Jessica Li ‘18 summer 2017 Internship in Washington, D.C.

By Douglas Rosso
Thursday, September 28 2017

This summer, I served as a legislative intern in the DC Office of Congressman John Delaney (MD-06), a member of the Joint Economic Committee and the subcommittee on Housing and Insurance. Conceivably, during a time of political uncertainty, working in Congress had an extra layer of significance. As an intern specializing in healthcare, energy, and environment policies, I witnessed first-hand the myriad of players and factors that shaped the outcome of key legislations which circulated the Hill in the summer of 2017.

My daily tasks include corresponding with constituents, attending briefings on specific issues and legislations, penning policy memos, and drafting co-sponsorship forms. Particularly, I attended closed-door briefings organized by committee chairs or party leadership on topics like the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), funding for scientific research, and the opioid epidemic. Each time, I carefully recorded remarks from esteemed health and research professionals, think tank scholars, and retired policymakers. At the conclusion of each session, I had the opportunity to direct questions to each speaker. Among those I spoke with include the former director of the Congressional Budget Office, former presidential economic advisors, and other members of the House and the Senate. I also conducted research into a diverse array of programs and legislations including the appropriation process for abandoned coal mine reclamations, veteran access to medical records and services, and overseas accommodations for disabled individuals. As Congressman Delaney is also the founder and chairman of the congressional Artificial Intelligence Caucus, I also looked into sensible economic policies in face of continuous innovation.

My stint at the Hill opened my eyes to the byzantine process through which science is translated into policy. Aside from acquiring a more profound understanding of some of our nation’s underpinning policies, I developed a much greater appreciation for collaboration and compromise. In a time of unprecedented divide, it is immensely rewarding to see members from both sides come together at times and reauthorize programs like CHIP, boost funding for the NIH and other agencies, and stand by the interests of people, not politics.