What to Know in Washington: United, Lawmakers Thwart DCA Flights

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United Airlines lobbyists worked with aides to Virginia lawmakers and airport authority employees to orchestrate messaging and strategy in a high-stakes fight against adding more flights at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

Details of behind-the-scenes cooperation were revealed in emails obtained via public records requests by a competing coalition and shared first with Bloomberg Government.

Photographer: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
A Delta airplane takes off from Ronald Reagan National Airport.

The communications offer rare insight into a major lobbying campaign that is at the forefront on Capitol Hill this week as lawmakers consider a FAA reauthorization compromise measure that would increase the number of flights by five daily round-trips. Those pushing for more flights initially sought nearly 30 per day.

The lobbying and messaging efforts took place as United posted a record quarterly spend on federal lobbying for the period covering April through June of last year. The company initially disclosed spending $3.6 million that quarter, but later revised it up to $3.8 million, according to a filing posted Dec. 5. Delta Air Lines — which, along with the Capital Access Alliance, is pressing for the additional flights at National — spent $1.3 million on federal lobbying over the same time frame last year, disclosures show. Kate Ackley takes a deep dive into the emails. Read More


  • The president will participate in a campaign reception in Washington, D.C. around 5:30 p.m. and will return to the White House around 6:30 p.m.
  • Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre will hold a briefing around 1:30 p.m.


  • The House is back at 10 a.m. for more votes on public lands and mining bills.
  • The Senate returns at 10 a.m. to vote on FAA reauthorization.
  • For the full detailed agenda read BGOV’s Congress Tracker

Israel’s War Roils Campuses

Photo by KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images
NYPD officers in riot gear break into a building at Columbia University, where pro-Palestinian students are barricaded inside.

Shortly after 9 p.m. last night, NYPD officers entered a COLUMBIA University building that pro-Palestinian demonstrators had barricaded themselves inside. Dozens of people were arrested, led away bound by zip ties, and loaded into buses. Read More

A House committee summoned three more UNIVERSITY leaders to answer questions on antisemitism on campus as college protests against Israel’s war against Hamas intensify across the country.

  • Yale University’s Peter Salovey, Santa Ono of the University of Michigan, and Gene Block from UCLA will testify on May 23, the House Education and the Workforce Committee said.
  • The protests have in some cases included antisemitic chants. “College is not a park for playacting juveniles or a battleground for radical activists,” Chair Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) said in the statement. Read More

Some PALESTINIANS may be allowed to be brought into the US as refugees under a proposal being weighed by the White House, CBS News reported, citing internal federal government documents. Read More

No amount of planning can justify an offensive into RAFAH, the Gaza city where more than 1 million Palestinians are seeking refuge as the death toll from the war continues to rise, the UN’s humanitarian chief said. Read More

Democrats’ Climate Agenda

Jeff Merkley outside the Capitol in 2022. Photo by Eric Lee/Bloomberg

Sen. JEFF MERKLEY (D-Ore.) faulted Biden over PLASTIC POLLUTION, saying the White House has fallen short in advocating meaningful steps in international talks toward addressing the problem.

  • The White House, in global talks to craft a binding pact on plastic pollution this year, “has placed on itself a series of limitations that will result in the United States failing to be a productive part of the conversation,” Merkley told BGOV. Read More

Happening on the Hill

Senate Majority Leader CHUCK SCHUMER will reintroduce CANNABIS legislation. The New York Democrat also will hold a press conference this afternoon to announce the bill. Read More

Treasury Secretary JANET YELLEN came under fire from Republican lawmakers yesterday over a quip from Biden about letting tax cuts enacted by predecessor Donald Trump expire. Read More

House Republicans want to bolster AGRICULTURE TRADE trade opportunities for US farmers, find new sources for conservation funding, and limit “arbitrarily” changing SNAP food aid, according to a new summary of key provisions in the farm bill. Read More

A legislative tool that makes it easier for Congress to OVERTURN FEDERAL AGENCY REGULATIONS has become a flashpoint this year as the Biden administration races to finalize key rules ahead of the elections.

  • The Congressional Review Act lets simple majorities of lawmakers in both chambers vote to undo regulations, subject to presidential veto.
  • The CRA 60-day window could affect key rules that are still pending from the administration including in energy, environment, health, and finance.
  • Download the BGOV OnPoint: Key Biden Rules Could Be Nixed By GOP, Trump

Legislation to protect artists from being MIMICKED BY AI without their consent will come out next month, Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said. But thorny questions around free speech and creativity could complicate regulation. Read More

  • Labeling material as “AI-generated” can fight fraud, disinformation, and other harms from the dissemination of synthetic content, the National Institute of Standards and Technology said. Read More

A ban on importing enriched URANIUM FROM RUSSIA will head to the White House after the Senate voted to approve the measure yesterday evening.

  • The White House has said it supports efforts to block the Kremlin’s shipments of the reactor fuel. Read More

People, Power and Politics

Source: Louisiana State Legislature
The 2024 congressional district map drawn by the Louisiana legislature made dramatic changes to the 6th District, highlighted in green.

Louisiana won’t get a second MAJORITY-BLACK HOUSE DISTRICT after panel of federal judges rejected a new congressional map in the state. Read More

NEW YORK State Senator Tim Kennedy won the special election to replace former New York Rep. Brian Higgins, AP projected, keeping the Buffalo-area district in Democrats’ control. Read More

More Stories We’re Reading

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Jones Day leads with 5 arguments this term.

Five attorneys from JONES DAY took to the Supreme Court lectern this term, making the D.C.-based law giant the firm with the most arguments before the justices.

  • The firm sent partners John Gore and C. Kevin Marshall to argue their first high court cases. Former US Solicitor General Noel Francisco and partners Hashim Mooppan and Traci Lovitt argued once. All but Gore clerked for a Supreme Court justice.
  • At the same time, veterans vastly outnumbered newcomers. Of the 152 total arguments, more than half were argued by attorneys who were making at least their fifth appearance. A quarter were first-timers. Read More

Producers of CORN ETHANOL could see improved profit from a growing market for green jet fuel under a push by the Biden administration. Read More

Biden is FORGIVING $6.1 billion in STUDENT LOANS for more than 300,000 attendees of the Art Institutes, a shuttered group of private colleges accused of fraud. Read More

Amazon’s livestreaming site TWITCH launched its own short-form video platform, a week after passage of a law that threatens the future of the social-media service TikTok in the US. Read More

LGBTQI+ people are getting new federal protections against discrimination in agency grants and programs under a Biden administration rule unveiled yesterday. Read More

BLUE ORIGIN and SPACEX are dueling to anchor NASA’s plan to bring astronauts to the moon for the first time in a half-century. Read More

To contact the reporters on this story: Brandon Lee in Washington at blee@bgov.com; Jeannie Baumann in Washington at jbaumann@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Kayla Sharpe at ksharpe@bloombergindustry.com; Giuseppe Macri at gmacri@bgov.com

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