The American President highlights the complex relationships between Congress, lobbyists, and the President. Each plays a role in convincing the other to do or not do a certain action, such as convincing the President to add a certain clause to a bill or convincing a senator not to vote for reform. Reputation, communication, and networking are all essential for lobbyists, Congressman, and the President to survive in Washington. For a bill to be passed, it needs the support of all three, which, as demonstrated in The American President, can be provided in some ways.
A lobbyist is someone who is paid to represent and advance the interests of their clients, who include corporations and non-profit organizations. Lobbyists advance the interests of their clients by persuading members of Congress and sometimes the executive office to take a certain position on the certain legislation. This is accomplished through one-on-one meetings, phone calls, emails, and personal letters. When words and reputation alone are not enough, lobbyists may try to convince legislators by assisting with campaign finances, arranging fundraisers, and agreeing to let up on other issues that may conflict the interests of the legislator. In The American President, Sydney Ellen Wade is hired to lobby on behalf of the GDC, an environmental firm who wishes to persuade the President to not only pass legislation that would reduce carbon emissions but change the percentage of reduction from ten percent to twenty. She meets with the President in a face to face meeting and comes to an agreement that if Wade can secure 24 votes for the bill, Shepherd will take care of the rest, thus demonstrating arrangements lobbyists will make with legislators and federal officials to pass legislation. Wade and her environmental firm secure the 24 votes through mostly phone calls and face to face meetings, such as when she meets with the three Congressman from Michigan.