Feb. 7, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Democrats Feel Left in Dark

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Rep. Peter DeFazio (right) noted that there has been little contact or outreach from the White House to lawmakers on many major issues in Congress.

Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee Chairman Mark Begich (Alaska) noted: "On these major issues, it would be to the White House's advantage to keep us informed as they develop them and put them on the table and not wait until the last minute. ... It's getting better, but the more communication you have between the White House and us, the better off it's going to be. It doesn't mean we'll always agree with them, but at least we'll know what they're doing."

The former leadership aide cited the weekly Monday briefing calls in which top administration staffers often opened their conversation with top Hill staffers, "I'm sure you've read this in the newspaper, the president is going to do X, Y and Z, and we'll send you talking points."

If the change in course over the past few weeks is any indication, however, it's possible the White House will continue to build bridges back to their allies. Sometimes it just takes a dramatic political event to shock order back into place or perhaps in this case, a few dramatic political events.

"To a certain degree, I think it is [common]," Brendan Daly, former communications director for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and current executive vice president at Ogilvy Washington, said about divisions between Democrats. "I know there was a lot of grumbling from Democrats when [Bill] Clinton was president, but the difference is that it was probably only true in the first two years of Clinton's administration. But after they lost the Congress, they were humbled a bit and starting talking to people more," he added.

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