There was minimal rancor yesterday over House and Senate changes to President Obama's budget proposal. In fact, there was almost no rancor at all. Instead, the administration and Harry Reid and conservative Democrats in the Senate seemed all too thrilled with one another.
That will please some liberal grassroots organizations, and should be of particular interest to a campaign called Rebuild and Renew America Now, comprised of over 40 progressive interest groups aligned to usher Obama's budget through the Congress largely unmolested.
David Elliot, communications director for the group USAction, a member of the campaign, says the members (or as many as possible) convene for a daily 10:30 a.m. conference call to discuss budget issues and strategy.
Among their considerations is the crucial role Blue Dogs and conservative Democrats will play in the passage (or blockage) of Obama's agenda. For its part, USAction began airing ads in the districts of conservative Reps. Marion Berry, (D-AR), Allen Boyd, (D-FL), Charlie Melancon (D-LA), Bob Etheridge, (D-NC), and Chet Edwards (D-TX) urging them to "resist special interests and vote for [Obam's budget]. All of them serve on the House Budget Committee. Four of them officially belong to the Blue Dog Caucus.
Similarly, the labor-backed group Americans United for Change (also part of the Renew and Rebuild campaign) went live with ads today in 11 states and Washington D.C. to pressure critics like Kent Conrad and the newly christened Moderate Dems Working Group to support Obama's budget.
These efforts might seem bold and risky, but Elliot says there's little discord within the campaign itself over tactics and organizing. By contrast there is some disagreement within the ranks of a different (somewhat overlapping) umbrella group called Unity '09, which is also dedicated to moving Obama's agenda through Congess. Some Unity participants are much less suspicious of the Blue Dogs and their Senate peers, and have been heavily critical of efforts to pressure them.
As it happens, Conrad released his proposed tweaks to Obama's budget yesterday, and, despite making relatively few substantive changes, he seems to have won for now the support of many of its critics.
Full list of Renew and Rebuild America Now member organizations below the fold.
American Progressive Caucus Policy
Americans for Democratic Action
Americans United for Change
Campaign for America's Future
Campaign for College Affordability
Campaign for Fresh Air Clean Politics
Center for American Progress
Citizens for Tax Justice
Coalition on Human Needs
Community Action Partnership
Corporation for Enterprise Development
Every Child Matters Education Fund
Food Research and Action Center
Health Care for America Now
League of Conservation Voters
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
National Low Income Housing Coalition
National Partnership for Women & Families
National Policy and Advocacy Council on Homelessness
National Priorities Project
National Women's Law Center
People For the American Way
Public Education Network
The Arc of the United States
United Cerebral Palsy
United States Student Association
US Public Interest Research Group
Wider Opportunities for Women
Women's Action for New Directions
Women's Voices Women Vote