Wabash Blogs Washington 2006 Immersion Trip

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Capitol Hill and NPR

Justin Liedel and Chris Serak- Our day began early and lasted late today. We started with a 9:30 Senate Committe hearing concerning Hurricane Katrina. After watching Senator Susan Collins and Joseph Lieberman interview DHS Officials on the Government's response to the incident, we headed to the Capitol building for a tour conducted by a member of Senator Bayh's staff.

On the train underground into the Capitol basement, we were walking through the door only to have Senator John McCain brush past us (we later found out in the Senate gallery that he was returning from lending his support to an amendment by Senator Feinstein on the floor.) After our excellent, informative tour, we headed back to Senator Bayh's office to talk for a bit with one of his Legislative Correspondents and after that, his Chief of Staff Tom Sugar.  Mr. Sugar gave us some great insight into the workings of a Senatorial staff, as well as some behind-the-scenes insight into the planning and preparation of the Senator's probable Presidential run.

Finally, we spent a few hours at NPR talking to Pam Fessler about her job and getting a tour of the headquarters. We even got to see All Things Considered being broadcast live! Today was without a doubt one of our more exhausting days, and tomorrow we have a little bit of extra time to sleep in before heading to the Library of Congress and Representative Dan Burton's office.

During our discussion after our meetings today, several of us made the point that we feel like we have, for the first time, intimate knowledge of something that is actually useful and relevant in our lives.  This trip has managed to take outside of the world of academia and transplant us instead into a behemoth, complex sector.  It is interesting to see not only how the Government works and makes day-to-day decisions, but also to see the industry that has developed around the government (press, lobbyists, etc.).  


To see the photo album for today, click here.