Heat, sweat, and, now, activists are unavoidable facts of life for members of Congress in August. An army of interest groups has been pushing various causes this month.
Opponents of President Barack Obama’s health care law are demanding it be defunded. And an unusual coalition of the left and right — including local police, business groups and church leaders — is pushing for immigration reform. Their ad campaign cost $400,000, and its organizer Ali Noorani, the executive director of the National Immigration Forum, says you ignore August at your peril.
“Bills will either get closer to the finish line or die on the rocks of despair during the August recess,” he says, pointing to nearly 50 immigration roundtables his coalition held this month. “We think we have won the August recess.”
That kind of win-lose talk reminds some Congress watchers of a politician’s campaign.
“That’s the kind of thing you used to hear only from candidates,” says Allan Lichtman, an American University history professor. “So you now have a lobbyist keeping score to see who wins in terms of wielding influence as opposed to getting elected.”
Lichtman says a lot of the interest groups active this August hired Washington political operatives to advise them. They set up war rooms and rapid response teams. August is one big business opportunity for the old Washington hands, who want to impress and attract future clients, according to GOP strategist John Feehery.
“What they’re doing here is, like anything else, they’re trying to build a resume,” he says. “They’re trying to build their case that — why other people should hire them.”
So they can win August.
If you’re a member of your local public radio station, we thank you — because your support helps those stations keep programs like Marketplace on the air. But for Marketplace to continue to grow, we need additional investment from those who care most about what we do: superfans like you.
Your donation — as little as $5 — helps us create more content that matters to you and your community, and to reach more people where they are – whether that’s radio, podcasts or online.
When you contribute directly to Marketplace, you become a partner in that mission: someone who understands that when we all get smarter, everybody wins.