Monday, February 05, 2007

Happy Budget Day

In an annual rite of February second only to Groundhog Day, today is the day the Administration delivers its multi-tome budget blueprint to Congress. The document does more than suggest spending targets – targets that are routinely ignored by Congress anyway. The budget also outlines the President’s policy goals and agenda since those programmatic assumptions are built into the budget.

Of course, this year is a far different Budget Day than in recent years. Every year I’ve been in Washington some Congressman or other calls the budget proposal “dead on arrival” but certainly with the change in congressional leadership the phrase rings truer than ever.

What’s this mean for advocacy? Plenty.

Most groups fail to keep their supporters informed until a crisis point is reached. Action alerts work best when you’ve laid a careful groundwork with advocates and they understand the issue. Begin that conversation today. Don’t just issue a press release about the budget proposal and the implications for your priorities. Talk to those folks out in the field and let them know what it means.

Next, encourage advocates to begin talking with their congressional representatives about your priorities and any budget-related issues. It’s never too early in a session to begin building that relationship and understanding between advocate and congressional staff. Most legislative battles have two components: authorization and appropriation. Many times the budget targets directly affect all the legislative action that follows. So, don’t wait to engage your grassroots.

Lastly, if you’ve got grasstops with representatives on the Budget Committee, get ‘em fired up and active.

Want to dig into the budget?

1 comment:

Bridget said...

There are some great examples of organization responding to the Pesident's budget proposal and activating members through action alerts. Check out these websites:
Smart Growth America... http://www.smartgrowthamerica.org/

American Public Transportation Association http://www.apta.com/government_affairs/washrep/2007february08.cfm