It’s Not Too Early to Plan for Fiscal Year 2021

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It’s Not Too Early to Plan for Fiscal Year 2021

“The Federal government is too large, and I just do not know who to approach?” All too often small and large businesses and trade /professional associations and individuals seeking Federal agency support for their programs, projects, innovations, contracts and other requests simply do not pursue (and fulfill)their objectives to target the right official in both the administration and Congress, at the right time and in the best way utilizing the process that guarantees success.

Recognizing the relative new power of federal officials to consider and make decisions on allocations of significant monies that Congress approve for their various programs, is one of the first overlooked aspects of planning for funding success.

  • Have you developed a succinct proposal(unsolicited rather than based on a bid or RFP)and provided your elected Member of Congress, both House and Senate with a copy?
  • Have you engaged with the Congressional staff whose area of interest corresponds to your proposal and interest with the agency? Presented your connection to the district/State and explained the economic impact of the proposal either from a jobs perspective, or revenue or other positive results?
  • Do you know who to contact and how best to gain an audience to make your proposal? Pre-meeting briefing-post-meeting assessment and follow-up are critical components;
  • When you brief the agency on your capabilities, have you reviewed the fiscal year allocations and programs in the prior year,or Congress’ actions in the program area, and how you can “fit into” the agencies objectives for the next FY cycle?
  • Have you properly researched the officials within the agency, both the highest levels for interaction with Congress and third party support for your request, as well as the “implementers” or agency employees that will be working on your project?

There are two key phases to target in your quest for federal funds.

The first relates to “timing,” and the ability to know the process and when to initiate your efforts both in Congress and the Federal government. For example, in the remaining three months for this 4Q 2018, have you factored in,
The final allocations(and some may change after going through a yearlong Congressional funding cycle) for FY2019, which began October 1st, and will most probably not be decided until December (the 7th is the next critical date for funding programs).

Another key date to factor in your planning is the year end final approval by the White House and the OMB for the FY2020 Federal budget presentations that will be made to Congress after the State of the Union. While many of these decisions are “embargoed” and will be held until January or February, after the State of the Union, knowledgeable professionals will have already impacted the process and decision-making way before the end of the year.

Timing also relates to the following plans for your project:

  • Leadership in Congress that will decide the FY2020 budget will alo be made in the next 90 days. Preparing the necessary requests to your Member of Congress(House and Senate),presenting your request to the applicable Appropriations Subcommittee leadership and staffs most probably after January or early February, preparing for agency interaction and some groups seek to send letters or testify in Subcommittees on their programs, which will begin in the March-May,2019 cycle;
  • While your focus in in the next Federal FY(2020) decisions in the agency have been made and programs “locked-in” for Congress’ considerations and the “drama” is in the FY2021 program development which begins in early 2019 within the agencies. Knowing the right people that can influence these decisions is critical to success.

The next decision point is “presentation.” For Congress, and in some cases within the agencies, officials and staffs do not have the time to review extensive documents, many with footnotes and text that in some cases looks like a College thesis. Summary points and materials as appendices usually win the day.

On presentations:

  1. Who goes to the presentation, and what is said in the time allotted. What third-party supporters will be marshaled to engage with the officials and how best can this action item be made?
  2. Are the facts and stats presented correct?
  3. Networking the presentation early enough in the cycle to impact the key decision points along the way—prior to submission of budget requests to the Congress, inclusion within the agency budget requests, increasing or decreasing decisions on the budget in Congress both from a Committee, Conference or other major events—each presentation must keep up with the changing environment, changing personalities involved and changing legislative dynamics.

The answer for everyone interested in how the next $1.3+Trillion dollar Federal budget will be allocated, including an estimated $749+ billion dollars provided in federal grants to state and local governments by Congress is to be sure to have a trusted and competent professional to be with you along the way—the McKeon Group is your ally in this endeavor.

By |2018-10-09T23:40:58+00:00October 9th, 2018|Budget, Congress|Comments Off on It’s Not Too Early to Plan for Fiscal Year 2021

About the Author:

John Chwat joins The McKeon Group as Senior Vice President, bringing over 47 years of Congressional experience to the firm’s clients. A native Washingtonian, John began his distinguished career on Capitol Hill in 1971, and has extensive experience at both the federal and state level representing a multi-client base of corporations, trade and professional associations, industry coalitions, foundations, museums and foreign clients. John has a vast knowledge of the inner workings of Congress and their corresponding processes, having served both Democrats and Republicans as a “Hill Professional”. John has served in the capacity of Chief of Staff to three Members of the US House of Representatives who served on the House Judiciary Committee, House Armed Services Committee, and the House Appropriations Committee. John also served as a Legislative Assistant to a member of the House Foreign Affairs and Banking Committees, and as a staff member to the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee. Continuing his service to the US Congress, he served as a national defense and foreign policy analyst for the Congressional Research Service (CRS) of the Library of Congress providing key research and reports to Committees and Members. He was a senior specialist in congressional relations for the Communications Satellite Corporation (COMSAT) and also served in the Congressional Relations Office of the United States Department of Agriculture. During his career, John has championed government relations projects for Fortune 100 companies, multi-billion dollar industries in trade associations with membership ranging from 700,000 to 2,000,000 and companies seeking to enter the federal marketplace. John has also secured millions of dollars for military museums, cultural sites around the world and secured public art exhibitions from Yellowstone National Park to the US State Department. John has expertise in the appropriations and legislative process including special achievements in weather policy, agriculture, federal procurement and surplus property. As well as many other private sector initiatives resulting in passage of Public Laws. A graduate of Georgetown University with a Master’s Degree in American Government, John holds a Juris Doctor from American University’s Washington College of Law and a Bachelor of Art degree in Political Science from Long Island University. He has taught courses on lobbying the legislative process and American government at George Mason University, Trinity College, Northern Virginia Community College and The Washington Center. Mr. Chwat brings four decades of knowledge of the Congressional process and teaches lobbying techniques and government-relations strategies to industry and trade association conventions, state and national groups, and corporate board of directors’ meetings. He has served on the Government Relations Council of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and as Chairman of ASAE’s “Advanced Institute on Government Relations.” John served on the faculty of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Organization Management. He is a past president of the House Chiefs of Staff Alumni Association (representing former Chiefs of Staff to Members of Congress). John is also a member of the Capitol Hill Club and serves as president of The American Friends of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Inc. Contact Info: johnchwat@mckeongrp.com
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