A Lobby Visit on Federal Budget PrioritiesVisiting your members of Congress to talk about federal budget priorities is always a good idea, even if they aren’t on the Budget or Appropriations Committee.
- Scheduling a meeting. Decide if you want to visit as an individual advocate or as a member of a delegation representing concerns in your community. Make sure to schedule in advance, and consider a time when your legislator may be in his or her district for a congressional recess. Visit FCNL’s website for your legislator’s contact information.
- Do some background research on your legislator. The committees on which she or he serves will determine how specific your “ask” can be. For example, if your representative or senator is on the Budget Committee you can ask him or her to evaluate the military budget for wasteful spending during the budget process. Also note some of your legislator’s achievements in the area you plan to discuss, so you can begin your meeting by recognizing common goals.
- Outline your points and your specific “asks” for the meeting. Consider budget priorities that are important to you (e.g., attention to domestic spending, more money for diplomacy) and practical ways your member of Congress can address this concern. For example, if you bring up that only 6 percent of the U.S. budget for foreign engagement goes to nonmilitary tools (diplomacy, development, arms control, etc.), you could ask your member to rebuild the diplomatic corps. Check the Our Nation’s Checkbook webpage for recent articles and updates on the military budget. Read these for suggested ways to discuss budget priorities, and take the materials with you to introduce the campaign.
- After the visit, send a thank-you note to your legislator and the staff members with whom you met. Summarize the conversation and attach any new materials you’d like to share.
See FCNL’s “Eight Steps for a Successful Lobby Visit”
Learn about more ways to lobby in our grassroots toolkit.
Become a budget guru: Learn more about the federal budget process