The Congressional Institute
1700 Diagonal Road. #730
Alexandria, VA 22314

Phone: (703) 837-8812

Positions in Congressional Committee Offices

Because Congressional committee have jurisdiction over specific legislation, the staff structure differs significantly from Members’ personal offices, and the staff positions are often highly specialized.

Staff Director/Chief of Staff: The Staff Director/Chief of Staff manages the committee and serves as the top policy and political advisor to the Committee Chair and majority party members.  The Minority Staff Director performs the same duties for the Ranking Minority Member of a Committee.

Chief Counsel/General Counsel: The Chief Counsel is an attorney who oversees the committee’s legislative, oversight, and investigative activities.

Parliamentarian: The Parliamentarian is responsible for advising the Chairman, Members and staff on the rules and procedures of the Committee.

Counsel: There may be one or more Counsels in a committee office. These are attorneys responsible for specific policy or oversight issues. Their activities include arranging and staffing hearings, drafting legislation, conducting negotiations, and providing legal interpretations for the Committee members.

Clerk: One or more clerks assist the Counsel and record committee votes, prepare legislation for floor consideration, and put together committee reports and other documents.

Professional Staff Members: These are experts in specific policy areas. They perform many of the same functions as Counsel and may work with outside groups, Members of Congress, and executive branch officials.

Office Manager: The Office Manager is in charge of administrative activities in the office.

Staff Assistant: Staff Assistants perform general administrative tasks such as receiving visitors, answering phones, making copies, setting up committee rooms, and filing paperwork.

Intern: Interns generally help Staff Assistants with administrative work. They may also assist Counsel or Professional Staff Members with legislative or legal research. Interns in a committee office have little contact with constituents and often have an interest or background in the topic of the committee’s work.

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