Benefits to Using a Lobbyist

Washington LobbyistMany different types of organizations can benefit from using a lobbyist to get their voice heard in government. From Non-Profit Organizations and Associations to large and small for-profit businesses, lobbyists can take your message to Congress and even local and state governments. Lobbyists enable organizations to draft legislation, develop strategies for new regulations, connect and stay informed, and proactively reach out to elected officials prior to new policies being drafted. …

What does a Lobbyist do?

Lobbying” seems to have become a dirty word in recent years given the recent illegal activities of former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The truth of the matter is the current laws caught Jack Abramoff.  Lobbying accomplished ethically and professionally is making sure the proper government officials hear and understand both sides of an issue before making a decision. Lobbyists are hired by an association, corporation, non-profit organization and even communities to get their voice heard by (and hopefully influence) our policy makers. Every school child knows the phrase “No taxation without representation”. In today’s world, lobbyists ARE the representation of associations & businesses to our elected governmental representatives.…

The Immigration Debate pt.1

Immigration reformRepublican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich recently sparked the immigration debate by commenting during a GOP debate last week that the US should have a “humane” immigration policy.  Gingrich has since clarified his position by stating to multiple media outlets that “I am not for amnesty for anyone. I am not for a path to citizenship for anybody who got here illegally…But I am for a path to legality for those people whose ties run so deeply in America that it would truly be a tragedy to try and rip their family apart.“…

Congress Returns from Thanksgiving with a Full Plate

Congress returns from Thansgiving with Full PlateWith only 12% of the U.S. approving of their job performance1, Congress returns this week to try and salvage their do-nothing reputation by completing multiple unresolved issues before the end of the year. From unemployment to payroll deductions, Congress is about to make some decisions that will affect almost every American.

How will these issues impact your business?…

  1. Real Clear Politics 11/17/11 []

Senate Committee Passes Surface Transportation Bill

Transportation lobbyistsRecently, the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee adopted 18-0,  the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century, or MAP-21, bill (S. 1813). The transportation bill now moves to the Senate floor where it faces much uncertainty as Committee members were unable to reach a consensus on a number of amendments, some of which are likely to be offered on the floor.  In addition, S. 1813 needs additional funding through offsets totaling $12 billion, the gap between current Highway Trust Fund tax revenues and the bills authorized spending level. …

FY 2013 Federal Budget Will Be Leaner

Leaner 2013 budgets Federal departments and agencies are busy working on their annual budget submissions to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for FY 2013 that begins October 1, 2012. This is part of the ongoing federal budget process that culminates in the release of the Administration’s budget each year in early February.  By statute, the President is required to submit an annual budget to Congress.  Even by Washington standards there’s irony to this event because typically the President’s budget (no matter the political party) is dead on arrival on Capitol Hill as each chamber of the U.S. Congress adopts their own budget resolution each year. But Congress has failed for multiple years under majorities in both political parties to produce a budget resolution in each chamber for the federal fiscal year.…

Super Committee May Not Produce Super Results

Super CommitteeSince its creation, the Washington, DC lobbying corp has given the 12-member Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (Super Committee) only about a 25% chance of success at reaching a consensus on a $1.2 trillion deficit reduction package. Unfortunately given the past two weeks of vacillation and the November 23 deadline fast approaching, it turns out they may be right.

Amidst dire warnings about the impacts of deep cuts in military spending from Pentagon officials and leading economists warnings of dire consequences of lost U.S. confidence in global markets, congressional members of the Super Committee could not reach consensus on multiple proposals which surfaced during the week of November 7-11.  In fact, the plan receiving the most consensus among members only includes cuts of about $400 – $600 billion.…

Super Committee Holds Another Public Hearing

On Wednesday, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (JSCDR) held their third public hearing to focus on federal government discretionary spending.  The hearing comes just one day after what is being reported as heated discussions took place over entitlement and tax reforms in a closed meeting of the JSCDR.

CBO (Congressional Budget Office) Director Doug Elmendorf testified before the JSCDR on discretionary spending which totaled $1.277 trillion in 2011, or 40 percent of all federal outlays.…

Senate Action on Agriculture Appropriations

Recently the US Senate invoked cloture by a vote of 82-16 on the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies FY 2012 Appropriations Bill.  By invoking cloture the Senate limits debate on the bill for up to 30 hours and allows for debate on amendments. (Cloture is a motion or process aimed at bringing debate to a quick end.)

The Senate adjourned on Friday and will reconvene after their scheduled recess on October 31. Several amendments have been filed to the Agriculture Appropriations bill.  As reported earlier, the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Bill is part of a minibus package with Transportation-Housing and Urban Development, and Commerce-Justice-Science.…

Super Committee on Deficit Reduction Receives Proposals

Super CommitteeFriday, October 14 was the deadline for recommendations to the 12-member Super Committee on Deficit Reduction on how to cut federal spending by up to $1.2 trillion.  With the Nov. 23 deadline for the super committee to unveil a proposal fast approaching, no one is certain how the 12-member Committee will go through the mounds of proposals, emails and data they have, and are continuing to receive. National Journal is reporting that “few if any of the suggestions (received) are likely to be innovative or ground-breaking in terms of policy.”

Yesterday, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Ranking Member Pat Roberts (R-KS) met with US House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MM) sent their proposal that cuts $23 billion from the agriculture budget baseline.  This may allow the agriculture committees to complete the next Farm Bill by the end of this session.…

DHS Reauthorization Moving In Both Legislative Chambers

On October 13 the US House Committee on Homeland Security adopted its version of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (HR 3116) by a vote of 19 to 13.  The legislation codifies in statute key functions and missions of DHS and provides the necessary tools, guidance, and direction to fulfill its responsibilities.

Among its many provisions, the bill authorizes the Securing the Cities Program to help prevent a nuclear or radiological attack in high-risk metropolitan areas, and reauthorizes first responder grant programs. The bill also directs DHS to provide assurances that it is expeditiously working to develop and implement measures and metrics for the evaluation of grant expenditures. To review the legislation click on: http://homeland.house.gov/sites/homeland.house.gov/files/DHS_Auth.pdf

The measure now goes to the floor of the House of Representatives.…

Appropriations Minibus Will Include Agriculture and Another CR Through mid-December

The House and Senate are set to adopt three combined appropriations bills, dubbed “Minibus,” and send them to President Obama by the end of this week.  Under an agreement reached earlier between leaders of the House and Senate the appropriations bills include

The combined bills total just over $180 billion in annual spending. 

The federal government remains under a Continuing Resolution (CR) until this Friday, November 18. With this deadline fast approaching, lawmakers will attach another CR to the Minibus in order to keep the federal government operating thrrough mid-December.  Congress will adjourn on Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday and upon their return continue working to complete the remaining annual appropriations bills.…

Solyndra: Lessons on Incentives & Private Capital

Incentives in investmentsAt the stroke of midnight on Friday September 30, the Department of Energy program that funded the now-defunct solar company, Solyndra, ceased to exist.

But, before the program ended, government officials approved ANOTHER $4.7 billion in loan guarantees to four more clean energy projects: SunPower Corporation, Project Amp, Antelope Valley Solar and Desert Sunlight.  Because the U.S. taxpayers are solely at risk in financially backing their efforts, let’s hope these companies fair better than Solyndra.  But let’s also learn an important lesson going forward about venture capital and the roles of government and the private sector.…

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