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Fat City

12:36 PM, Jan 28, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
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Happy days are here again on K Street.  As Kevin Bogardus and Erik Wasson of the Hill write, with Congress debating individual spending bills instead of simply passing continuing resolutions:

Lobbyists are seeing dollar signs with the return of “regular order” to Capitol Hill. They are brimming with anticipation for a year of hearings, markups and floor votes on appropriations legislation that would decide how the government divvies up around $1.1 trillion in federal cash. 

This is an interesting, if predictable, development.  And one does wonder exactly how bad things are for the influence industry at any time. 

Still, listen to Jim Walsh, former Republican representative and member of the House Appropriations Committee, now “a government affairs counselor at K&L Gates.”  Walsh says a:

… return to “regular order” would benefit the country and open up new possibilities for K Street. “There is opportunity for spending. There is opportunity for authorization. There is opportunity for message sending. ... There is opportunity for Congress to tell the administration that they disagree with them on something, which is something our clients will be interested in.”

And the best part for Washington might be that all this means good times, as well, for those who make it their business to keep an eye on K Street and Congress in the public’s behalf. (If you thought that was the job of Congress, well …)

Watchdog groups are also expecting to be more active as they scrutinize the coming spending bills, and foresee floor fights with lobbyists working to protect pet projects. “It helps traditional lobbyists, and it helps other organizations that would like to reform what government is doing,” said Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste.

In the Imperial City, this goes down as a win-win.

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