congressional-staffers

Rising Stars 2017: Hill Staffers
Two experienced hands make the list

Two Capitol Hill staffers are among CQ Roll Call’s Rising Stars of 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Over the course of this week, CQ Roll Call is taking a look at 17 Rising Stars of 2017 — people who will now wield power and influence in a Washington that has been turned upside down by the presidency of Donald Trump.

Some of the names are familiar, others have recently burst on the scene. They include members of Congress, congressional and administration staffers, and advocates.

Rising Stars 2017: Members of Congress
Four lawmakers to watch

CQ Roll Call’s Rising Stars of 2017 include four members of Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Washington has been turned upside down by the presidency of Donald Trump, but there are many in this city who will now wield power and influence either through their wits, careful planning or just dumb luck. 

CQ Roll Call has identified 17 of these people to watch in 2017. Some of the names are familiar, others have recently burst on the scene. 

Senate LGBT Staff Group Provides Bipartisan Professional Development
GLASS caucus prioritizes being a safe space for its members

The Senate GLASS Caucus board. Back row left to right: Robert Curis, Mario Semiglia, Trelaine Ito, Russell Page. Front row left to right: Peter Narby, Tré Easton, Caitlin Hart, Andrew Shine, Michelle Mittler. (Photo courtesy of the Senate GLASS Caucus)

The Senate GLASS Caucus was created to provide a safe space for staffers on Capitol Hill who might still feel uncomfortable about being openly gay in their offices.

The caucus’ co-chairmen this year are Caitlin Hart, legislative correspondent for Florida Democrat Bill Nelson, and Andrew Shine, legislative correspondent for Delaware Democrat Thomas R. Carper.

Kennedy Intern Hopes Her Story Is a Factor in Health Care Debate
Jen Fox credits law with helping her overcome Hodgkin’s lymphoma twice

Jen Fox speaks of her battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma as her boss Massachusetts Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III listens. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

During a markup in the House Energy and Commerce Committee for the Republican bill to replace President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care law, Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III criticized the legislation by saying it was not an act of mercy but rather “an act of malice.”

Jen Fox, 25, one of the Massachusetts Democrat’s interns, was there for part of the 24 hours that the bill was being dissected. She said she wouldn’t have been, if not for the 2010 law.

What It Costs to Educate New Members of Congress
Recent House disbursement report includes total for fall orientation, though number could grow

Newly elected Minnesota Rep. Jason Lewis arrives at the Capitol Hill Hotel in November 2016 — the day freshman members checked in for orientation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As empty nesters know, getting a freshman prepared for college can be expensive.

The same goes for a freshman in Congress.

Ryan Hasn’t ‘Given Thought’ to Members’ Health Care Coverage
Speaker says GOP health care plan is ‘on track and on schedule’

House Speaker Paul Ryan says the House is working “hand in glove” with the White House on a health care plan that can pass Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan has put a lot of thought into the health care bill moving through the House, but one thing that hasn’t crossed his mind is how members of Congress will get their health care.

The 2010 health care overhaul required lawmakers and their staff to enroll in health care programs created by the law as a means to have them understand the effects of it. But after questions arose, the Office of Personnel Management ruled that members and staff could enroll in the District of Columbia’s small business exchange to maintain the employers’ contribution toward health care costs.

Service Academy Grads Bond on Capitol Hill
Tim Bertocci and Jakob Johnsen founded the Service Academy Graduate Staff Association in the 114th Congress

Service Academy Graduate Staff Association co-chairmen Jakob Johnsen, left, and Tim Bertocci say group members share similar values and backgrounds. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The importance of brotherhood and sisterhood is ingrained as a core value of service academy graduates, which is why two staffers decided to form an association for them. 

The Service Academy Graduate Staff Association was started last Congress by Tim Bertocci, legislative director for Minnesota Democratic Rep. Tim Walz, and Jakob Johnsen, military legislative assistant for Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young.

GOP Plan Doesn’t Address Members, Staff Health Care
Unanswered questions on fate of 11,000 people

A sign from 2013 alerts Senate employees that representatives from DC Health Link are in the Hart Senate Office Building to help them with health insurance enrollment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As lawmakers delve into questions about the Republican health care plan, one big one will remain unanswered for the time being: What happens to health care for members of Congress and their staffs?

The 2010 health care law required members and their staff to enroll in health care programs created by the law. But it’s not clear if that requirement will continue, or whether lawmakers and staff will return to the coverage plans they had prior to the law taking effect.

Connolly Intern Sows Father’s Seeds of Peace for Gaza
Yousef Bashir has faith in a peaceful solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Yousef Bashir, a Gaza native, is an intern in Virginia Rep. Gerald E. Connolly’s office. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The future president of a Palestinian state might be working as an intern in Democratic Rep. Gerald E. Connolly’s office. 

“No pressure, huh?” Yousef Bashir replies to the Virginia lawmaker’s assertion about his future and the two laugh.

Survey: Democratic Aides Doubt Senate Can Block SCOTUS Nominee
Staffers overwhelmingly expect Neil Gorsuch to be confirmed

Judge Neil Gorsuch meets with North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp in her Hart building office on Feb. 8. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Liberal advocacy groups are spending lots of time and money organizing for what they hope will be a big fight over President Donald Trump’s choice to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, federal appeals court Judge Neil Gorsuch.

They might be disheartened to learn that Democratic congressional aides don’t think they can block him.