WASHINGTON, April 20 (Reuters) - Freshmen are usually low on the totem pole. But the 85 first-term Republicans in the House of Representatives find themselves awash in invitations for meetings and morning coffees with the creme de la creme of Washington and Wall Street.
Reuters reporters Tim Reid and Rachelle Younglai report today that the freshmen are in vogue because their fiscally conservative views could determine the outcome of the upcoming vote to raise America’s debt ceiling. The newcomers are told repeatedly that a failure to raise the $14.3 trillion debt limit will trigger economic calamity, on a global scale.
Take Michael Grimm, a first-term Republican from New York, who said: “I have had meetings in D.C., meetings in New York, meetings with Fortune 500 companies, meetings with financial institutions.”
That’s a lot of attention for a guy who arrived here barely four months ago.
They may be new, but they are not necessarily impressionable. Reid and Younglai say the intense lobbying effort shows signs of falling flat. One freshman said he would vote “no” unless there are “serious cuts and real systemic reform.”
That suggests the traditional allies of Republicans -- big business and banks -- may have little sway over these new men and women on campus.
Washington Extra is a daily newsletter about politics and economics in Washington, sent to subscribers by e-mail.
To be added to the mailing list on a complimentary basis, please email us at email@example.com.
Here are our top stories from Washington:
Politics, ideology overshadow US debt limit talks
In the looming fight over raising the debt limit, Washington will have its eye on two deadlines: July 2011 and November 2012. The first is the date by which Congress will likely have to act in order to ensure that the United States doesn’t default on its $14 trillion in accumulated debt. The second deadline is when President Obama and most members of Congress will face voters. What has often been a routine, if unpleasant, vote could this year turn into a battleground in the 2012 campaign as Republicans and Democrats advance clashing ideological visions of the nation’s priorities. [ID:nN20230990]
Lobbying push targets U.S. lawmakers on debt vote
They have been in Washington barely four months but the 85 first-term Republicans in the House of Representatives have found themselves the target of a massive lobbying campaign by Wall Street banks, big business and the Treasury. The freshmen are under intense pressure to vote to raise the cap on borrowing so that the United States can continue to pay its bills after May 16. Yet there are signs the lobbying effort is falling flat. [ID:nN20167356]
At Facebook headquarters, Obama seeks 2008 magic
President Obama takes early steps to recapture the magic of his exuberant 2008 campaign on a West Coast swing that starts at the nexus of social communications, Facebook. By visiting Facebook headquarters in California’s Silicon Valley, where Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is a folk hero, Obama seeks to connect to tens of millions of people who have adopted social media as a prime method of communications. [ID:nN20138269]
A year after BP spill, drilling risks linger
The worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history spurred federal regulators to overhaul safety rules, but critics say gaps remain that could leave America’s coast vulnerable to another disaster. A year after the spill, the Interior Department’s offshore drilling arm is still rolling out new regulations to address key risks. “We do not plan to fail,” said Michael Bromwich, director of the new regulatory agency. [ID:nN20136267]
US existing homes sales gain raises cautious hope
Home resales volumes bounced back in March, a hopeful sign for recovery in the housing market, but prices continued to decline. The housing market is struggling to find its footing as a wave of foreclosed properties keeps supply up but prices down. [ID:nN20148012]
To see what we are blogging on Front Row Washington, go to blogs.reuters.com/frontrow/