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Bipartisan Leadership: A Conversation with Trent Lott
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
This was part two of an ongoing series regarding the United States federal government’s focus on public health in the U.S. Watch part one with former Senator Thomas Daschle here.
Senator Trent Lott represented the people of Mississippi in Congress for 35 years and is one of a handful of officials to have held elected leadership positions in both the House of Representatives and Senate. During his 16 years in the House and 19 years in the Senate, he worked closely with seven presidential administrations and was regarded as a savvy coalition builder and deal maker. He was the former Senate Majority Leader, Senate Republican Whip and House Republican Whip.
Senator Lott joined the House in 1973, representing Mississippi’s Fifth Congressional District. From 1981 to 1989 he served as House Minority Whip, the second-ranking Republican in the House. In that position he forged the bipartisan alliance that enacted Ronald Reagan’s economic recovery program and national security initiatives. He also founded the House’s first modern whip organization with a focus on regular member-to-member contacts and extensive outreach to sympathetic Democrats to secure passage of major legislation.
In 1988 Senator Lott was elected to the Senate where he was a member of a group of pro-growth stalwarts who opposed the tax increase forced on President Bush in 1990. He became the Senate’s 16th Majority Leader in 1996 and, along with Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, was instrumental in the passing of the historic welfare reform bill of 1996. The next year Senator Lott worked with Gingrich and congressional Budget Committee chairmen John Kasich and Pete Domenici to produce a landmark budget and tax cut agreement that limited some federal spending while, more importantly, stimulating the economic growth that brought the federal budget into balance for the first time since 1968.
As the Republican leader in the Senate during the first two years of President George W. Bush’s administration, Senator Lott led the fight for passage of the President’s tax cut package, the President’s historic education reform bill, the largest increase in defense spending since the Cold War, the most significant trade legislation in a decade, and the resolution supporting the President of military action in Iraq. Senator Lott later helped to reach the compromises leading to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.
In 2006 Senator Lott was elected Senate Republican Whip, giving him the distinction of being the only person to hold that position in both the House and Senate.
Today Senator Lott co-chairs the Public Policy practice and provides strategic advice at Squire Patton Boggs, consulting and lobbying clients on a wide range of public policy matters, including defense and homeland security, tax and financial services, energy, transportation and communications. Senator Lott and fellow former Senator John Breaux founded the Breaux-Lott Leadership Group, a bipartisan public policy firm that quickly became one of the 20 largest government relations firms in Washington.