Advocacy Tool

The Role of Congressional Staff in the Legislative Process

Download Files Mar 12, 2016

This advocacy tool describes the roles of key Congressional staff so you can determine whom best to talk with when advocating for infants and toddlers.

You can be an effective advocate for young children and families when you familiarize yourself with how the public policy process works and the times in which your advocacy can have the greatest impact.

Each member of Congress employs staff to help him/her fulfill his/her legislative duties. Although members of Congress possess complete discretion as to how they set up their office structure, many offices utilize similar staff titles and job functions.

Commonly held Congressional staff positions are:

  • Chief of Staff (COS) or Administrative Assistant (AA): This individual usually reports directly to a member of Congress. Often he or she is in charge of the overall office operations, including the assignment of work and the supervision of a member’s staff. ƒ
  • Legislative Director (LD): The person in this position usually monitors and makes recommendations concerning a Congressional member’s legislative agenda, as well as Congress’ legislative schedule. ƒ
  • Legislative Assistant (LA): This individual typically monitors specific issues, pieces of legislation and particular constituent requests for a Congressional member. A member of Congress is likely to have several Legislative Assistants, each covering a group of issues. The individuals in this role are often well-versed in the subject matter for which they are responsible. ƒ
  • Legislative Counsel: This individual typically monitors specific issues, pieces of legislation and particular constituent requests for a Congressional member. The individuals in this role are often well-versed in the subject matter for which they are responsible. The legislative counsel serves the same function as the Legislative Assistant, but he/she is usually on a member’s committee staff. ƒ
  • Press Secretary or Communications Director: The person in this position is responsible for all communication between a Congressional member and the media, his or her constituents, and the general public. ƒ
  • Scheduler or Appointment Secretary: This individual typically handles a Congressional member’s schedule, including travel arrangements, meetings, office visits and other requests. ƒ
  • Caseworker: The individual in this role usually handles constituent requests for help in resolving problems with various federal agencies, as well as other special requests. ƒ
  • Legislative Correspondent (LC): This individual typically prepares communications for a Congressional member’s signature and may possess additional duties. ƒ
  • Staff Assistant/Receptionist: This individual usually provides administrative support to other staff members and often has responsibilities related to constituent services, such as conducting tours of the Capitol.

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