Tips and tricks for visiting your Senator’s office


Letters and phone calls can make a huge difference on Capitol Hill. But to really make Congress understand what nurses see every day on the job, a face-to-face meeting with a lawmaker or their staff is hard to beat. An office visit shows them the human face of your profession and your patients.

Here’s a quick guide to planning your office visit.

How to set up your meeting:

• Pick a day during the week of January 16th when you could stop by your Senator’s local office.

• Pick which of your two U.S. Senators you’re going to meet with. You should choose whichever Senator you prefer.

• Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your Senator’s office. Tell the staffer you’d like to request a meeting with the staff at your nearest district office about health care – the staffer you speak with can tell you where the closest office is. You probably don’t need to make an appointment, but it’s helpful to make one so you can be sure a knowledgeable staffer will be available.

Fill out this form to let us know when you’ve set up your visit.

Once you’ve scheduled a date and time:

• Do a little homework and figure out where your Representative stands on repealing the Affordable Care Act. You can often find press releases on their websites. Don’t forget: ANA staff is here to help! Feel free to reach out to us in the comments below.

• Jot down a couple notes about how you’ll introduce yourself – your background in nursing, what kind of patients you see or what classes you teach. The staffers you meet will be grateful to have a little context.

• Decide what YOUR number-one worry is about healthcare in America. Is it providing coverage for people with pre-existing conditions? Is it making sure young people can stay on their parents’ health insurance? Is it lifetime coverage caps, or something else entirely? For more ideas and background, check out the rest of the Capitol Beat blog, and be sure to read this letter we sent to the incoming Trump administration about ANA’s principles for any changes made to our health care system. You don’t have to speak to every issue, just what’s important to you personally.

• Remember, you’ll be meeting with staffers who probably don’t know the ins and outs of healthcare as well as you do. Be ready for them to ask you to explain technical terms.

Last but not least, make sure you thank the staffer for their time and attention!

Any questions, concerns, or clarifications? Let us know in the comments!

Welcome to the 115th Congress!


Congress returns today from a holiday break and one of the agenda items high on Republicans’ list is to repeal Obamacare, though they haven’t yet agreed on policies to replace the law.

Fresh from an election that gave Republicans control of both the White House and Congress for the first time since 2006, lawmakers reassemble in the Capitol today to solemnly swear their oath of office, ratify rules changes and prepare for the political combat that will intensify even before Donald Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration as the nation’s 45th president.

The GOP has majorities in the House and Senate it needs to pass such a measure. Yet lawmakers are debating delaying implementation of the repeal for two to four years, which would give them time to come up with a replacement. While President-elect Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to repeal Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act, he has said he wants to maintain some parts, such as allowing people to remain on their parents’ plan until they turn 26 and requiring insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions.

Lawmakers take a brief pause from partisan conflict to celebrate the start of the 115th Congress with a parliamentary ceremony that has all the style, pomp and good cheer of a big family wedding. Swearing in day is a chance to see veterans and freshmen joined by their family and friends on the chamber floor for a festive and work day ahead.

U.S. Senate

For the last time in the 114th Congress, the Senate will meet in pro forma session at 11:55 a.m. Following adjournment, as prescribed by the Constitution, the Senate will stand in recess until noon, when the first Senate session of the 115th Congress is scheduled to begin.

The seven newly elected senators — Democrats Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, Kamala Harris of California, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland and Republicans Todd Young of Indiana and John Kennedy of Louisiana — will take the oath of office after their election certificates are received. The 27 incumbent senators from both parties who were re-elected in November also will be sworn in.

Vice President Joe Biden as Senate president, Biden will swear in the 34 newly elected or re-elected senators today, and then on Friday he gets to preside over a joint session of Congress to certify the Electoral College ballots that sealed Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton.

U.S. House of Representatives

For the last time in the 114th Congress, the House will meet in pro forma session at 11 a.m. The House is scheduled to meet at noon to convene the first session of the 115th Congress.

The clerk of the House will call the chamber into session, lead a quorum call and preside over the election of the speaker. Watch to see if Republicans nominate or cast votes for someone other than Ryan or whether any Democrat nominates or votes for someone other than Pelosi. Members are called upon to stand and cast their votes individually when their surname is called in alphabetical order.

Following his expected election to a two-year term as speaker, Ryan will make remarks and be sworn in by Michigan Democrat John Conyers, the chamber’s longest-serving member. Then the newly re-elected speaker will administer the oath of office to his House colleagues.