Edelman Public Affairs 5 in 5: 2018 Policy Priorities

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While national media headlines suggest a different story, critical – but perhaps less sensational – issues such as immigration, health care, data privacy and net neutrality still sit front-and-center with key members in the United States Congress.

This is the first in a periodic series we’re calling the “5 in 5” – five short, rapid fire questions capturing the pulse of what issues are driving both sides of the aisle on the Hill right now.

1.) Tell us an important issue that you think should get more media attention?

House Republican Chief of Staff

We must find a way to make sure that we are regulating the digital industry fairly while protecting our first amendment rights. In the time of “fake news,” where can our constituents go get accurate information? I believe these problems, and frankly, the extreme divide in our country right now begins with false, or, more so, not entirely factual information being spread in the digital realm.

Senate Republican Chief of Staff

Social Security disability reform doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Taxpayers are on the hook for fraud and not enough is being done.

House Democrat Chief of Staff

We should look at, or ask why so many businesses are telling us that they need more workers, yet real wages have remained stagnant?  Why are businesses refusing to raise wages to attract the workers they say they need?

2. ) What issue(s) has/have risen to the top of your priority list, outside of the obvious such as SCOTUS, tariffs, mid-terms, or other news of the day?

House Republican Chief of Staff

Net neutrality.  It has been at the top of our priority list since day one in Congress. Since my boss is a member of Judiciary, it went from a new issue to one that he had to get educated on very quickly. It became news-of-the-day later – before it was “in the news”, it was already a hot topic in our office and on committee.

House Democrat Chief of Staff

Immigration and health care.

3.) How did you first hear about these issues, and where was the information coming from? (For example was it from lobbyists, constituents, media, peers, write-in/call-in campaigns, or something else).

House Republican Chief of Staff

Our office has prioritized Net Neutrality since day one in Congress. We heard about this from constituents and through write-in campaigns. We received hundreds of emails, faxes and calls daily from constituents.  Constituents were commenting on whatever medium they could to get our attention. On social media, they [constituents] would comment on every Facebook post and made sure we were communicating back with them. Lobbyists didn’t really engage us on the issue until it was on the front page or news of the day.

House Democrat Chief of Staff

Both [immigration and healthcare] have been major issues for decades – I can’t point out one of these single methods.

4.) What stood out to you, or made it resonate with you?

House Democrat Chief of Staff

[On both healthcare and immigration], it was important to have the broad interest of Members of our Caucus and have them reflect and share what they are hearing from constituents and interest groups.

5.) Did this lead your office/Member to take any official action? If so, what? (For example, press releases, floor statements, amendments, bills, meetings in DC or your state/district)

Senate Republican Chief of Staff

We’re working on legislative reforms and continuing discussion with other Members of Congress and Committees of jurisdictions on existing ideas and ways to improve [our current healthcare system].

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