Congressional City Conference Provides Lobbying Opportunities

Article excerpt

The 2005 Congressional City Conference will provide NLC members the opportunity to have a significant impact on the newly elected 109th Congress and President Bush's second term.

White House officials, Congressional leaders and key staff will gather with NLC members March 11-15, 2005 to initiate a dialogue between local elected officials and the Federal government on the priority issues facing municipalities.

The Congressional City Conference will culminate with City Lobby Day on March 15, when several hundred NLC members will descend upon the halls of Congress to advocate for NLC's top legislative priorities. City Lobby Day provides local elected officials the opportunity to have a significant impact on the Federal decisionmaking process.

This year, the Congressional City Conference will be an opportune time for the National League of Cities to present a powerful municipal voice in Washington. Congress must address two programs--critical to cities--that are set to expire within the first half of the year--reauthorization of a six-year transportation bill and welfare reform.

The President will also be asking Congress to act on his second-term legislative agenda. His proposals to make tax cuts permanent and reform social security, combined with pressures to reduce the soaring budget deficit and continue to support the war in Iraq will continue to put significant pressure on the housing, public safety, homeland security and education programs that are so important to cities and towns across America. The significant cut in the COPS program in the FY 2005 omnibus spending package is an indication of pressures that key municipal programs will face in the 109th Congress.

Members can advocate NLC's positions on the must-pass transportation and welfare reauthorization bills that will be in front of Congress at this time. And it will be imperative--as Congress begins to grapple with intense pressures to cut discretionary programs in the FY 2006 budget--for local elected officials to communicate the local impact of essential federal programs in your communities.

"NLC is in a unique position to influence national public policy. Our diverse, bi-partisan membership represents a cross-section of America.

"Local elected officials from Portland, Maine, to Portland, Ore., will join forces on City Lobby day to present leading Members of Congress with NLC's 2005 legislative priorities," said NLC First Vice President Anthony A. Williams, mayor of Washington, D.C.

Williams will become NLC's next president during the Annual Business Meeting on December 4 at the close of the Congress of Cities in Indianapolis, and will preside over the 2005 Congressional City Conference.

The March meeting, which will be held shortly after the new 109th Congress convenes, will be an important time to brief new members of Congress on priority municipal issues and to increase the understanding and support of existing members.

"It is imperative now more than ever for municipal officials to advocate an agenda that makes sense for America's cities. A secure homeland, comprehensive transportation programs and robust funding for our schools are important federal legislative goals of local governments. Let's band together to see these and other priorities addressed in the 109th Congress," said Mayor Williams. "I ask all NLC's members to come to Washington, D. …