Job Announcement: Policy Manager

POLICY MANAGER, DEMAND PROGRESS

Want to fix Congress? Do you think members and staff are captive to a broken process and lack the resources to do their jobs? Do you want your government to be transparent, accountable, and effective? Do you want to rebuild Congress’ science and technology capabilities? If so, this job is for you.

Demand Progress is looking for a smart, self-starting, intensely curious person fascinated by legislative policy-making who is willing to roll up their sleeves to make things better.

WHAT YOU’LL DO
You will be a policy manager working as part of a small team focused on strengthening Congress’s capacity to govern and understand science and technology issues, led by Daniel Schuman, Demand Progress policy director.

You will spend 100% of your time working to improve Congress, using whatever techniques we can figure out to help us get there. We are focused on helping the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, the Committee on House Administration, the Senate Rules Committee, the House and Senate legislative branch appropriations subcommittees, and Congress’s support support offices and agencies.

The work includes:

• Research and Writing: Performing research and writing white papers, reports, articles, blogs, and contributing to our weekly newsletter (the First Branch Forecast).

• Connecting with People: Attending hearings, convening people, working with the media, representing the organization at coalition meetings, and using electronic media (twitter, listservs, etc.).

• Lobbying and lobbying support: This is a smaller but important part of your job: helping to draft legislation, one-pagers, keeping in touch with staff, and supporting legislative staff who have good ideas.

• More: Figuring out new ways to solve problems, as well as a fair amount of the usual humdrum paper-pushing.

We strongly believe in helping staff grow and achieve their potential. You will get a lot of runway (and a lot of help), and we want you to make the most of it.

We are a small but mighty team.

OUR PHILOSOPHY AND BACKGROUND
Demand Progress has a progressive philosophy; however, making Congress better is not a liberal or conservative issue. You are expected to be able to work with everyone from across the political spectrum. I do mean everyone. At the same time, the institutions inside Congress that support legislative expertise come out of the progressive era, so it’s important to stay grounded in the idea that Congress must work for all Americans.

COMPENSATION
The salary is $80-95k, depending on your experience. In addition, Demand Progress offers excellent benefits such as employer-paid health insurance, a 3% retirement match, 3 weeks vacation (plus the week between Christmas and New Years), parental leave, travel expenses, and short and long term disability insurance. This position is considered exempt for overtime purposes.

You can work from wherever you want— we don’t have a central office — but you are expected to regularly attend meetings with Congress and with civil society organizations in the Washington, D.C. area. You also can keep flexible hours, subject to the approval of your supervisor and the needs of the job.

This is a grant funded position and this position is funded for the next year.

QUALITIES YOU SHOULD POSSESS:

  • Openness to implementing unconventional and innovative ideas.
  • Be self-starting, resourceful, and organized.
  • The ability to manage multiple projects and meet deadlines.
  • Be a proactive problem solver (and avoid the word proactive).
  • Strong attention to detail.
  • Strong written and oral communication skills.
  • A willingness to learn and to teach.
  • A sense of humor and a sense of the absurd.

A bachelor’s degree with at least 3 years of related work experience, ideally as staff on Capitol Hill. (Hill journalists count, too.) You must already possess significant expertise in how the lawmaking process works, and experience with the aforementioned committees and offices is a definite plus. Familiarity with the former Office of Technology Assessment and efforts to revive it also is a plus. You must be a capable and fluent writer that is used to dealing with complex subject matter at length and on a deadline. This is not an entry-level position.

Comfort with Google applications (Gmail, Google docs, calendar, etc).

Basic computer/technology skills or understanding thereof.

Strong analytical skills. You must be able to figure out why things work as they do and what the effects are of changing the underlying system.

ABOUT DEMAND PROGRESS

Demand Progress is a national grassroots organization with 2.5 million members that promotes the democratic character of the internet and uses it to break concentrated power and make government accountable. Our work focuses on the final part: building up the legislative branch as an institution capable of overseeing the executive branch and making smart legislative decisions.

We are fiscally sponsored by New Venture Fund and the SixteenThirty Fund, 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) organizations. In other words, we’re a traditional non-profit and we can lobby and engage in political activity. Your work largely will fit comfortably into 501(c)(3) work, although you will do some 501(c)(4) work. Depending on the circumstances, you may have to register as a lobbyist if you spend 20% of your time lobbying, although that is unlikely.

HOW TO APPLY
We will begin reviewing applications no later than August 9, 2019, and continue on a rolling basis.

Please submit your job application to jobs@demandprogress.org. Please follow the following directions:

  • In the subject line, write: “Policy Manager: yourname
  • In the body, please include your first and last name, your phone number, and an email address to contact you.
  • Please attach a cover letter, resume, and a writing sample or two. The writing sample (or two) should demonstrate your ability to analyze, explain, or summarize a topic, ideally something that’s congressionally-related.

MORE ABOUT DEMAND PROGRESS
Demand Progress is committed to the principles of social and economic justice, and we try to build a workplace where all employees are treated fairly, feel respected as individuals, and enjoy working together. Additionally, we recognize that the issues we work on play out differently in different kinds of communities, and value the perspective of people from communities that have traditionally experienced discrimination.

People of color, women, people with disabilities, and LGBT people are especially encouraged to apply.

NEW VENTURE FUND CAREERS

Demand Progress is a project of the SixteenThirty Fund, a 501(c)(4) advocacy organization; and Demand Progress Education Fund is a project of the New Venture Fund, a 501(c)(3) public charity that incubates new and innovative public-interest projects and grant-making programs. The New Venture Fund is committed to attracting, developing and retaining exceptional people, and to creating a work environment that is dynamic, rewarding and enables each of us to realize our potential. The New Venture Fund’s work environment is safe and open to all employees and partners, respecting the full spectrum of race, color, religious creed, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, political affiliation, ancestry, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, and all other classifications protected by law in the locality and/or state in which you are working.

(First announced on August 5, 2019)

Rule of Law(makers)

We’ve previously written about the rules that rule the rules, which has to be one of the world’s wonkiest subjects. In short, each party in the House and Senate has rules that govern their conference or caucus, leading to different party rules for (1) House Democrats, (2) House Republicans, (3) Senate Democrats, and (4) Senate Republicans. 

Party rules shape the power structure inside the party: they govern things like committee chair assignments and term limits for leadership. These rules can empower rank and file members and give them a voice, strengthen committees, or consolidate power in the hands of a few at the top.  Continue reading “Rule of Law(makers)”

Forecast for July 29, 2019.

FirstBranchForecast

The House is out for August recess; the Senate has one week to go. Here’s what you need to know for the week of July 29, 2019.

SELECT COMMITTEE GRAND SLAM
The Fix Congress Committee
 adopted two-dozen recommendations last week and also turned their May recommendations into H. Res 526. A super-majority of the committee is required to adopt recommendations; these were adopted unanimously. Continue reading “Forecast for July 29, 2019.”

GPO Watchdog Testimony Raises Concerns About the Agency

The Government Publishing Office’s (GPO) lack of permanent leadership was just one of the major issues raised at this week’s oversight hearing of the GPO Office of the Inspector General.

Senate Rules Committee Chairman Roy Blunt kicked off the hearing by voicing concerns over shaky leadership: the agency hasn’t had a permanent director since October 2017 and has been under the leadership of Acting Deputy Director John Crawford for the last 12 months. On top of that, five of the ten GPO executive leadership team positions are vacant with employees serving in an acting capacity, according to Chairman Blunt’s remarks. 

The Chairman also noted that it’s not just the agency leadership that’s in flux; GPO Inspector General (IG) Michael Leary is the third person to hold the position in the last 16 months. Continue reading “GPO Watchdog Testimony Raises Concerns About the Agency”

Forecast for July 22, 2019.

The last week before recess is always crazy and this week will be no exception. We apologize for skipping the Forecast over the last two weeks, but we were literally and figuratively underwater.

ON THE RADAR

Negotiations over appropriations levels and the debt ceiling must result in a long-term agreement, a short term agreement, Congress returning during the recess, or a government shutdown. Expect to see members forced to vote on a deal they don’t like. For our purposes, the big question is whether Pelosi fights to restore funding for leg branch, and, uh, whether the government shuts down.

Mueller’s testimony will dominate the news most of the week, alongside the Jeffrey Epstein scandal and Trump’s ongoing racist attacks on the squad. (Note I did not mention the refugee concentration camps, which have fallen out of the news, but are subtext to the appropriations fight and a BFD.) Trump impeachment on one hand and racist attacks may motivate base voters and it wouldn’t surprise me if two dozen more dems come out for impeachment.

Hearings worth monitoringContinue reading “Forecast for July 22, 2019.”

Capitol Police Arrests: What Department Data Does and Doesn’t Tell Us

It’s been a little over six months since the U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) started posting arrest summaries. Here’s what the data tell us:

Between December 19, 2018 and June 24, 2019  USCP disclosed 271 incidents where 531 individuals were arrested. Incidents can involve more than one individual getting arrested, which explains the gap in those two figures. Of these 271 incidents:

  • 13.7% (37 incidents) took place at or around Union Station, with 54% (20) of those incidents involving drugs.
  • 12.5% (34 incidents) took place in congressional office buildings and the Capitol or directly adjacent to those buildings. 188 individuals were arrested during these incidents. 
  • The most common charges issued: 36% of incidents included charges for driving without a valid license (98 incidents) and 13% of incidents included charges for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (36 incidents). 

Continue reading “Capitol Police Arrests: What Department Data Does and Doesn’t Tell Us”

The Changing Nature of Misconduct Complaints Against Capitol Police Employees

Demand Progress obtained ten years’ worth of reports summarizing complaints against U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) employees. According to the data:

Total complaint cases are up by almost 70% in the last decade. USCP reported 151 complaints in fiscal year (FY) 2009 compared to 253 complaints in calendar year 2018. We should note that the number of USCP officers has also significantly increased over that time: the department has 1,799 full time employees in FY 2009 compared to 2,283 at the start of FY 19.

Internal complaint cases have more than doubled since 2016. USCP reported 212 internal complaint cases in 2018: that’s a 118% increase from the 80 reported in 2016 and a 226% jump from the 65 reported in FY 2010. These has been some suggestion this has been caused, in part, by race-based and gender-based discrimination within the department. Continue reading “The Changing Nature of Misconduct Complaints Against Capitol Police Employees”