AUGUST 6, 2021
Reconnecting with your Elected Officials over August Recess
Plus, a last look at the state of play
Before explaining our trajectory for our News & Notes updates for the August recess, we wanted to provide you a very quick update of what happened this week and what remains to be done. This week, with the House out of town for August, the Senate turned its attention to the final homestretch of the infrastructure bill, with a vote expected on Saturday. You can read WSW’s full report here. As our report indicates, following the Senate’s likely passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill, it’ll immediately turn its attention to the $3.5 trillion Democrats-only bill, which is expected to pass as well. Then, the ball will be in the House’s court. However, Speaker Pelosi has already said that the House likely will not take up neither the bipartisan infrastructure bill nor the Democrats-only bill until the fall. Beyond this salient issue, Congress will have to account for the end of the FY21 fiscal year as well as the debt limit, as well as other hot button issues.
With Congress in recess over the coming weeks, your WSW team will be providing a weekly series of material that we typically would put to the side with the hustle and bustle of Washington. This week, we focus on how to effectively engage your local officials.
For many, summer is the time to get away and relax. For Members of Congress, summer, particularly August, is the best time to interact with constituents at local events. While some of this interaction may be restricted to a virtual setting this year, the age-old adage remains true: “all politics is local.” It’s a phrase you’ve probably heard before, famously coined by former House Speaker Tip O’Neill. O’Neill understood that it was critical for him to know what mattered most in his community, to his constituents, rather than the national hot button issue of the day.
Why is this important to you? Being an effective advocate for yourself or your organization depends on having an understanding of what is important to your community, and in turn, what your Member of Congress is focused on. So, this month as you enjoy your final weeks of the summer, take some time to reflect on the following questions:
- What issues matter most in your community?
- How do the goals of your organization reflect (or conflict) with the goals and aspirations of your neighbors?
- Does your organization support jobs, educational opportunities, research and product development, or other initiatives important to the community?
These questions will help you frame your work and your legislative asks to most effectively engage your Member of Congress when they return to Washington, DC. Be prepared to describe your work and your issue in such a way that you remind your Member of Congress of the integral, positive role you play in your community. All 435 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and 34 U.S. Senators are going to be up for reelection just over a year from now. August is a great time to reconnect back home, and now is the time to start thinking about how — between now and early November 2022 — to remind your elected officials of the importance of your organization to their community and to their constituents.