies say they have seen an uptick in job applications from Uber employees, as its workers lose faith in the company’s leadership and start to doubt the value of their stock options. Uber has gone from crisis to crisis over the past five weeks, prompting increasing numbers of employees to explore the idea of leaving a start-up that was once considered one of Silicon Valley’s most prestigious and lucrative workplaces. … [One recruiter] said the number of unsolicited résumés from Uber employees coming across his desk spiked last week, a time when two former employees published personal accounts alleging harassment and sexism at the company. He received more résumés from Uber in one week than he had the previous month. … A spokesman for Uber said the company had not seen attrition rates above normal.” http://on.ft.com/2maj1QU
DATA DU JOUR — “Charity Officials Are Increasingly Receiving Million-Dollar Paydays,” by WSJ’s Andrea Fuller: “The tax-exempt organizations, which include many hospitals and colleges as well as traditional charities such as the United Way, provided seven-figure compensation to roughly 2,700 employees in 2014, an analysis of newly available data shows. The total is higher by a third than in 2011 … While many of the big earners ran large enterprises, others were leaders of small charities, such as a couple who run an online ministry. … About three-fourths of the charities that provided million-dollar compensation packages in 2014 were involved in health care. About 10% were private colleges.” http://on.wsj.com/2mWfo14
THE PLAYBOOK INTERVIEW: MICHAEL J. FOX
Actor Michael J. Fox came to Washington last week to make the case on Capitol Hill for the federal government to continue to invest in medical research to find cures for Parkinson’s and other diseases. He met with Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and several other lawmakers in a bipartisan meeting. President Trump has not talked much about his plans for investing in medical research but Fox, who knows Trump a bit, believes that he’s “got a heart” and will respond positively to their concerns. Fox told us that he doesn’t go out to the movies that much anymore but instead watches them at home. Two of his favorites from the last year: “Hell or High Water” and “Moonlight.” He also told us he recently enjoyed Bruce Springsteen’s new autobiography “Born to Run” – Fox played guitar with him in Asbury Park in 2012.
HIS PITCH TO FUND MEDICAL RESEARCH: “At a certain point, you become American. … Citizen of the world first because our research impacts the world. Specifically since we’re in kind of an America mode right now, it’s an investment. It’s an investment in avoiding being bowled over by a baby-boomer population facing these issues like Parkinson or Alzheimer’s or other neurological conditions that are going to become more pressing as ever soon. … I think of health first as infrastructure. It’s essential. It’s non-partisan. It’s essential we have healthy citizens who are not a burden on the government later on. … It’s empathy and compassion and a willingness to take each person as a person as a human that has a life that has a history and a future and has hopes and aspirations and maybe they align with where our ideal is, maybe they don’t. But that process should happen. And when looking at healthcare, repeal and replace – whatever. That means nothing to me. What means something to me is that these different parts of the country, these different parts of the population have needs and expectations. Donald Trump is president of the United States. … I believe he’s got a heart and that he’ll be reached and be reasonable.”
HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH TRUMP: “I’ve sat with him at ballgames and at fights. In New York, it’s a loose camaraderie of people who see each other all the time and he always reminds me when I see him that when he was on ‘Spin City,’ it was one of our highest rated shows. He always reminds me. I have to confess that I don’t agree with a lot of his policies and his rhetoric sometimes worries me. But I do believe he’s a good person who I think we can appeal to. And I’d like to see him help us out.”
HE’S WORRIED ABOUT THE REPEAL OF OBAMACARE: “Most certainly. If you get rid of preexisting conditions element, it’s devastating. People with Parkinson’s have a unique situation because when they’re diagnosed, 80 percent of your dopamine-producing cells are already gone. That’s a preexisting condition. You don’t even know. Now it’s just a point when symptoms are becoming existent and obvious and you can’t go to your boss or let alone your insurance company. You’re loath to go to your boss and say it’s going to get worse. I don’t know how quickly it’s getting worse. So the boss has to say do I keep you now or do I keep you until you become less productive? So if they took away insurance, it would just become devastating.”
CLICKERS – “The fabulous life of Snap CEO Evan Spiegel, who just took his company public at a $33 billion valuation,” by Business Insider’s Alex Heath and Madeline Stone: http://read.bi/2mVvNTx
–“In Conversation: David Letterman — ‘How’s this interview going? Do you think you’re talking to a normal person here?’” by David Marchese on the cover of New York Magazine: http://bit.ly/2mcPCYb … The cover http://bit.ly/2mLgbFn
VIDEO DU JOUR — “Trump and the Battle Over Sanctuary in America,” by NYT’s Clyde Haberman: “As deportations begin to rise under President Trump, churches and cities are declaring themselves sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants. The latest Retro Report explores this new chapter of a movement that has a long history.” https://nyti.ms/2lutvh1e
SPOTTED: James Comey grabbing coffee Sunday with his wife at Greenberry’s in McLean … Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the sixth row center Sunday night at the Washington Concert Opera performance of Beethoven’s “Leonore.”
— Foreign Policy for America, a new grassroots organization to defend and promote progressive U.S. foreign policy values, held a Virginia kickoff event at the No. 9 Lounge in Alexandria: Keynote speaker Michele Flournoy, former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy; Amb. Laura Kennedy, Ronald Goodman, Amb. Derek Mitchell (all of whom are members of FP4America’s board); Andrew Albertson and Monique Alcala, the group’s executive director and director for civic engagement, respectively; Lynne Weil, and many more. The crowd discussed engaging Americans in national security issues under the Trump Administration.
TRANSITIONS — Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro is joining the Institute for National Security Studies, a think tank in Tel Aviv, as a distinguished visiting fellow. http://bit.ly/2mKkReD … Matt Axelrod has joined Linklaters as a dispute resolution partner in its D.C. office. He was previously principal associate deputy attorney general in the Obama administration and chief of staff to deputy A.G. Sally Yates. http://politi.co/2mvpCbi … A month after announcing he was leaving as chairman of the S.C. Republican Party, Matt Moore has landed a job as director of strategic initiatives at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, a D.C.-based group of business, military and faith leaders. http://bit.ly/2n4yeSY … Ryann Durant, former comms director for Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.), starts Monday in Sen. Cornyn’s office as his press secretary. (h/ts friends at SRG) …
… Brandon Lorenz starts today as the national communications director at the Actors’ Equity Association. Most recently, he served as communications campaign director at the Human Rights Campaign. http://politi.co/2mVoA5W … Lucy E. Vernasco has started working as digital director for the Joint Economic Committee Democratic Staff, ranking member Martin Heinrich. Previously she was deputy digital director for Hillary for America in Pennsylvania based in Philly. … John Vecchione has been picked as the new president and CEO of Cause of Action Institute (CoA Institute), a non-profit government watchdog group and public interest law firm based in D.C.
WEEKEND WEDDINGS — Joshua Karp, comms director for U.S. Senate campaigns at American Bridge 21st Century, married Dorian Mergler under the chuppah at the Miami Beach Woman’s Club on Saturday. Mergler just graduated from the University of South Florida with an MPA. Their families and 50 of their friends from life, school, and (of course) politics joined them on the dance floor. The couple met at the Florida Democratic Party convention in October 2013. Pic http://bit.ly/2mcIydQ SPOTTED: Broward Commissioner Nan Rich, Kat McGrory, Michael Van Sickler, Josh Wolf, Max Steele, Ben Sharpe, Cody McClelland.
— Matt Pincus, senior legislative affairs manager at the National Guard Association, married Megan Sigel of the Consumer Technology Association Saturday night at the Ritz Carlton in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Pic of the couple on the dance floor http://bit.ly/2mdG3rK … The cake http://bit.ly/2lNRpiF SPOTTED: Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), Charlotte Underwood of Senate Ethics, Elizabeth Connolly of the Rochester office of Rep. Lisa Blunt (D-Del.), and DCCC’s Mary Williams.
HOW ALAN GREENSPAN IS CELEBRATING HIS BIRTHDAY – he is 91 today – we asked him his birthday plans and he emailed us back this note: “Judge William Webster, Senator Kit Bond, and I have celebrated our March 6th birthday together since 1988 without missing a year. Speaker Tom Foley was also a part of the group until his death in 2013. David Bradley has since joined the group. We created a little stir in a public restaurant during our first meeting in 1988 when the Director of Central Intelligence, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, a Senator from Missouri, and the Chairman of the Federal Reserve lunched together. The question around the room was what issue could they conceivably be discussing. Thereafter, we decided to celebrate our birthday in private.” Asked where they’re celebrating this year, he replied: “The location is classified.”
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: John Stossel is 7-0, FOX News/FOX Business contributor, celebrating “at my apartment with 100 beach volleyball players” – read his Playbook Plus Q&A: http://politi.co/2masx6G
BIRTHDAYS: Jennifer Yuille Skyler, head of public affairs at WeWork, the pride of Flint and a Facebook, CBS, NBC and CNN alum … Saul Anuzis, former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party, is 58 … David Bradley … Bill Huey is 7-0 … WaPo food critic Tom Sietsema … sports correspondent Armen Keteyian is 64 … former FBI and CIA director William Webster is 93 … former Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) is 78 … Pablo Chavez, LinkedIn’s head of global public policy … Alex Stroman, Alex Stroman, comms director at America First, is 28 — he celebrated over the weekend by serenading friends with help from the band at New Vegas (h/t Ali Pardo) … Blake Gottesman, principal at Berkshire Partners and a Bush 43 WH alum … Theodore Furchtgott … Team Tom Perez’s Kara Carscaden, an Obama alum … Anthony Foti, COS for Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) … WashPost assistant Outlook editor Jenny Rogers … Baltimore Sun’s Erin Cox (h/t Sean Johnson) … Sandra Salstrom … Jacqui Newman, DCCC’s new COO (h/t Kevin McKeon) …
… Brooke Gladstone, co-host of WNYC’s “On the Media” … Chris Leavitt, campaign manager for Ed Gillespie’s Virginia gubernatorial campaign … Alyssa Backlund … Lisa Todorovich Porter … Anna Kopperud, VP at Muzin Capitol Partners and a Ted Cruz alum … Brendon Plack, staff director of the Senate Republican Conference … Ellen Canale … Emily Leviner, LD and counsel for Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Tex.) … Abby VandeHei … Karen Lightfoot … Mike Thigpen of RBC Wealth Management … Courtney Beese … Sam Spence, web editor at Charleston City Paper and a Joe Trippi alum … Katy Bayless, director of federal relations for her alma mater, Clemson University … Ghana celebrates its national holiday … Stephanie Linder, a director of development at Rice University … Andie Coller … Kathleen J. Becker … Steve Fox … Adrian Perez … Jenny Vidas, the pride of Waterloo, Iowa … Lanon Baccam … Jeff Hunter … Samantha Waterman … Joseph Porcelli (h/ts Teresa Vilmain) … Catherine Wilkins … Kim Moxley of Senate Indian Affairs … Tim Bergreen of House Intel … Karen Lightfoot … Rob Reiner is 7-0 … Shaq is 45 (h/ts AP)
****** A message from the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs: To ensure sustainable access to affordable and effective prescription drugs, employers, unions, health plans and government programs choose to partner with Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs). Working with their customers, PBMs tailor benefits to meet the specific health care needs of patients and beneficiaries, leverage scale and experience to drive down drug costs and provide patient-centric clinical programs that help patients manage chronic conditions and achieve better health outcomes. In fact, a 2016 study found that for every $1 invested in PBM services, patients and payers save $6. Learn about the private sector solution keeping workers healthy and bending the drug cost curve: www.affordableprescriptiondrugs.org for more. ******
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