Skip to content
Sign up to receive our free weekday morning edition, and you'll never miss a scoop.
Sports on Capitol Hill, Andretti

Members advocate for Andretti; NFL presses Congress on drones

We love sports at Punchbowl News. It’s even better when sports and Congress intersect. On that front, we have two bits of news for you today.

Andretti watch: Rep. John James (R-Mich.) is leading a bipartisan group of members demanding answers from the owners of Formula 1 on why the Mario Andretti-backed General Motors team was denied admission to the prestigious racing series.

The members wrote to the head of Liberty Media Corporation — which controls Formula 1 — and said the denial represents “anti-competitive actions.” The letter also accuses Formula One Management of potentially violating antitrust laws and bowing to the influence of European race teams.

The team, a combination of Andretti Global and General Motors, would have competed with the first American-built and designed engine in Formula 1 history. Andretti met with House members on the Hill on Tuesday to lobby support for his team. He was escorted by Miller Strategies, which is run by GOP super-lobbyist Jeff Miller.

Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Jared Moskowitz (D-Fla.) and Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) also signed on to the letter.

James is hosting a press conference on the Hill today with Andretti about his team’s exclusion from F1.

NFL drones on: The NFL is again pressing Congress for help dealing with drones as the problem is growing worse for teams around the country.

We told you last year about this issue. At that time, there were more than 2,500 drone incursions over NFL stadiums.

According to the NFL, the number of such incidents rose to more than 2,845 this past year, a nearly 11% increase.

The drone numbers continue to go up,” noted Brendon Plack, the NFL’s senior vice president for public policy and government affairs.

A Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty to illegally flying a drone over January’s AFC championship game in Baltimore.

The FAA reauthorization bill includes language widening the agency’s ability to issue temporary flight restrictions (TFR) around largely attended events.

And there’s a “counter-UAS authorities” provision — unmanned aircraft systems — covering the Homeland Security and the Justice departments. The current authority expires on May 11 but would be extended until Oct. 1 under the new legislation. The league is seeking a long-term extension and expansion of this provision.

In addition, the NFL wants lawmakers to grant state and local law enforcement agencies the authority to stop these flights. Sens. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) pushed a bill on this during the last Congress but it never made it to the floor. The NFL is seeking to add this to the FAA bill.

“The threat is serious,” noted Ken Edmonds, another top NFL lobbyist. “They can be weaponized.”

— Max Cohen and John Bresnahan

Presented by The Coalition to Project American Jobs

It’s taking the IRS years to process a small business tax credit. 1M+ small business owners who filed for the Employee Retention Credit are stuck in backlog or waiting on payment for their claims. Tell the IRS to lift the moratorium now.

Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.