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Monday, November 19, 2012

Congressional Staff: Duties and Functions of Selected Positions

R. Eric Petersen
Specialist in American National Government

The United States Congress conducts several types of activities for which it employs staff. These activities include assisting Members in official responsibilities in personal, committee, leadership, or administrative office settings. Congressional career tracks generally mirror common stages of other professional careers, but with adaptations to the congressional workplace. These adaptations include relatively short career ladders on which staff may acquire substantial responsibilities in a relatively short period of time, and close support of a Member’s legislative and representational responsibilities.

This report focuses on positions in House and Senate personal offices (Member staff), and provides sample position descriptions for 14 positions with similar job titles in each chamber. As with all congressional entities with employing authority, individual Members of Congress have wide discretion in setting many workplace policies, including procedures for establishing the duties and functions of staff positions. Staffing decisions may be determined by the priorities and goals of a congressional office, and the preferences and needs of a Member’s constituents.

This report is one of several CRS products focusing on various aspects of congressional operations and administration. Others include CRS Report RL33686, Roles and Duties of a Member of Congress, by R. Eric Petersen; and CRS Report R41366, House of Representatives and Senate Staff Levels in Member, Committee, Leadership, and Other Offices, 1977-2010, by R. Eric Petersen and Amber Hope Wilhelm.

Date of Report: November 9, 2012
Number of Pages: 16
Order Number: RL34545
Price: $29.95

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