Whether you agree with this “piling on” approach or not, it’s effective. Clearly, the timeframe of passage impacts both the types of strategies you use in your influence campaign, as well as how extensively you use them. A couple hours of research might be appropriate for a decision to be made within a few weeks, while several weeks (and, indeed, ongoing analysis) would be appropriate for causes that will take several years to finalize one way or another. At the same time, you may need to build a foundation over time in order to take advantage of a “spur of the moment” opportunity. Rep. Shimkus introduced the 9-1-1 improvement act in July of 2011. He and his allies were well positioned – and early on.
Overall, when playing the influence game recognize that some “yeses” are easier to get to than others depending on all these factors. The easiest tend to be short term “must do” decisions that are non-controversial and not action-oriented. On the more difficult end of the spectrum are controversial, optional decisions that require your decision maker to take proactive action. If you know the nature of what you’re selling, you can find where you are on this spectrum, and plan your strategy accordingly. If your idea is a little on the controversial side, look for opportunities to connect it with those on the “easier” end of the spectrum. This is a tried and true legislative strategy that works.