NGOs with the most clout in American politics

by RyanD on February 27, 2013

Washington, DC is the seat of the American government, but other non-governmental organizations exude just as much influence as many members of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. These civilian organizations represent major segments of the legislative body’s private citizen constituents which is why when they speak state representatives listen. When critical actions on issues happen in Washington, the executive and legislative branches often reach out to these influential groups in order to gain the consensus needed to move forward on major decisions. Whether one believes that involving these groups in governmental policy making is helpful or a conflict of interest, the opinions of these Washington insiders carry significant weight. Some of the most popular non-governmental organizations getting a lot of press in recent months include the National Rifle Association (NRA), the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).

NRA And The Gun Control Debate
For years, various interpretations of second amendment rights have been on the minds of Washington D.C. policy makers. There are two sides to the debate. One group wants to restrict gun ownership by type of gun and amount of ammunition held. The recent news stories of bizarre shootings at schools, malls, and places of business cement their argument to tighten gun control laws nationwide. This group led by many government officials propose more rigorous background checks for citizens purchasing all guns as well as a ban on certain types of assault rifles. The NRA represents people on the opposite side of the coin. This group believes that the government should not interfere in any way with the second amendment because it is a fundamental right upon which the country was founded to protect life and property. While expressing empathy with those affected by gun violence, the NRA voiced concern that legal gun ownership is not as much a concern as ensuring that gun purchasers get mental health background checks. This argument threatens to draw in another heavy hitting non-governmental group representing the pharmaceutical companies because reportedly many of the shooters were taking psychiatric prescription drugs. When decision makers sit down to craft new policies on gun control measures, the NRA will fill a seat at the table with them despite differences in opinion.

NAIC Participates In Healthcare Reform
One of the campaign initiatives that President Obama promised to address during his first term in office was healthcare reform. He managed to put forward a complex yet controversial healthcare initiative that attempting mandatory coverage for all citizens. He and his executive staff did not craft the plan in a vacuum; they had some bi-partisan assistance and help from the non-governmental agency NAIC. The NAIC is a non-governmental, non-profit organization that concerns itself with all insurance regulatory issues with commissioner members representing each state.

AARP Tough Opposition For Cuts To Social Security
While the U.S. recently faced a budget crisis that was temporarily averted, one of the most sensitive lines on the proposed balance sheet was Social Security. Seniors who have paid into the system in their younger years now rely on the small paychecks provided by their Social Security benefits. Although most people across party lines agree that cuts to this benefit is not desirable, it still was under scrutiny because of the seriousness of the debt crisis. AARP is a very powerful lobbying force that is guaranteed to raise their collective senior voices in favor of leaving Social Security benefits alone.

Byline: Anderson Burke frequently visits to get the latest information on gun rights.




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