Earlier this year, Congressman John Murtha (D-PA) died from complications from surgery. This was big news on Capitol Hill. But do you know why? Or where you could learn the repercussions of Murtha’s death?
Many Washington, DC interns work at organizations that revolve, in one way or another, around what is happening in Congress. Information on what is happening on “The Hill” is vital for so many organizations. Bills that become law form the basis of Executive Branch regulations that dictate what happens in the rest of the country, and the rest of the world.
Fortunately for everyone, there are resources that track news and information on Capitol Hill. They are read by people on and off Capitol Hill; by people who need to know what is going on in Congress.
More generally, there are three newspapers whose beat is Congress. RollCall (http://www.rollcall.com/), The Hill (http://www.thehill.com/), and Politico (http://www.politico.com/) cover Congress from every angle. These newspapers are printed several times a week when Congress is in session.
Other publications such as CongressDaily/AM track legislation, hearings, and what is happening in the House and Senate. National Journal (http://www.nationaljournal.com/) is published once a week, and covers the current political environment and emerging political and policy trends.
So to answer my initial question: the death of John Murtha, the influential chairman of an Appropriations Subcommittee, was important because it directly impacted how billions of dollars in federal funds is spent. It was also important because Murtha was not without controversy during his decade’s long congressional career.
Each of these publications did extensive analysis of his death, and what it meant for Congress and the nation. They all analyze legislation and key provisions, but they also provide other information that can be almost as important. The health status, death, or resignation of a Member can change legislation in a heartbeat.
Your internship site knows this, they know why. So should you.