My Day on the Hill

My Day on the Hill

A lot of journalists will tell you the best beat to cover in Washington is Capitol Hill. You’re able to get up from your desk on a regular basis, chase down politicians to hopefully get answers, and you’re free to move about as you wish (unlike the White House, where journalists’ mobility is limited).

 

Still, just because there’s more ground to cover on your beat, it doesn’t mean you get more desk space. There are two press galleries in the Capitol building; one is on the House side, the other on the Senate side. All of them are the size of closets.

 

The CBS House Press Booth.

 

Shortly after I arrived and had settled in to the CBS House booth, the producer who was my guide for the day took me down to the House briefing room for the weekly press conferences given by House minority leader Nancy Pelosi and Speaker of the House John Boehner.

 

The House briefing room is like a bigger, more dramatic version of the White House Briefing Room. It’s about three times the size, and has a podium with an elaborate backdrop behind it. Everything in there is brand new, which makes it a pleasant spot to be as well. It’s located off of one of the Capitol’s long tunnels which together connect all of the House and Senate office buildings. There are even subways that connect the buildings because the distances between them are so far!

 

Nancy Pelosi gives her weekly press briefing.


Speaker Boehner gives his address.

 

After Pelosi and Boehner spoke, we made our way back to the booth to have lunch. On our way, we stumbled upon busloads of children making their way into a House office building to protest for comprehensive immigration reform. Lines of them stretched out the door waiting to go through security. As we walked back underneath, we saw them all lined up outside the door of Speaker Boehner’s constituent office (because he’s the Speaker of the House, he gets a big, fancy one in the Capitol to use as his main office).

 

Children protesting for immigration reform on their way to

Speaker Boehner's constituent office.


Having eaten, I was put in the hands of a different producer while he interviewed representatives as they entered the House chamber to vote on a bill sponsored by Michigan Republican, Fred Upton, which would delay the Affordable Care Act from going into effect for one year. No cameras are allowed in that area, which limits the capability of television journalists there but it was an exciting place to be.

 

My day concluded with a trip over to the Senate CBS booth where I said hello to Nancy Cordes and her producer getting ready for Evening News. I also sat in both the House and Senate chambers, which was neat, though rather quiet at that point in the day. When I was back at the House booth packing up my things, I snapped this picture of the National Mall at dusk. It’s as perfect an ending to this blog as it was to my day on the Hill.

 

 

The National Mall at dusk from the House press gallery.
'Til next time,
Dustin

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