WORKING ON THE HILL: Data Shows Dramatic Declines Since 1981; Kosar Tells Committee The Congress Needs Bigger Staff

Congress is the “first branch” because the Founders intended the Republic’s national legislature to be “the fountain of all lawmaking authority and governmental action,” according to Kevin Kosar, vice-president for research partnerships of the R Street Institute.

Kosar’s comment came in his mid-January testimony before a hearing of the House of Representatives’ Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress concerning the growing inability of the First Branch to fulfill its constitutional roles.

The cause of that growing inability is clear: Congress is starving itself of the most critical resources, especially experienced staff, to do its many jobs, according to Kosar. Continue reading “WORKING ON THE HILL: Data Shows Dramatic Declines Since 1981; Kosar Tells Committee The Congress Needs Bigger Staff”

There Is A BIG Difference Between A Fact And An Inference

If Joe tells you that two plus two equals four, he’s told you a fact. But if he then tells that you two is the square root of four and you conclude Joe has something more than basic math skills, you’re making an inference. But how do you know if your inference is accurate?

Are facts and inferences really so different? That’s an important question if you work on Capitol Hill. Consider these two claims: The federal budget has a huge deficit this year and it’s all X’s fault. You know which of those two claims is a fact but how do you determine if the inference is true or false.

J. Warner Wallace, NBC “Dateline” cold-case detective and founder of coldcasechristianity.org, spent years cracking old unsolved murders, so he knows a few things about the difference between facts and inferences, plus knowing how to judge the accuracy of an inference:


 

Working On The Hill: Is Having Ambition A Good Or Bad Thing?

By Bret Bernhardt

The simple answer is yes, but it depends on the kind of ambition it is. Regardless of our ideology or political affiliation, most everyone who works on Capitol Hill shares a similar energy, passion, and ambition.

Bret Bernhardt, former chief of staff for senators Don Nickles and Jim DeMint.

Interestingly, these character traits look similar among staff and Members of Congress across the political divide. What separates them is the purpose for which they are used.

Take the example of the Apostle Paul. Before his conversion on the road to Damascus, he was passionate, zealous, and ambitious. Then look at Paul’s personality after his conversion. He continued to be passionate, zealous, and ambitious but the difference — and it’s a big one — is that these energies were re-focused on love of God rather than love of the law. Continue reading “Working On The Hill: Is Having Ambition A Good Or Bad Thing?”

STAFF MOVES: Look Who Is Being Promoted On The Hill!

Recent Staff Moves, As Reported By Legistorm:

Katie Earle is the new professional staff member in the office of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Republican staff. Katie comes over to the House side following her tenure as a national security fellow for Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND). She is a 2019 MA graduate in security studies and military operations from Georgetown University, while her 2012 BA from Middlebury College was in Russian studies.

Another significant move on the Republican side of things is that of Erik Kenney to legislative director for Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI). Erik’s 2013 BA in political studies is from Marquette University.

Newlyweds Natalie Knight and Matthew Ellison (Screenshot from Facebook).

New evidence that Hill staffers sometimes meet, work in some proximity, fall in love, then get married: Natalie Smith, legislative counsel for Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA.) and Matthew Ellison, deputy policy counsel for the House Democratic Whip Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC). HillFaith sends blessings and best wishes to the newlyweds.

Ebise Bayisa is the new House Judiciary Committee counsel on the Democratic side. The judiciary slot is Ebise’s first position on a Hill staff, as she formerly worked for the U.S. Sentencing Commission as a senior attorney. Her law degree was earned in 2005 from the American University Washington College of Law. Continue reading “STAFF MOVES: Look Who Is Being Promoted On The Hill!”

Have You Decided Your Life’s Core Convictions? You Will Go This Far But No Farther?

Being an aide or intern to a senator or representative in Congress is a lot like what it must have been for Daniel, the Old Testament prophet who at a young age found himself among a small group of conquered Judeans being groomed for the court of King Nebuchadnezzar.

Do you or don’t you violate your most cherished convictions? (Photo by niklas_hamann on Unsplash)

Part of the group’s three-year study and preparation for service to the King involved adherence to a royally prescribed nutritional course that conflicted in key respects with the dietary regimen of the Jewish faith of Daniel and three of his friends, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.

“Daniel determined that he would not defile himself with the King’s food or with the wine he drank,” Daniel 1:8 tell us. “So he asked permission from the chief official not to defile himself.” Continue reading “Have You Decided Your Life’s Core Convictions? You Will Go This Far But No Farther?”

WORKING ON THE HILL: Why Do So Many Staffers Resign From The Staffs Of These Senators And Representatives?

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas) had the highest rate of staff turnover in 2019, according to rankings calculated by Legistorm. But there may be more to their stories than first thought.

Senators and representatives tend to create their own unique staff universes that to some degree reflect themselves, so a lot of attention is paid to those with the highest and lowest turnover rates.

But a high turnover rate is not necessarily an indicator of a “bad boss” job seekers should avoid, especially in the cases of Harris and Granger. Harris made an unsuccessful bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. Such campaigns almost always have a big impact on an incumbent’s staff and Harris ranked much lower in prior years. Continue reading “WORKING ON THE HILL: Why Do So Many Staffers Resign From The Staffs Of These Senators And Representatives?”

STAFF MOVES: Look Who’s Getting Promoted On The Hill

Recent Staff Moves, As Reported By Legistorm:

The Problem-Solvers Caucus has added Jessica Gail to its ranks as communications director, working for Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ). Now in her seventh year, this is Jessica’s fourth position on the Hill since first joining the staff of Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah) in 2013. She is a 2007 graduate with a BA from the University of Indiana at Bloomington in broadcast journalism and religious studies.

Holly Reagan Hinjosa is now policy adviser for Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), covering environmental protection and public lands issues. Holly is a native Texan but earned her BA in international and global studies from the University of Wyoming in 2015 and her MA in natural resources management from the University of Idaho in 2019. Holly’s Hill career began in 2016 as an intern for Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY). Continue reading “STAFF MOVES: Look Who’s Getting Promoted On The Hill”