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Rahm Emanuel making Washington rounds, lobbying for aid

Mayor Rahm Emanuel. | Brian Jackson / Sun-Times

WASHINGTON — In Washington Friday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is part of a forum Friday on the future of cities, lobbying the secretary of the Department of Transportation for federal assistance for Chicago and looking for more help from the White House Office of Management and Budget in the waning days of President Barack Obama’s administration.

Emanuel is on a swing through New York, where he landed Tuesday, and Washington, where he arrived Thursday. On Wednesday, Emanuel met with President-elect Donald Trump, incoming White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and incoming senior adviser Stephen Bannon in Trump Tower.

On Thursday, though it wasn’t on Emanuel’s schedule or flagged before it happened, the mayor hit Capitol Hill for a tribute to the departing Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Harry Reid D-Nevada.

Among the luminaries at the Reid portrait unveiling, besides Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., were Vice President Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton, in one of her first public appearance since being defeated by Trump. Both are former senators who served with Reid.

Friday morning, Emanuel joins British Member of Parliament Tristram Hunt at the Brookings Institution for a discussion on the impact of the Trump victory and the June Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom.

From Brookings: “The results of this past month’s U.S. presidential election and June’s Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom mark a growing global trend of nationalism and populist fervor. Cities, despite being the potential victims of rollbacks of government investment and international engagement, have emerged as the continuing centers of ground-up economic, environmental, and social progress.”

City Hall said Emanuel will huddle with Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and visit the OMB and hinted that the mayor also will meet with other officials but would not provide more details as of Friday morning. Emanuel has a hard Jan. 20 deadline — inauguration day — to squeeze what he can from the Obama administration.

Obama has no public events on his Friday schedule. Emanuel, Obama’s former chief of staff, often drops by the Oval Office when he is roaming the White House.

Brookings’ rationale for the Emanuel/Hunt pairing: “Cities, despite being the potential victims of rollbacks of government investment and international engagement, have emerged as the continuing centers of ground-up economic, environmental and social progress.

“Indeed, U.S. and European cities have proven they are not only the engines of national economies, but also are on the front lines of solving the complex challenges of our time. Whether in educating our children, improving the quality of our infrastructure, building vibrant public spaces, or mitigating the effects of climate change, many of the most effective recent interventions have come from the local level.”

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