April 18, 2014

The Next Generation of Leadership

I hear House Democrats express admiration for their House Republican counterparts for how Republican leadership has changed to younger generations. The Cantors or the Kevin McCarthys. At some point, you are likely to see a change up in the Democratic leadership. It will not happen anytime soon, there is just universal admiration for Nancy Pelosi. But there are Members looking to the next generation, looking to Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Xavier Bacerra, or Chris von Holllen. It will not be this election, or even the next, but it is inevitable that there will be a change in the leadership line up.

April 17, 2014

Good Policy Should Trump Partisan Politics

I was in New Orleans last week Friday and Saturday. I went down with Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who heads up the DNC. Along with Chris von Hollen, Steve Israel, Xavier Becerra, Wasserman Schultz is one of the stars of the next generation for Democrats. I continue to hear stories of partisanship, particularly in the House. Some of the stories just do not make sense to me. Throughout the course of a week, I hear Democrats complaining about Republican partisanship and Republicans complaining about Democrats. What surprises me is that a lot of issues that in years past would have been noncontroversial and extremely bipartisan are now cast in the like of partisanship and the 2014 elections.

Over the weekend, while in New Orleans, I had a freshman Democrat tell me about how he was working with a freshman Republican on an issue of real importance to their state, only at the last minute to have the Republican pull out because of partisan politics. There comes a point at which enough is enough. Good legislation, good policy should always trump politics. It doesn’t though and it hasn’t for some time.

April 16, 2014

CSBG Reauthorization

We had a good trial run working with Congressional offices on the CSBG reauthorization bill. We intentionally started with friendly territory, with Members that are inclined to be supportive. We went into meetings anticipating their questions and figuring out how to be best prepared. Some questioned why we started with our friends or with Members that are not on our committee. But we started with our friends so we could hear what kind of questions they raised, what facts they wanted to know. There was little risk to us if they asked questions we were not prepared to answer. 

Now we are better prepared so that as we enter into hostile territory, and we clearly are entering into hostile territory with some Hill visits and meetings, we are better prepared. The next few days we will be focusing on making sure we have our A-game ready. Even though Congress is out for two weeks, we are still meeting with senior staff and collecting information. We are still working toward assembling a bipartisan coalition. So far, we have had no surprises but it will be interesting to see as we move forward with the next round of meetings if we still have the same approach in two weeks from now.