From Dickinson to The District

This summer is certainly an interesting time to be working on Capitol Hill. With a new administration in the White House and some shifting of seats in Congress, the legislators by now have settled in, ready to serve. President Trump and the Republican party have put forth an ambitious agenda for the outset of the administration, including reforms of healthcare, infrastructure, and the tax system.

As an intern for the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, I have the unique opportunity to see the impact of these legislative items on small business in the US. I also have the benefit of being able to track legislation outside the reach of our committee in both the House and the Senate.

On the fourth floor of the Russell Senate Office Building, C-Span hums daily in the background as the committee staff responds to concerned constituents, researches legislation, and organizes hearings. In this environment I am able to absorb a lot of knowledge while also contributing to the mission of the committee, which is to aid small businesses and provide oversight to the SBA, the Small Business Administration.

This morning the Senate is in full swing, and our staff is preparing for a hearing scheduled for Wednesday. During a typical hearing Senators on the committee will ask witnesses, who have value to add concerning small business in the US, multiple questions to inform their, and their staffs, knowledge which may lead to legislation. Every committee is divided into two entities, the majority and the minority, which depends on which party controls a majority of the Senate. Currently, the majority offices are occupied by Republican Senators and staff. These members include Chairman Risch of Idaho, Sen Rubio (Fla), Sen Paul (Ky), Sen Scott (SC), Sen Ernst (Iowa), Sen Inhofe (OK), Sen Young (IN), Sen Enzi (Wyo), Sen Rounds (SD), and Sen Kennedy (LA).

The minority half of the committee is led by Ranking Member Shaheen (NH), Sen Cantwell (Wash), Sen Cardin (Md), Sen Heitkamp (ND), Sen Markey (Mass), Sen Booker (NJ), Sen Coons (Del), Sen Hirono (Hawaii), and Sen Duckworth (IL).

This Wednesday our committee will hear testimony from three witnesses under the topic of “Tax Reform: Removing Barriers to Small Business Growth”. Both sides of the Small Business Committee are committed to finding bipartisan solutions to making it easier for small businesses across the country to navigate the tax code, which committee staff have labeled “burdensome, complicated, and uncertain”. This is an interesting legislative topic to me, especially given the huge role of small businesses in the US economy.

Beyond the walls of Congress, Washington DC is an incredible city to live and work in. The metro is very accessible and surprisingly very consistent this summer (but I may have just jinxed it). Although I am very familiar with the city, there is still a lot to see and explore during my time here. Above all, I am thankful I have the opportunity to live, eat, sleep, and travel within DC due to financial help from Dickinson, and the amazing network of alumni it maintains. It was through the connection to a Dickinson alumnus in DC that I was able to secure this internship, and I have also met a lot of Dickinson alumni in the city that work in fields I am interested in.

I look forward to a productive and enjoyable summer here in the capital city.

(photo of Russell Senate Office Building courtesy of the Architect of the Capitol)