What to Know in Washington: Safe GOP Chairs Rake in Cash

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Rep. Jason Smith shattered his political fundraising records this year, hauling in almost 2,900% more to his leadership political action committee with donations from JP Morgan Chase, Verizon, and Lockheed Martin.

Smith’s seat in a ruby-red, rural district is just as safe as it was in the last election, but the increase in donations followed one major change: Smith (R-Mo.) became chair of the Ways and Means Committee, which oversees tax, health, and trade policy.

Smith and other Republicans who took the top spots on House committees this year have together raised 86% more in campaign donations in the first six months of 2023 than they did in the same period two years ago, according to a Bloomberg Government analysis of federal campaign disclosures.

The boost in political money, to their leadership PACs and campaign committees, followed their increased roles in shaping legislation. Their political coffers this year are chock full of donations from a cross-section of lobbying groups and corporations, including the American Medical Association and Amazon, that have a stake in tax, agriculture, and other bills.

These committee chairs largely represent firmly red districts, but the power they have over their respective committees draws big money from corporations and interest groups looking for access to influence policy.

Their gavels come with high expectations to raise piles of money to boost the national party committees and to give directly to their most politically vulnerable colleagues. Donations to their colleagues offer committee chairs prized influence over their fellow members, though any chair seen as not raising enough or not spreading their political money around sufficiently can face intraparty discontent. Maeve Sheehey and Kate Ackley have more on the big chair hauls in the House.

UAW, Auto Giants Lobby Congress as Strike Begins

The Big 3 Detroit automakers and the United Auto Workers have stepped up their outreach to Capitol Hill in recent weeks as contracts talks faltered. A strike began at midnight at plants for all three manufacturers.

Photographer: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images North America
Supporters cheer as UAW members go on strike at the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan, on Sept. 15.

Their lobbying efforts have focused on messaging and marshaling allies. Big business groups, including the Chamber of Commerce, are urging the administration to work to settle the strike, which could have major economic and political ripples across the Midwest and elsewhere.

General Motors, Ford Motor, and Stellantis have long-standing lobbying teams that together spent $11.7 million on federal lobbying efforts during the first half of the year, according to lobbying disclosures. The UAW, a major donor to Democratic coffers, spent $420,000 in the first six months of the year on federal lobbying efforts, disclosures show. Ackley details each sides’ influence.

More on the UAW Strike:


  • President Joe Biden has no public events scheduled today.
  • Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan hold a press briefing at 1 p.m.


  • Both chambers return next week for votes on fiscal 2024 spending bills.
  • For a quick preview of next week’s agenda read BGOV’s Congress Tracker.

Happening on Capitol Hill

BGOV OnPoint: Lawmakers Careen Toward Shutdown

Lawmakers have until Sept. 30 to pass a short-term funding measure or risk a government shutdown. The latest BGOV OnPoint reviews the prospects for fiscal 2024 funding, background information on continuing resolutions, and details on government shutdowns.

Gas Car Protection Bill Passes House

The gas-powered car industry notched a win yesterday with the House passing a measure that would ensure the federal government doesn’t allow states to prevent the sale of new gas-powered cars in favor of electric vehicles.

Musk Denial of Ukraine’s Starlink Request Prompts Query

The Senate Armed Services Committee is probing national security issues raised by Elon Musk’s decision not to extend the Starlink satellite network to aid a Ukrainian attack on Russian warships near the Crimean coast.

Zelenskiy Expected to Visit D.C.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is tentatively scheduled to visit the Capitol next week as part of his US trip to the UN General Assembly, Punchbowl News reports. Biden will also host Zelenskiy at the White House.

Lawmakers Question ‘Responsible’ AI, Procurement

AI experts in academia and the corporate world testified to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee yesterday that bias and risk calculations should be incorporated throughout the government’s procurement process of AI tools from the private sector.

‘Junk Fees’ Draw Scrutiny

There is bipartisan agreement surrounding reining in ‘junk fees’, hidden charges that can be tacked on at the end of transactions. Proposed legislation targets two of the most high-profile fees for ticketing and hotels.

House GOP Doubles Down on Anti-ESG Messaging

Republicans signaled that removing environmental, social, and governance considerations from financial decision-making will remain a focus in 2024 political campaigns by advancing another package of bills that observers say is more about messaging than substance.

People, Power, and Politics

Biden Assails ‘Maganomics’

Biden lambasted House Republicans for their economic agenda, which he labeled “Maganomics,” seeking to link them to Donald Trump’s policies.

Republicans to Hold Third Debate in Miami

The third Republican presidential debate will take place in Miami in November, according to a person familiar with the planning.

DOJ Resists Trump’s Push to Oust Judge

The Justice Department is opposing Trump’s effort to disqualify the Washington federal judge handling the 2020 election obstruction criminal case against him, arguing it has “no valid basis” and accusing Trump of cherry-picking the judge’s words.

McCormick Likely to Run for Senate

David McCormick, the former Bridgewater Associates CEO, will likely seek the Republican nomination for Senate in Pennsylvania, per the Associated Press.

Pichai Joins CEOs in White House Meeting on Immigration

Google’s Sundar Pichai and Accenture’s Julie Sweet were among nearly 40 executives to press the White House on immigration and offer potential solutions in a meeting yesterday as concerns mount that undocumented migrants are straining resources in cities across the US.

To contact the reporters on this story: Giuseppe Macri in Washington at gmacri@bgov.com; Brandon Lee in Washington at blee@bgov.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Kayla Sharpe at ksharpe@bloombergindustry.com; Jeannie Baumann at jbaumann@bloombergindustry.com

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