Nov 4, 2019

Trump administration mulls privatizing national park campgrounds

Photo: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

If the Trump administration has its way, our national parks may be set for a major overhaul that's much broader than just electric bikes on trails.

Driving the news: "At the urging of a controversial team of advisors, the Trump administration is mulling proposals to privatize national park campgrounds and further commercialize the parks with expanded Wi-Fi service, food trucks and even Amazon deliveries at tourist camp sites," the LA Times reports.

  • One proposal would phase out senior discounts during peak seasons.

Why it matters: The U.S. National Park Service is nearly $12 billion in the hole on necessary repairs that largely pre-date the Trump administration, according to Pew Trust.

The big picture: “Since taking office, President Trump and his administration have sought to privatize an array of public services," per the LA Times.

  • "At the same time, the White House has sought to reduce spending for many public services, such as its plan to cut the National Park Service’s budget by $481 million in 2020."
  • The committee's pitch for privatization: “There is also broad consensus that the current national park campground system, largely operated by federal employees, combines inadequate and outmoded visitor infrastructure," The Hill reports.

Between the lines: Many members of the committee, which was created by former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, would potentially benefit from privatization, the Washington Post previously reported.

  • Members include the operators of concession companies that have contracts at the parks, a company that produces electric bicycles and the former president of the world's largest private campground.

The bottom line: This might not have the edge of an impeachment fight, but any time the outdoors lobby and AARP are at potential loggerheads, look out.

Go deeper

The state of play on impeachment for Thanksgiving week

Photo: Michael Brochstein/Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The shortened Thanksgiving week promises far less public spectacle for the House impeachment inquiry, but it still could see several significant events.

Driving the news: A ruling is expected Monday on whether or not former White House counsel Don McGahn must testify under subpoena in the ongoing House impeachment inquiry.

Go deeperArrowNov 25, 2019

Pam Bondi and Tony Sayegh to join White House to assist impeachment strategy

Tony Sayegh. Photo: Juan Mabromata/AFP via Getty Images; Pam Bondi. Photo: Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for Concordia Summit

Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and former Treasury spokesperson Tony Sayegh are expected to join the White House communications team to help with President Trump's impeachment strategy, according to a senior administration official.

The big picture: Both of the officials' roles are temporary, and they will be designated as special government employees. Bondi is a longtime Trump backer, having endorsed him the day before the 2016 primary despite Florida Sen. Marco Rubio still being in the race. Sayegh helped craft a communications plan for Trump's tax overhaul in his previous role in the administration.

Go deeperArrowNov 6, 2019

Impeachment hasn't dulled Trump's interest in drug prices

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Trump administration is pushing ahead with its drug pricing agenda even as impeachment sucks up all the political oxygen, with plans to advance some of its most ambitious regulations and to work with Congress on legislation.

Why it matters: Drug pricing remains a huge issue that both parties want to run on in 2020. For Trump, there's a lot of pressure: His most ambitious proposals have either been tabled, are tied up in the courts or have yet to be implemented.

Go deeperArrowNov 25, 2019