In my last blog post, Donald Trump had just become the presumptive Republican Presidential nominee. Well two weeks ago, Hillary Clinton became the presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee. The same day that the Associated Press declared Clinton the presumptive nominee for her party, I began my internship on Capitol Hill.
Congressman Pittenger and I pose for a picture in his office back in February.
I first learned about the opportunity when I visited DC with the Wake the Vote cohort back in February. While we were here, among other things, I stopped my Congressman’s office to see if I could say hello. When I arrived at his office, after touring the White House in the morning, Congressman Pittenger invited me into his office to sit down and talk. I was surprised, but honored that he would talk to me about politics and Wake the Vote for over 15 minutes. At the end of our conversation, he mentioned that I might enjoy interning in his office the coming summer. So when I got back to school, I went through the application process and was selected for the internship.
Fast forward to June.
On my first day on the job I had to figure out how to get around the various buildings linked to the Capitol without getting completely lost. Turns out there are six main Congressional office buildings that are connected to the main Capitol building by a series of tunnels. On my second day of the internship, I attended the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing on “Rethinking the TSA Operations.” The committee is chaired by Chairman Johnson (R-Wis.) and one of the key witnesses was Peter Neffenger, administrator of the TSA. It was fascinating to watch a Senate hearing take place in person. This hearing was something that was easy to relate to given that I had just traveled on a plane three days prior. One of the main topics that was brought up was the balance between security and efficiency when people go through the TSA checkpoints in airports.
One thing that became apparent to me as soon as I started my internship on Capitol Hill is all of the work that goes on day to day on Capitol Hill. While it has seemed that nothing is being accomplished in Washington throughout the Presidential campaigns this year, there are actually many representatives and senators working hard every day to come up with meaningful solutions to complex problems. The TSA hearing that I attended on my second day of my internship was a prime example of this. With nearly two million people boarding domestic flights in the U.S. daily, it is vital that the TSA can maximize efficiency and security. Now that I know that this is an issue that the Senate is working on, it will be interesting to track what progress comes out of this hearing. Hopefully the security lines will be quicker by the time WTV travels to Cleveland and Philadelphia for the conventions in July.
On any given day that the U.S. House of Representatives or the Senate is in session, there are numerous hearings that take place. They span a wide range of issues. If there is an issue that you are passionate about, I’d encourage you to look online to see when there is a hearing or briefing related to that issue.
Stay tuned for more updates from the Capitol Hill.