Mar 24, 2020 - Politics & Policy

The coronavirus is creating a lobbying feeding frenzy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Lobbyists are racing to grab a piece of a federal stimulus package that could top $2 trillion.

The big picture: Every industry, company and niche group affected by the virus, including some that have never lobbied before, is jockeying to get federal funding and approval for pet projects — making federal lobbying one of the few boom industries right now.

Where it stands: Congress is still working on a final package, with the hope of getting something done this week. The largest conglomerates and industry groups are working overtime to make sure they get a cut.

  • Hotels, airlines, restaurants, casinos, manufacturers and other service industries that have been battered by the coronavirus spread are angling to get hundreds of billions in loans and other funding.
  • Hospitals and physicians want at least $100 billion and significant Medicare payment hikes, partially because they've had to cancel lucrative elective procedures.
  • A coalition of major employers is lobbying Congress for payroll tax credits and coverage subsidies for people who lose their jobs.

Additionally, some lobbyists are pushing for "stalled policy proposals unrelated to the crisis," the Wall Street Journal reports — everything from capping transaction fees on credit cards to creating tax breaks for gym memberships, according to the New York Times.

The intrigue: The chance for federal bailouts has motivated small players to make bigger investments, and some nontraditional parties are spending their first lobbying dollars.

The bottom line: Business interests won in the Republican tax overhaul and the most recent year-end budget package. It's very possible the same will occur in the major coronavirus bill.

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Media and entertainment industries pleased with coronavirus stimulus

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Nearly every segment of the media and entertainment industry, including movies, television, radio, news outlets and more, says it feels at least somewhat relieved by Congress' $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package that the House is expected to vote on Friday.

Why it matters: The media and entertainment sector is heavily reliant on out-of-home venues, freelancers and in-person staffing. As a result, the industry has been completely upended by the COVID-19 pandemic.

How the coronavirus stimulus bill helps you

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Congress' $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package is the rare legislative agreement that will have an immediate — and lasting — impact on ordinary citizens across the country.

Why it matters: The 883-page bill, titled the "CARES Act," includes thousands of dollars in direct payments to most Americans, and huge loan packages designed to help keep small businesses and corporations afloat.

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What health care is getting out of the stimulus package

Hospitals stand to gain a lot of money from the stimulus. Photos: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Congress' big stimulus package will provide more than $100 billion and several favorable payment policies to hospitals, doctors and others in the health care system as they grapple with the coronavirus outbreak.

The big picture: Hospitals, including those that treat a lot of rural and low-income patients, are getting the bailout they asked for — and then some.

Go deeperArrowMar 26, 2020 - Health