Notes from the Campaign Trail: Lamoureux joins DBH Management Consultants; Democrats rally, Cotton rails

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 1,013 views 

Michael Lamoureux – former State Senate President Pro Tempore, former State Representative, and Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s first chief of staff – has a new gig. After a stint doing consulting work in D.C., Lamoureux has joined the well-known lobbying group of DBH Management Consultants.

DBH is led by former Morrilton State Rep. Bruce Hawkins, who founded the firm in 1996 after more than a decade in the House, and is also home to Camie Bogess, Lee Ann Dietz and Phyllis Hawkins. Lamoureux and Hawkins have been connected since the former Senator/Representative/chief of staff’s first legislative race. Those River Valley ties run deep.

In a note to clients, Hawkins said, “Most recently Michael has been working with a number of clients at the national level. While he will continue his work with these clients, today he begins in a new role as Chief Legal Counsel and Principal/Partner of DBH. Lamoureux will work in this role until January 9, 2018 at which point he will assume additional responsibilities including lobbying on behalf of DBH clients.”

Lamoureux tells TB&P, “For the last 14 years, I have served in the House, the Senate, or the Governor’s office. I look forward to using that experience to help clients navigate the process.”

Some existing DBH clients include: Arkansas Association of Chiefs of Police; Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care; Delta Dental of Arkansas; Motorola Solutions, Inc.; Petit Jean Meats; Plains All American Pipeline; Shelter Insurance; and Southland Racing and Gaming.

A day after Gov. Asa Hutchinson came out with a strong endorsement of the Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill, which GOP senators see as their last chance at a budget reconciliation-oriented repeal of Obamacare, Arkansas Democrats upped their opposition through social media and traditional communications channels.

Several Democratic elected officials took to their Twitter and Facebook feeds to rally opposition to call Congressional offices. The Democratic Party of Arkansas also issued a statement from chairman Rep. Michael John Gray.

“I give credit where credit is due. I commended the leadership Governor Hutchinson showed in the past on the health care issue when he worked with both sides to continue Medicaid expansion under the new name ‘Arkansas Works.’ The Governor’s past leadership on this issue only underscores how disappointing it is that he is willing to embroil himself in such a desperate, extremely-partisan legislative Hail Mary that would end Medicaid expansion in Arkansas as we know it,” Gray said.

“This is an about-face from Governor Hutchinson who as recently as July implored leaders from both parties to come together to work deliberatively towards strengthening the Affordable Care Act and in turn ‘Arkansas Works.’ Even yesterday, he admitted that Arkansas Works remains in a ‘good position’ if the Graham-Cassidy bill fails. On that point, we agree whole-heartedly. But, the facts simply don’t line up with the promises Governor Hutchison made yesterday about the legislation,” he added.

Poignantly, former Gov. Mike Beebe spokesman Matt DeCample, who is suffering from cancer, offered a post on his Facebook page in opposition to Graham-Cassidy:

“Once again, the United States Senate is trying to make it very expensive for me and many, many other American citizens to not die. So, for those of you interested in your health care, I bring you another lengthy, wonky explanation of current events. Short version first.
– The newest bill (amendment, actually) is called Graham-Cassidy, named for the two senators behind it.
– It will take insurance away from millions of Americans. We don’t have a good estimate of exactly how many, because the bill likely won’t be fully reviewed by the Congressional Budget Office before a vote.
– Pre-existing conditions will come back into play, meaning astronomically higher costs if you have to switch insurance or are trying to get insurance.
– Medicaid will lose tens of billions of dollars in funding, at least.
– States that have been using federal money to get more of their citizens insured (this includes Arkansas and Washington) will lose some of that money to states that have refused the federal money and clung to higher uninsured rates and more expensive care.
– Nearly everyone’s insurance premiums will increase, regardless of your health and age.”

DeCample closes with a plea for his FB followers to light up the U.S. Senate switchboard by saying this:

“Finally, a personal note. Changing professional circumstances required me to switch from a small group insurance plan to an individual insurance plan in the past month. This happened seamlessly and relatively easily. My premiums are not ideal, but they are almost exactly what I paid per month under the State of Arkansas’s COBRA coverage, so I don’t consider them unreasonable. But the most important thing is this. Throughout the entire switch-over process, no one mentioned cancer. Not once. Because the ACA doesn’t let insurance companies base your coverage on your health and pre-existing conditions. Graham-Cassidy would get rid of that, to the determent and endangerment of millions of Americans like me.”

On Monday, Sen. Tom Cotton teed off on the Democratic caucus in the U.S. Senate over the issue of sequestration. Cotton wanted to lift some spending caps on defense spending, but his amendment (and others) were left in limbo due to a partisan impasse over the National Defense Authorization Act.

Cotton took to the Senate floor for a lengthy tirade. Here are some excerpts:

“So I want to clarify something about what’s going to happen this afternoon: whenever a Democratic senator says they’re worried about the state of our military, that they’re horrified at the kinds of cuts we’re making, that they can’t sleep at night because of what we’re doing to our troops in the field, don’t believe them. They don’t mean it. They’re not serious. It’s all for show. Because they had the perfect opportunity to stop all of these terrible cuts — and not just for the troops, but for their own states, for their constituents, even for their little parochial projects, and what did they do? They turned it down. They said no.”

“Well, actually, I take that back. They didn’t say no. They couldn’t even bring themselves to say no. They didn’t have the courage to say no. They did something much worse. They said nothing. Because we’re not even going to vote on the amendment I wanted to offer, which would have repealed the sequester spending cuts for defense and non-defense – defense and non-defense – spending. Now the members of this body know that I’m no fan of frivolous, pork-barrel spending, that I think a lot of the projects that my Democratic colleagues sponsor could easily fall into that category, and that we should rein that sort of thing in at a time we’re $20 trillion in debt. But I understood the only way we were going to get something done about the radical spending cuts to our military was to forge a bipartisan compromise.”

“So instead of actually saving money, all the sequester does is create an endless series of crises for Congress to escape just in the nick of time. Take this year. We all know what’s going to happen. We just passed a 3-month continuing resolution earlier this month. We’re going to reach a two-year budget agreement in October and November that doesn’t control spending. We’re going to have an omnibus in December written in secret in our leaders’ offices. And then we’re going to have another omnibus spending bill written in secret in our leaders’ offices next December. And then we’ll repeat that entire cycle over again in 2019 and 2020. How do I know that? Because it’s exactly what happened in 2013 and 2015. We’ll never make the cuts the Budget Control Act called for. We’ll just pass giant budgets that nobody’s read at the last minute in an attempt to avoid these crises of our own making.”

“My amendment was the last, best chance in years to stop this bust-and-boom cycle of budgeting. But what did the Democrats do? They threw it away. They took a perfectly good, bipartisan opportunity to repeal these automatic spending cuts, and they threw it away. You have to ask yourself what goes through the senators’ heads when they make such a cynical political calculus. Do they not understand the implications of what they’re doing? Do they not see the appalling lack of readiness that’s so apparent to everyone else? Did they not see what happened to the U.S.S. John McCain? Did they not see what happened to the U.S.S. Fitzgerald? Do they not see all those caskets, carrying dead bodies of America’s young, coming home to families in grief? Did they not see them? Or did they see them and just not care?”

Cotton went on to single out individual Senators, not by name but by state, as he decried the lack of action and vote skirting. Said Cotton:

“The junior senator from Connecticut: ‘The so-called sequester is another sad example of governing at its worst.’

The junior senator from New Jersey: ‘It is brunt, brutal, and blind.’ He gets bonus points for alliteration.

The senior senator from Virginia: ‘Sequestration is stupidity on steroids.’ I can make that claim about a lot of things said in this chamber.

The senior senator from Washington: ‘We need to replace sequestration as quickly as possible.’ Although apparently not if it requires a vote on the Cotton amendment.

The junior senator from Minnesota: ‘There are a lot of people suffering needlessly because of the sequester.’ And that’s not a joke, even coming from him.

The senior senator from New Hampshire: ‘The blind cuts of sequestration are not the right approach.’ But by all means, let’s keep them in place, rather than vote on the Cotton amendment.

The senior senator from Connecticut: ‘The safety and strength of our nation also require that Congress eliminate the rightly-maligned sequestration straightjacket for all federal programs.’ Maligned, yet not repealed.

And my favorite, the senior senator from Rhode Island, the senior Democrat on the Armed Services Committee: ‘Instead of dodging fiscal responsibility, Republicans need to help end sequestration and get back to a normal budget process.’

Well, Republicans gave you a perfect example to do that, sir. And you turned it down.”

Cotton goes on to say that Democrats are practicing “politics of the lowest kind” by “putting politics ahead of our troops.” He concludes:

“Because if they weren’t, they’d allow a vote on this amendment. They’d vote aye. And they’d vote aye eagerly. And they’d vote aye enthusiastically. But they can’t even do that. They can’t even put their names down as a yes or a no on something they’ve all said they support for years. So, they just hide behind procedure. They hide in their cloak room, they hide from the voters. They hide in the back corridors and hallways of this building. They hide to save their own skin. They hide because they’re ashamed. And they sure as hell should be ashamed.

Madam president, I yield the floor.
Editor’s note: ‘Notes from the Campaign Trail’ is a compilation of various political insider tidbits.

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