Feb 10, 2019

Scoop: Republicans launch new group to lobby Congress on USMCA

Former White House official Marc Short. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Well-connected Republican operatives have launched the group Trade Works for America, which aims to spend more than $10 million pushing members of Congress to support the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), according to two officials who set up the group.

Why it matters: Republicans and industry groups are starting to panic about USMCA, Trump's NAFTA replacement bill. And for good reason.

The details: "We're going to look closely at freshman Democrats in traditional Republican and Trump districts and also Republican members who voted against TPA [Trade Promotion Authority] who may need some encouragement," said Phil Cox, the former executive director of the Republican Governors Association, who co-founded the group with former senior White House official Marc Short.

  • "We've laid out a budget of $15-$20 million. We've raised about a third of that to date, and we've really been at it since the beginning of the year," Cox added. (A top outside adviser to the VP, Marty Obst, and longtime GOP operative Jeff Miller are also involved.)
  • The group’s funding comes from the pharmaceutical industry, oil and gas, the automotive and agricultural sectors, and traditional GOP donors, according to Cox.

Go deeper...Behind the scenes: Troubles ahead for Trump's NAFTA replacement

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The cost of going after Bloomberg

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Here's the growing dilemma for 2020 Democrats vying for a one-on-one showdown with frontrunner Bernie Sanders: Do they have the guts — and the money — to first stop Mike Bloomberg?

Why it matters: Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren all must weigh the costs of punching Bloomberg where he looks most vulnerable: stop-and-frisk, charges of sexism, billionaire entitlement. The more zealous the attacks, the greater the risk he turns his campaign ATM against them.

How Trump’s economy stacks up

Source: "Presidents and US Economy", Trump figures through 2019 courtesy of Alan Blinder; Note: Data shows real GDP and Q1 growth in each term is attributed to the previous president; Chart: Axios Visuals

Average economic growth under President Trump has outpaced the growth under Barack Obama, but not all of his recent predecessors.

Why it matters: GDP is the most comprehensive economic scorecard — and something presidents, especially Trump, use as an example of success. And it's especially relevant since Trump is running for re-election on his economic record.

Coronavirus cases rise as 14 American evacuees infected

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

14 Americans evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship tested positive for the novel coronavirus before being flown in a "specialist containment" on a plane repatriating U.S. citizens back home, the U.S. government said early Monday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 1,770 people and infected almost 70,000 others. Most cases and all but five of the deaths have occurred in mainland China. Taiwan confirmed its first death on Sunday, per multiple reports, in a 61-year-old man with underlying health conditions. Health officials were investigating how he became ill.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health