Lobbying on the Slow Track During Shutdown

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Thursday, 10 Oct 2013 10:25 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Congress apparently isn't in total gridlock over the budget battle between House Republicans and the White House.

Non-controversial bills with bipartisan backing still have a chance of passage and of being signed into law by President Barack Obama, The Hill reported Wednesday.

That's left lobbyists focusing on smaller issues and lowering their clients' expectations.
Lobbyists, for example, are promoting the Drug Quality and Security Act, that would establish a tracking system to stop counterfeit drugs.

"Track-and-trace is a model for the kind of legislation that has a shot in this Congress. It has bipartisan support on an issue that's very difficult to oppose, which, in this case, is drug safety," Washington lobbyist Hunter Bates told The Hill. The bill is inching through the committee process.

Lobbyists say they must be persistent.

Lobbyist Stewart Verdery told the Hill his rule of thumb is "if it's a small issue, try and keep it under the radar.

"You don't want to create controversy where there is none. You're trying to develop supporters without creating any detractors."

But sometimes, things don't go as planned. Earlier this month, J Street, which lobbies in support of the administration's Arab-Israeli peace efforts, found itself all but shut down by the shutdown.

"While still going out of their way to make time for J Street's activists, there was a sense that the priorities of those on the Hill might just be elsewhere," Tablet magazine reported.

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