What happens in Congress affects all of our lives and extends into every corner of the economy. Because so much is at stake there, businesses and other interest groups spend billions of dollars each year trying to influence legislation.
Yet, most of these efforts are doomed to futility from the outset. Only a small percentage of the bills introduced in Congress actually become law, and most interested parties do not fully understand why those few bills succeed. More importantly, how to get Congress to do what they want remains a mystery to them.
This book will help you understand Congress. Written from the perspective of one who has helped put a lot of bills on the president's desk and helped stop a lot more, this book explains in everyday terms why Congress behaves as it does. Then it shows you how you can best deploy whatever resources you have to move Congress in your direction.
Because you have limited time, this book sticks to the basics and its chapters are short so that it can be digested rapidly.
Ch. 1 What You Don't Know About Congress Can Hurt Your OrganizationCh. 2 How to Use This Book
Table of Contents
Part I: How Congress WorksA. The Internal Dynamics of CongressCh. 3 Members of CongressCh. 4 Party LeadersCh. 5 Committees, Chairs, and Ranking MembersCh. 6 StaffCh. 7 The RulesB. External Influences on CongressCh. 8 The PresidentCh. 9 The Departments and Agencies Ch. 10 The CourtsCh. 11 The News Media Ch. 12 Interest Groups and LobbyistsCh. 13 The Public and Public OpinionCh. 14 Elections
Part II: How You Can Influence CongressA. Facts of LifeCh. 15 Self-InterestCh. 16 EgoCh. 17 IdeologyCh. 18 CreditCh. 19 InertiaCh. 20 Size of MajorityB. Personal ToolsCh. 21 ConstituencyCh. 22 ReputationC. Intellectual ToolsCh. 23 GoalsCh. 24 TimingCh. 25 PositioningCh. 26 Quality of IdeasCh. 27 Facts and ArgumentsD. Environmental ToolsCh. 28 SignalsCh. 29 AlliesCh. 30 The ChampionE. Practical ToolsCh. 31 MoneyCh. 32 GrassrootsCh. 33 GrasstopsCh. 34 The InternetF. OpportunitiesCh. 35 The MeetingCh. 36 The HearingCh. 37 The MarkupCh. 38 Floor ConsiderationCh. 39 The ConferenceCh. 40 CrisisG. Long-Term ConsiderationsCh. 41 PatienceCh. 42 IntensityCh. 43 CourageCh. 44 Understanding Ch. 45 Conclusion
AppendicesA. The Constitutional Basics B. Tips on Hiring a Lobbyist C. The Roles of Party LeadersD. How a Hearing WorksE. How a Markup Works Index
JOSEPH GIBSON has worked in the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the federal government. He has lobbied members of Congress and their staffs, advocated on behalf of the executive branch, and argued cases in federal and state courts.
He grew up in Waycross, Georgia, and then attended Yale University, where he received a bachelor's degree in political science. After graduation, he spent a year working as a staffer on the Senate Judiciary Committee. He then went to Yale Law School, where he earned his JD degree.
After law school, he clerked for the Hon. R. Lanier Anderson, III, of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Macon, Georgia. He then returned to Washington where he spent the next six and a half years as a litigator with private law firms.
In 1995 Mr. Gibson was appointed as an antitrust counsel for the House Judiciary Committee under Chairman Henry Hyde of Illinois. From there, he rose to chief antitrust counsel for the committee. In 2002 he became a deputy assistant attorney general representing the legislative interests of the Department of Justice.
In 2003, he returned to the House Judiciary Committee as its chief legislative counsel and parliamentarian under Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin. After two years there, he became chief of staff to Representative Lamar Smith of Texas. After the 2006 election, he became chief minority counsel of the committee. He has now returned to the private sector where he lobbies on antitrust, intellectual property, and other business issues. Prior to establishing his own firm, The Gibson Group, he practiced with the law firm of Constantine Cannon LLC.
He and his wife, Heath, live in Washington and New York with their daughter. The views expressed in Persuading Congress are entirely his own and do not necessarily represent those of any other person or group.
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- Preparing and Delivering Congressional Testimony
- Writing for Government and Business: Critical Thinking and Writing
- Writing to Persuade
- Understanding Congressional Budgeting and Appropriations
- Advanced Federal Budget Process
- Drafting Effective Federal Legislation and Amendments
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Rave Reviews"We are all -- every one of us -- members of several 'special interests.' By providing a practical guide to lobbying, Persuading Congress demystifies the ways in which citizens can influence legislation and achieve their public policy objectives. Anyone who wants to make a difference through legislation -- not just executives -- needs to read this book, master its lessons, and keep it handy."
"I just finished reading your book, Persuading Congress, after completing a stint on the Hill as a [think-tank legislative fellow] earlier this fall. Thank you for such a straightforward, concise and insightful book. I only wish I had come across it before I started my fellowship. Needless to say, I'm recommending it to colleagues. I have no doubt I will continue to turn to your insights as I explore what the next chapter may hold in my career in DC. "
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