WHEN POLITICAL ACTION OCCURS
FMA?s annual Day on the Hill at the National Convention is the start of the organization's yearly legislative advocacy efforts. However, Day on the Hill is only the beginning. The key to legislative success is follow-up and polite persistence. It is easier to forget an issue if no one is there to speak out on it.
Political action occurs when FMA leaders and chapter presidents take the initiative to encourage their fellow members to act. If you are not calling your Members of Congress to take action that is favorable to your interests, do not assume that someone else is making these calls on your behalf.
WHERE POLITICAL ACTION OCCURS
Former House Speaker Tip O'Neill coined the popular aphorism, "all politics is local." The most effective lobbying operations in our nation's capital take this truism to heart. Meeting with Members when they are back in their states and districts and keeping in touch with key Capitol Hill staffers throughout the year are the best ways to build important relationships and to help build a receptive audience for FMA's views and concerns. In addition, attending fundraisers in your Members' home district/state is another great way to build relationships.
WHAT POLITICAL ACTION FMA IS SEEKING
The most important tool in FMA's legislative operation is legislative action that emerges from FMA's grassroots campaigns. Constituent voices make the largest impact on Capitol Hill. Here are two examples of the type of legislative action FMA typically seeks:
Example 1 : Cosponsorship of Legislation Favored by FMA:
In March of 2009, Senator Daniel Akaka (D-Haw.) introduced legislation (S. 674) which would provide for the establishment and authorization of funding for certain training programs for federal managers and supervisors. Senator Akaka first introduced this bill in the 110th Congress and it continues to sit on the forefront of FMA's legislative agenda. It is also one example of a current active FMA grassroots campaign. FMA is seeking cosponsors for this bill because the more cosponsors a bill has, the more likely it will see action on the House and Senate floors. There is a model congressional action letter on this issue and others available at www.fedmanagers.org.
Example 2 : Opposition to Legislation Pending Before Congress:
During the 112th Congress, Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) introduced legislation calling for the termination of federal employees who are delinquent with tax payment. The Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act (H.R. 249) targets federal employees who are in outstanding debt to the federal government and a public lien has been filed. The bill also prohibits the federal government from hiring individuals with a history of tax delinquency. Through grassroots efforts, we were able to garner opposition from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, and as a result, the bill never made it out of Congress.