congressional-staffers

Senate mourns deaths of two beloved staffers
Barber David Knight and document room employee Bud Johnson both died recently

David Knight, here with, from left, barber Kim Coleman and manager Cindi Brown, cut hair in the Senate barbershop for 36 years. (Courtesy Senate Hair Care Services)

David Miles Knight spent 36 years as one of the Senate barbers, and he was a familiar face to everyone in the basement of the Russell Building, which has long played host to the barber shop.

Over the weekend, he lost his long fight with cancer, just a day before another longtime Senate employee, Berner Richard Johnson III, succumbed to his injuries from a violent attack, leaving the Senate family in mourning. 

New rules for Airbnb could squeeze intern housing options
New D.C. law tightening home-sharing rules could increase sticker shock for students looking to intern on Capitol Hill

A sign advertises an apartment for rent in D.C.’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. A new D.C. law tightening rules on home sharing services could increase sticker shock for students looking to intern on Capitol Hill.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Home-sharing services like Airbnb are facing a crackdown by D.C. lawmakers who want to stop real estate investors from using buildings as de facto hotels. But what impact will a potential crunch on short-term housing have for interns looking for rentals in the District?

It can be daunting for interns seeking a place to stay in one of the nation’s most expensive cities. The initial excitement of landing that dream internship can quickly turn into panic, especially for students who need housing on short notice.

How to kill time on the Hill
Because sometimes there’s more people than work

An intern for Maryland Democrat Chris Van Hollen pets a dog in 2012. Take it from us: Killing time on the Hill is even easier than it looks. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

First off, congratulations! Landing an internship is a big deal — whether you’re here because you applied through a rigorous selection process with essays and interviews, or because your donor father, while teeing up his ball on the ninth hole, casually mentioned to your home-state senator that you’d like to “try out” D.C.

Everyone says the Hill is busy, busy, busy, but here’s the dirty little secret: Most days are filled with LOTS of mind-numbing drudgery and boredom. There are only so many angry phone calls you can take. There are only so many four-page constituent letters ending with 10 exclamation points you can respond to. Eventually, you need a mental break. Chances are you’re reading this because you’re taking one now (or you’re bored).

What’s the state of play on intern pay on Capitol Hill?
Intern compensation funding is up for discussion again

Sen. Christopher S. Murphy, D-Conn., says he expects intern compensation funding to continue in the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Securing intern compensation funding last year was a huge victory for lawmakers and advocates. Now they just have to figure out how to get the word out and expand the pie. 

As interns descend on Capitol Hill for a summer of public service, more will be paid for their work than ever before. But widespread paid internships are still in their infancy in Congress. This is the first summer that House and Senate offices have dedicated funding available to cut checks.

When McGovern interned for McGovern (no relation)
Massachusetts Democrat’s internship in the 1970s led to staff position and eventual election to the House

Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern on how George McGovern influenced him: “Politics should be about principles and conviction, not solely about political calculation.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Jim McGovern’s career has been profoundly shaped by another (unrelated) McGovern: George.

As a 12-year-old middle schooler, Jim McGovern, inspired by the candidate he shared a last name with, joined his teachers to hand out leaflets and bumper stickers for the elder McGovern’s 1972 presidential campaign.

How to dine like a boss on a tight budget in D.C.
Hill reception circuit offers a lifeline for cash-strapped interns

People grab food provided at the Organic Trade Association’s Organic Week Reception on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Receptions are the lifeblood of the broke Capitol Hill intern’s diet. Besides being a great place for meeting people (ABN: always be networking) they provide a bounty of free food and drinks, and usually the spreads are halfway decent. I once went a whole week without paying a dime for dinner. And honestly, with enough dedication, I could have stretched that to a month.

Besides not wearing your intern badge on your lapel, the earliest lesson you learn working on the Hill is that almost every industry has an association in D.C. to represent it. Whether it’s cement, hydrogen energy or guns, if somebody has an interest before Congress, you can bet it has a lobby organized to influence lawmakers.

From intern to ‘win’-tern: How to finish your Capitol Hill internship on top
Don’t sweat the small stuff while you’re sweating in the D.C. heat

This intern for Rep. Gregg Harper got stuck with sign-in duty in 2018. Approach every day like it’s your last one on the Hill, even if the tasks are menial, former interns say. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congratulations! You are minutes away from finishing your summer internship on Capitol Hill. Not only have you woken up at ungodly hours after too many margs at Tortilla Coast, but you’ve managed to beat everyone to the office by 30 minutes. You’ve mastered the fastest route between the House and Senate office buildings, and you’ve crushed coffee orders like the barista you could’ve been if it weren’t for this internship.

So, what’s next, you ask? You mean... you don’t have it figured out?

Stoney’s turns up as former Hill staffer Luke Stone makes ‘Bachelorette’ debut
Stone, who was once a staff assistant for Rep. Brad Sherman, overcomes cringeworthy first impression

Former Hill staffer Luke Stone’s “Bachelorette” appearance stopped some Stoney’s patrons in mid-bite. (Kathryn Lyons/CQ Roll Call)

D.C.’s own Luke Stone cleaned up last night on “The Bachelorette” and scored himself another shot on his quest for Hannah B’s love.

As you can see from “chicken wing guy” in the above photo, he had viewers uncertain of his fate up until about the last 10 minutes of the season premiere.

House Democrats telegraph policy priorities in Capitol Hill funding
Comparison of previous GOP, current Dem spending choices show differences

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., attends a news conference with House Democrats on March 12 to introduce the “Dream and Promise Act.” The new majority’s Legislative Branch Appropriations bill would allow Dreamers to get jobs on Capitol Hill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Empowered by their control of the House, Democrats are telegraphing their policy priorities in how they plan to spend taxpayer dollars on Capitol Hill, including exploring student debt relief options and employing Dreamers in Congress.

The fiscal 2020 House Legislative Branch Appropriations bill is signaling what types of issues Democrats want to be talking about and working on, both for their constituents back home and right here on Capitol Hill.

Lawmakers explore House-wide paid family leave policy
Appropriators request study of cost and feasibility

House lawmakers are exploring a paid family leave program for House employees. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House lawmakers are interested in what a chamber-wide paid family leave policy would look like and how much it would cost. And staffers are likely  curious, too. Currently, paid maternity and paternity leave for congressional staff remains entirely at the whim of individual members.

“There is interest among Members of Congress to investigate the feasibility of implementing a standard House-wide paid family leave policy,” reads the committee report to accompany the fiscal 2020 House Legislative Branch Appropriations bill.