April 25, 2014

Another Weekend Away from Home

I will be spending the upcoming weekend with House Republicans at a weekend retreatI always debate whether I want to or should attend these events. It is yet another weekend away from home, as least Friday and Saturday. It also takes a little bit of money to participate and travel like this. But I find overall these retreats are one way to really builds relationships with Members. These weekends are helpful in that they give me a better understanding of the different sorts of subtleties of Members. Spending quality time with them gives me a sense of their priorities or what issues they really care about. It is especially helpful in times like this, as we are working the Hill. So, while it is another weekend away from home, I believe it is a necessary thing. I want to continue participating in these types of events. I will as long as I can afford to.

April 23, 2014

Weatherization is Complicated

I have been spending time on the Hill, working on weatherization and it has been giving me a bit of trouble lately. I have not quite worked out the arguments to my satisfaction for 2014 appropriations with 2013 money sitting DOE yet. For so small a program, the politics around Weatherization are much more difficult than a casual observer would believe. All the competition wants our money. There remains myths of how much is left over from the stimulus. DOE has been slow in releasing funds to the states. 

Working through the arguments while engaging Congress is probably the most complicated with Weatherization, more so than any other program I have lobbied for or am involved with. With CSBG, you go in, you make an argument about what an agency is doing, you talk about what that work means to the community, and you talk about what we need from that Member. With Weatherization, we have to work through all the questions about why money is not released from DOE, what performance under stimulus was, and talk about all the groups that want to be part of the weatherization funding allocation. A lot of times, those preliminary questions take up half the meeting. Weatherization is complicated.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz

As I mentioned before, I recently spent time with Debbie Wasserman Schultz the Congresswoman from Florida. I haven’t dealt with her much as the head of the Democratic National Committee, but as a Member on appropriations and as a Member of the House Democratic leadership. I am really impressed with her. She is going to be a superstar among House Democrats. You cannot help but immediately notice the quickness of her comprehension of issues and the sharpness of her questions. Her ability to get right to the critical point or to identify the critical question is pretty amazing. Occasionally you run across a Member, from either side of the aisle, that just really impresses you. She does that. I predict big things for Debbie Wasserman Schultz.