Presentation on theme: "Welcome to the Hill: Understanding Hill Staff"— Presentation transcript:
1 Welcome to the Hill: Understanding Hill Staff EANGUSWelcome to the Hill: Understanding Hill StaffPublication Date: October 14, 2014Producer: Chris DanelloDirector: Jessica Guzik
2 Staffers Significantly Outnumber Members of Congress AnalysisThe 535 members of Congress are supported by a larger infrastructure of over 13,000 staffersWhile most staffers are far less powerful than any member, the most trusted and effective aides of the most senior members may be extremely influential in their own right, and as a conduit to their memberSource: Norm Ornstein and Thomas Mann, “Vital Statistics on Congress,” AEI/Brookings, Chapter 5.
3 Hill Staff Come in Two Forms Overview of Personal and Committee Congressional StaffPersonal Office StaffCommittee StaffLine of ReportingHired by one member of Congress and only responsible to that memberHired by chairman or ranking member of committee; nominally work for all Democratic or Republican committee membersJob OverviewWork on combination of policy and constituent-service matters, depending on needs of districtWork exclusively on policy, within area of committeeIssuesPractice over range of issuesSpecialize in committee-related issueBackgroundMore likely to be from district or state of hiring member; tend to have trust of MemberLess likely to be from district or state of chairman or ranking member; tend to be expert in issue areaNumberThe average Representative has 14 staffers working form them, average Senator has 30House committees averaged 68 staff and Senate committees average 46Sample TitlesChief of Staff, Legislative Director, Legislative AssistantStaff Director, Policy Analyst, Committee CounselAnalysisThe job of a personal staffer is to support the work of one member, while the role of a committee staffer is to assist a committeeSources: Ida Burdnick, “Congressional Salaries and Allowances,” Congressional Research Service, January 4, 2012; Congressional Management Foundation.
4 Sample Job Titles for Committee and Personal Office Staffers Despite Variable Titles, Most Staffers Have Similar JobsSample Job Titles for Committee and Personal Office StaffersMore Senior StaffTitle for Personal Office StaffersFunctionTitle for Committee StaffersChief of Staff, Administrative AssistantServe as chief advisor and administrator for member or committeeStaff DirectorLegislative Director, Deputy Chief of Staff, Chief Policy AdvisorAct as chief policy advisor, especially on area of committee jurisdictionDeputy Staff Director, Chief Policy Advisor, Senior Policy AdvisorCounsel, Legislative CounselProvide legal advice to member or committeeCounsel, Chief Counsel, General CounselLegislative AssistantOffer guidance on specific policy issueLegislative Assistant, Policy Advisor, Professional Staff MemberCommunications Director, Press SecretarySpeak to media on behalf of member or committeeOffice Manger, Systems AdministratorOversee management of office and facilitiesNo equivalentConduct oversight of government programs within jurisdiction of committeeInvestigator, Chief InvestigatorLegislative CorrespondentRespond to constituent contacts on behalf of memberStaff AssistantAnswer phones, greet visitors, perform administrative tasksMore Junior StaffAnalysisWhile the structure of a committee is different than that of a personal office, most Congressional staffers exist in a relatively similar hierarchy, whether they work for a committee or a single memberSources: R. Eric Petersen, “Congressional Staff: Duties and Functions of Selected Positions” Congressional Research Service, November 4, 2010; Congressional Management Foundation.
5 Congressional Reporting Structures Are Hierarchical Sample Organization of a Congressional OfficeMember of CongressChief of StaffPolicy StaffCommunications StaffOffice StaffDistrict StaffLegislative Director/CounselCommunications DirectorPersonal Assistant/ SchedulerDistrict DirectorLegislative AideLegislative CorrespondentStaff AssistantDistrict CaseworkersAnalysisMembers of Congress are advised to structure their office into discrete areas, depending on their staffers’ functionsNonetheless, almost every office will have a unique structure and series of staff dutiesThe vast Congressional workload means that the day-to-day reporting structure of a Congressional staffer may look very different in practice than on paperSource: “Hit the Ground Running: 112th Congress Edition,” Office of Rep. Eric Cantor.
6 Committee Staff Can Report to Multiple Bosses Sample De-Facto Organization of a Congressional CommitteeCommittee MembersCommittee MemberSubcommittee ChairCommittee ChairCommittee MemberInvestigations Subcommittee ChairCommittee StaffStaff DirectorPress SecretarySubcommittee Staff DirectorDeputy Staff DirectorChief CounselChief InvestigatorPolicy AdvisorsIssue ExpertsPolicy AnalystsInvestigative StaffAnalysisAlthough Congressional committee staff are officially hired by the committee chair or ranking member, some committees (especially Appropriations) will allow subcommittee chairs or even ordinary members to designate staff as their ownSources: R. Eric Petersen, “Congressional Staff: Duties and Functions of Selected Positions” Congressional Research Service, November 4, 2010; Congressional Management Foundation.
7 Expect to Meet with Staffers During Hill Visits It is not uncommon for Members to show up halfway through a meeting or leave part of the way throughMember of CongressVisitors may not realize how highly overscheduled Members are; they average 70-hour weeks when in D.C., often achieved by double-booking meetingsChief of StaffVisitors may not expect how often chiefs are in communication with a Member; the tight bond means that chiefs are often delegated to speak for Member to constituentsMeetings are most often scheduled with and run through one or more of these staffersLegislative DirectorVisitors may not expect that LDs tend to be specialists in the policies of the committees on which Member serves; they may focus less on other areasLegislative AssistantVisitors may not expect that LAs are very young; their average age is under 29LCs and SAs may join in meetings as a junior staffer or note-takerLegislative Correspondent/Staff AssistantVisitors may not expect that LCs and SAs tend to be even younger than LAs, often recent college gradsAnalysisBecause members of Congress are often running from meeting to meeting to vote, staffers will often have more time to devote to a meeting, and be more capable of affecting any takeawaySources: “2010 House Compensation Study,” Chief Administrative Officer of the U.S. House of Representatives; “Communicating With Congress,” Congressional Management Foundation, 2011.