●Concentrate on highly focused legislation of extreme importance to particular clients. “It’s sort of anomalous because a lot of people think it’s all gridlock, but government has to function, and there are rifle-shot changes that can be done,” says VH Strategies’ Bob Van Heuvelen, who spent 10 years as chief of staff for former Senate Budget Committee chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.). “Pinprick issues,” Stewart Hall calls them. “We might take a lick at a regulation in an approps [appropriations] bill, but it would be real narrow stuff, and possibly a couple of reauthorizations, the Commodity Exchange Act, but who knows?” says Hall, who co-founded Crossroads Strategies and was legislative director for Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.) in the early 1990s.
●Remember that with the reelection of Obama and the failure of Republicans to capture the Senate, three of the administration’s most contentious pieces of legislation — the Affordable Care Act, Dodd-Frank and the creation of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau — are indisputably here to stay. “With that reality comes pressure from the communities who have to live with these realities, and now we’re talking about real-world problems,” explains Raffaelli, a Senate tax counsel in the early 1980s. “So they will need to get better clarification [from Congress], and that creates opportunities to educate members,” he added, using the standard industry euphemism for lobbying.