• Changes to Congress.org

    Dear Congress.org user,

    CQ Roll Call, the inventor of online advocacy, is excited to announce we will soon be rolling out several changes to Congress.org.

    The updated site will introduce a new type of blog, Engaged! focusing  on advocacy best practices that will lead to more effective Engagement.  Discussions will focus on how to effectively execute a campaign, drive Engagement, and insight on tools to reach Congress and your audience with your message.  The new Congress.org will take a look at how organizations are creating a groundswell around their issues and facilitating and organizing the conversation online.  The Engaged! blog will help you move your advocacy campaign beyond letter writing and Facebook likes, to real action.

    Over the next few days, as we make these changes, there will be a few features of the current Congress.org that may be inactive from time to time, so we wanted to take a moment and thank you for your patience.

    Stay tuned!

    The New Roll Call Debuts


    A new and improved RollCall.com is available. Showcasing the best of the CQ Roll Call newsroom, the new Roll Call will increase its frequency by publishing Monday through Friday. It will feature the acclaimed Congressional and political reporting Roll Call has been known for, along with the must-read legislative coverage from the most credible and objective newsroom covering Capitol Hill*. Roll Call will also feature CQ Roll Call’s hallmark Daybook, the most trusted listing of Congressional and DC-based events available.

    Visit Roll Call at RollCall.com.

    Gun Debate Overtaken by Budget Fight

    Roll Call‘s Meredith Shiner reports:

    Senate action on two of President Barack Obama’s top priorities this year — gun violence and immigration — will likely be delayed until April at the earliest, as budget issues yet again consume all of Washington’s political oxygen and capital.

    Though Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., on Monday announced a Thursday markup for a series of gun bills, Congress must first address a March 27 deadline to avoid a government shutdown, the implementation of $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts this year and a budget resolution. That means any gun violence measure is unlikely to hit the floor for another six weeks and that any immigration overhaul would be slated following the gun debate.

    With the White House focused almost exclusively on pressuring Republicans to replace the sequester with a plan that includes targeted tax hikes, Senate aides suggested Monday that the president likely wouldn’t re-engage fully on gun issues until after budget matters had been resolved. Those aides added that any gun legislation won’t get the kind of significant consideration needed for passage until after the Easter recess.

     

    Full story on RollCall.com

    Unusual Allies Fight Sequester Cuts

    Disparate groups have found something to agree on: Stop the upcoming sequester cuts.

    Roll Call‘s Kate Ackley reports:

    Defense industry insiders joined with advocates for public health, research universities and other sectors that rely on federal funds Monday to issue a combined call to stop the upcoming sequester cuts.

    The rare display of unity among groups that are often pitted against one another underscored shared concern over the across-the-board budget cuts scheduled to hit nondiscretionary spending March 1.

    “We’re going to rise and fall together in this debate,” Emily Holubowich, the executive director of the Coalition for Health Funding and co-chairwoman of NDD United, said at a morning news conference at the National Press Club. “Working separately wasn’t working, clearly.”

    Full story available on RollCall.com.

    K Street Sees Surge in Unregistered Lobbyists

    Is K Street, the D.C. metaphor for the lobbying industry, slowing down? Not so, says CQ Roll Call, citing a lot of work being done by unregistered lobbyists — people who keep their work just under the limit of the lobby laws.

    From CQ Roll Call:

    The tepid recovery and a dysfunctional Congress do bear blame, but a third, much overlooked factor exists: A lot of the work influencing government takes place in the shadows, outside of the view of public disclosures such as the LDA. And with a president who has further stigmatized registered lobbyists, K Streeters and some of their clients have made a practice of keeping their work just under the limits of the lobby laws.

    In some cases, lobbyists have remained on the job, even with the same firms, but have deregistered, keeping their clients and their work secret. One prominent example is Steve Ricchetti, who stayed with his Ricchetti Inc., although no longer as a registered lobbyist, before joining the Obama administration last year. Lobbyists, of course, can’t work for the executive branch — President Barack Obama banned them — unless granted a waiver.

    [...]

    More than the economy, more than the partisan gridlock on the Hill, Thurber asserted, it’s the lack of enforcement of lobbying laws and the resulting move to keep more lobbying work out of public view that is depressing the LDA tallies. K Street players don’t trigger the lobby law until they make more than one contact with government officials and spend at least 20 percent of their time on lobbying activities for compensation.

    Full story on RollCall.com.

    Hagel Faces Former Colleagues in Confirmation Hearing

    Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call
    Hagel defended his record on national security issues at his confirmation hearing Thursday before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

    Facing down some of his former Senate colleagues from both sides of the aisle, Chuck Hagel directly defended his record on national security issues at his confirmation hearing Thursday before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

    CQ Roll Call’s Megan Scully reports:

    Hagel, a two-term Republican senator from Nebraska who retired in 2008, assured the panel that no single vote, quote or statement defines him, his beliefs or his record.

    “My overall worldview has never changed: that America has and must maintain the strongest military in the world; that we must lead the international community to confront threats and challenges together; and that we must use all the tools of American power to protect our citizens and our interests,” said Hagel, a Vietnam veteran. “I believe, and always have beleived, that America must engage in the world, not retreat from the world.”

     

    Read the full story on RollCall.com.

    Watch the Hagel confirmation hearing live on RollCall.com.

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