Posts Tagged ‘appropriations’

Boeing “clear winner” of defense contract

Monday, February 28th, 2011 by Vbhotla

Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn said that “Boeing was the clear winner” in a competition for a the right to build refueling tankers for the U.S. Air Force.  Boeing, which overspent EADS by over $8 million in lobbying dollars since 2008 (including $5 million spent since January), beat out top competitor EADS for the highly coveted contract in the culmination of a nearly-decade-long competition.

Despite EADS’ ally in Northrop Grumman, Boeing’s alliance with the International Machinists and Aerospace Workers Association was the differencemaker in this process.  Boeing plans to build its tankers in Washington state, which relies heavily on union labor, contrasted with EADS’ plans to build in a state that does not rely on union labor — Alabama.

Last week, Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) held a joint press conference to urge President Obama to consider the dramatic subsidies European-owned EADS receives from the French government, which enable the company to Pokies beat Boeing’s bottom line.  Gulf Coast Governors drafted a letter to the president on EADS’ behalf asking him to ensure “parochial interests” did not impact the decision.

Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), Ranking Member on the Appropriations Committee, said Thursday was “one of the happiest days of my professional life,” lauding his efforts to change the Air Force’s price evaluation process as a possible contributor to Boeing’s success.  Boeing estimates the contract will allow the company to support 50,000 jobs in the state.

Boeing’s planes will burn 24% less fuel than those EADS would have made, a difference in long-term cost that was discovered after evaluating the 40-year, versus 25-year cost, a measure proposed by Dicks.

Rep. Jo Bonner (R-Ala.) said, “This competition has been challenged before, and it’s not unlikely it will be challenged again.  It will ultimately be up to EADS to determine whether they will protest this decision, and I will fully support whatever decision they make.”

Lobbying in the 112th: The Budget & Appropriations Process

Thursday, January 27th, 2011 by Vbhotla

So, you need to influence federal budgetary policy to secure funding for a program.  But earmarks are out (at least that’s what they’re telling you), and you need to find a way to still effectively do your job.

According to John Scofield of the Podesta Group, “Regulations are the new earmarks.”  What Scofield alludes to is that one way to steer funds your way could be through petitioning the executive branch , particularly the regulatory agencies who are responsible for monitoring the implementation of Congress’s budget decisions.  Lobby the agencies in conjunction with Congress; get a letter or promise of phone call from Members or staffers who are particularly geared up about your cause to support your argument before the executive branch.

Other useful tips include:

  • Develop coalitions. The more people rallying on behalf of your cause, the broader your reach, and hence, the greater the success.  Enlist stakeholders.
  • Put a personal face to the problem. Elected officials are, well, elected.  If you deploy constituents on your behalf, especially in the current climate with so many Congressional newbies in which things are more likely to happen on merit than rank, the chance of success increases exponentially.  (Advise constituents NOT to threaten not to vote for the Member.  Positive urging is more effective than threats.)
  • Consider multiple approach angles. Repetition is not a bad thing. You may consider a targeted media approach, in which you generate a series of editorials by meaningful contributors in the right publications.  Home district papers, though smaller and of less national attention, will catch the eye of particular Members and staff.  There are, however, occasions when national and online media will be useful.  Know your audience.
  • Get in early.  An appropriation enacted in March 2011 was submitted by the program 24 months earlier.  Now is not a good time to go out for bid with hopes of impacting the FY2011 budget.  And you are behind the curve on the FY2012 budget process.  The best thing to do is to submit requests ON TIME during the subcommittee mark-up.  If you don’t get into a subcommittee bill, you are unlikely to make it in at any later point of the process.
  • Make reasonable asks. Learn what Congress actually has the power to do.  Do not waste your time and energy (and the Member/staffer’s time and energy) petitioning for something the committee simply cannot do.  This is where it may come in handy to build a Congressional champion to pen a letter of support to another entity, like a regulatory agency.
  • Do your homework. Review the president’s budget justifications and incorporate your issues into the supplemental information.  Hold desk-side briefings, ask to testify at hearings.  Provide the staffers with draft questions they can ask during a hearing, whether you are involved or not.  A “protect the budget request” angle will be much more effective than an “add to the budget request.”  Find some way to relate your issue/program into the issues that are already center-stage in the committee’s mind.