A weekly outreach to our friends and colleagues in Canada
Weekly Washington Wrap
Get Well Soon – It appears Republican efforts to replace Obamacare will be at least as controversial as they were when Democrats rammed the national healthcare plan through Congress without the support of a single Republican in 2010. Democrats are opposed to the House Republicans’ rewrite of Obamacare unveiled this week as are some associations representing physicians, hospitals and other groups, who warn the new proposal could leave the most vulnerable Americans with fewer protections than they now have. The bill being pushed by House GOP leaders would, for example, eliminate the requirements that all Americans obtain coverage or pay a tax penalty and that businesses with at least 50 employees provide insurance. In fighting for his landmark legislation, former President Barack Obama promised that under Obamacare, Americans could keep their doctor and vowed lower premiums. Neither was the case and the cost of premiums skyrocketed. President Donald Trump had made the repeal and replacement of the healthcare program a cornerstone of his campaign and Republicans retained their majority in the House and won the Senate, in part, on the strength of that promise. While House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) describes the new GOP plan as a “conservative wish list” that would deliver on years of Republican campaign promises, some conservative lawmakers argue it doesn’t go nearly far enough. Still other Republicans worry it goes too far.
On the Mend – Healthcare may still be needing a fix but it certainly appears the US economy is feeling better. According to a new report out this month, US companies added a whopping 298,000 new jobs in February, beating economists' expectations by more than 100,000. A global human resources and payroll firm called ADP reports that in President Trump’s first full month in the White House confidence in the job market was “incredibly strong.” January’s new-jobs numbers were also revised upward from 246,000 to 261,000. From tax cuts to fewer regulations, businesses are anticipating robust growth because of Trump policies, according to industry analysts.
Saluting the Scouts!
On Tuesday night in Greenville, SC, David and Susan Wilkins were in the company of some of our state's most outstanding citizens at the 2017 Blue Ridge Council, Boy Scouts of America Patron Dinner. Wilkins was humbled to be this year's recipient of the Council's Good Scout Award and was honored to present the evening's keynote address.
In his remarks, Wilkins highlighted the leadership of Eagle Scout David Saville - widely known and beloved by Clemson University football fans for his longtime leadership as a manager on the football team.
Two Big Tiger Fans but only one is an Eagle Scout! David Saville, a Clemson football team manager and an Eagle Scout, and David Wilkins, a Clemson Board member and Tiger super fan celebrate the Boy Scouts together on Tuesday night.
It was a privilege for Wilkins to be introduced by the dinner co-chairman and his longtime friend Howell Clyborne, a former member of the South Carolina House. Wilkins is also grateful for the leadership of Blue Ridge Council President Michael Thompson and dinner co-chairman James Morton.
Big City Doings
As is usually the case with your always busy former US ambassador to Canada, Tuesday night's wonderful celebration was only hours in the rearview before Wilkins was on a flight winging his way up north.
Wednesday morning found him in Toronto working with our good pal Bob Deluce, CEO and president of Porter Airlines, and members of the Porter Board.
This morning finds him back in Washington, DC for a number of meetings before he’ll fly home later today.
On Monday, Wilkins is headed down to historic Charleston, SC, for the Clemson-Canada Energy Day – a day-long conference billed as “Opportunities and Challenges for Canada and the US in Clean Energy & Grid Modernization: Technology, Commercialization and Policy” at the Zucker Family Graduate Education Center.
The event is being co-sponsored by the Consulate General of Canada (based in Atlanta, Ga) and Clemson University. Organizers promise the Clemson-Canada Energy Day will promote a dialogue on policy frameworks for the energy future and “will include Canadian provinces and US states from the Southeast, as well as utilities (privately & publicly owned), solar and wind energy producers, companies and researchers.”
It’s also about connecting Canadian and US companies, researchers working on clean energy and advancing technology, universities, government and utility companies with specific requirements for parts, services, testing and research and development.
In addition to Wilkins, Canadian Consul General Louise Blais will be on hand as well as a number of industry and civic leaders from the southeast region and across Canada.
They Said What?
- "There was no evidence whatsoever, at the time, of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians," – Former Obama National Intelligence Director James Clapper, confirming to ABC News’ World News Tonight on Monday that despite continued media speculation and headlines, he did not see anything to suggest that Russia successfully infiltrated Donald Trump’s presidential campaign or recruited any of Trump’s advisers.
- “This is place of conspiracy theories, untethered to facts. And these theories are voiced by President Trump…And the people around President Trump who are enabling this nonsense, the ones who know better, you have to ask yourselves this question. Are you really serving the president? Are you really serving the American people?” – CNN’s Jake Tapper slamming President Trump’s tweet claiming the former president had wire tapped him during the presidential campaign and challenging Trump’s truthfulness on a host of issues.
- “It’s certainly not impossible to believe that the Obama administration spied on Trump. Obama wouldn’t be the first president to engage in illegal surveillance of opposition candidates, and his administration has been noted for its great enthusiasm for domestic spying. In an effort to plug embarrassing leaks, the Obama administration spied on Associated Press reporters and seized the phone records not only of a Fox News reporter but also of his parents. Obama’s political allies even alleged that his CIA spied on Congress. Nor is it unbelievable that under the Obama administration, supposedly non-partisan civil servants would go after political opponents. After all, the notorious IRS scandal was about exactly that,” – University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds, writing in USA Today this week on Trump’s controversial tweet.
- “While Obama now poses as a defender of decorum, tradition, and protocol, he (in a much subtler way) flouted convention…he frequently resorted to unilateral decisions outside the scope of his constitutional authority. Sound familiar? Along the way, he got us used to a lot of things that his team is now accusing Donald Trump of inventing. Think Donald Trump is an undignified reality star? Yeah, remember the time that Obama gave an interview to a YouTube star who drinks cereal out of a bathtub? Cultural degradation doesn’t just happen overnight. Do you think President Trump was the first politician to have a causal relationship with the truth? Then answer this: Who said, “If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor” and that ISIS is the “JV team”?...while the narrative seems to be that Obama was kind and normal—and that Republicans were mean and obstructionist—it takes two to tango. Don’t forget that Obama curtly told Republicans “I won” when they were first trying to negotiate with him,” – The Daily Beast’s Matt Lewis opining in a column this week on Obama’s post-presidency political activity.
- "How good was the meeting with @POTUS? I gave him my NEW cell phone number,” – Senator Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) tweet after a luncheon meeting with his former campaign rival President Trump this week. (Editor’s note: During the heat of the GOP presidential primary in 2015, then candidate Trump infamously read out Graham's cellphone number during a campaign rally causing the outspoken Senator’s phone to blow up with unsolicited calls and texts.)
If you are interested in the possibility of having Ambassador Wilkins speak at an event, please contact Christy Cox at Christy.Cox@nelsonmullins.com or call 803.255.9470.
The articles published in this newsletter are intended only to provide general information on the subjects covered. The contents should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Readers should consult with legal counsel to obtain specific legal advice based on particular situations.