All good things come to an end, so this will be my last blog post. After three months my internship at the US House of Representatives is over.
This does not mean that my last week was simply run of the mill. Instead there was the unprecedented Senate vote on the Senate Joint Resolution 54 that was a remarkable bipartisan rebuke of current US foreign policy regarding the war in Yemen. On the House side there was, as many have phrased it, a worrisome committee hearing about Google’s data collection, use and filtering. Despite not being able to attend the hearing, I did get to see infamous far-right provocateur Alex Jones protesting in front of the Committee chamber’s doors. As always Congress’ hallways are full of surprises.
During these three months I have experienced so much that even my blog posts do not capture everything that happened and everything I have learned. I had the opportunity to really dig deep into the process of formulating US foreign policy legislation, especially towards the Middle East and Eurasia. Through the initiatives I took, I was able to work closely with legislative staff on the writing and submitting of legislation. Going through such a process you really get to understand why it sometimes seems to take so long before a bill is passed. This does not only apply to the extensive amount of research done before a bill can be written but also all the cosponsoring, vote whipping, and conversations with members of the other chamber as well as the executive branch. My experience has, to a large degree,confirmed Bismarck’s apocryphal quote about laws and sausages: they are messy to make.
The combination of my responsibilities and all the events that happened gave me an intimate insight into the American political system and culture. I learned about American politics, the formation of legislation and how the work of an individual congressperson contributes to it. I learned about American political culture and the intricate relationship between the representative and their constituents. I learned about Beltway networking and which events to visit for the best food to survive as an intern. This experience,therefore, enabled me to develop confidence in my policy skills by letting me work in a political hub in the heart of one of the most important countries in the world.