IEEE-USA Congressional Visits Day

10-11 April 2024



IEEE-USA Congressional Visits Day

10-11 April 2024

CVD Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


Participants will begin on the afternoon of April 10th with a detailed training session and policy briefing, given by IEEE-USA’s legislative professionals. You will then spend April 11th on Capitol Hill meeting with your Legislators and/or their staff to discuss technology policy in the new Congress.

Wednesday, April 10th
2:00PM – 5:00PM EST – CVD Training @ Hart Senate Office Building, Room 902

Thursday, April 11th
8:00AM – 10:30AM EST – Breakfast @ Top of the Hill in the Reserve Organization of America building, 1 Constitution Ave NE
9:00AM – 5:00PM EST (individual schedules will vary) – CVD Congressional Meetings @ House and Senate Office Buildings

For this year’s CVD, we are again working with Soapbox, an outside consulting firm organizing everyone’s Congressional meetings. You will receive an email from them on Thursday, April 4th confirming your individual April 11th Congressional meetings schedule. Look for an email from John Eberhart: Soapbox will also participate in the April 10th in-person Training.

The IEEE-USA CVD isn’t big enough to get a room block at a hotel in DC (although we are getting close!)  Washington is a small city and is easy to navigate. Any hotel in downtown will work, as will any hotel on the DC metro. Uber & Lyft are readily available throughout the area. Hotel prices are usually lower if you stay outside of the District in Maryland or Virginia. Crystal City and adjacent Pentagon City in Arlington, Virginia usually have availability at a relatively good price and are not far from Capitol Hill.

Unless you have other travel plans, we do not recommend driving. There is no parking at the US Capitol Building or the nearby office buildings you will be meeting in. Cabs, Uber/Lyft, or DC metro are recommended for transportation. DC is also a very walkable city. But always plan ahead — DC is notorious for its awful traffic. (You never know when the Presidential motorcade will stop traffic to come zooming by!)

Capitol Hill remains a formal work environment. Business attire is expected for the Congressional meetings.

However, formal shoes are not necessary. You are going to be doing a lot of walking on hard floors. Uncomfortable shoes are a bad idea, no matter how good they look. Comfortable shoes, even nice sneakers, are OK and recommended. Alternatively, you can have fancy shoes for your meetings, and then change out of them into comfortable shoes for the walk between meetings.

For the IEEE-USA training session the day before, business casual is recommended.

For security reasons you cannot leave unattended luggage on Capitol Hill. This means you either have to:

  1. Keep your luggage with you all day as you go from meeting to meeting, which is acceptable (though it will go through security screening when entering each building).
  2. Check your luggage with your hotel in the morning (recommended), or
  3. You can check your luggage at the AMTRAK station at Union Station near Capitol Hill

IEEE-USA will group you with members from your area and you will meet with the US Representatives and Senators from your state. Sometimes you will meet with their staffs if they are unavailable.

Each CVD participant’s schedule will be emailed to them by Apr 4th, one week prior to the CVD meetings. (It’s not uncommon for Congressional meetings to be confirmed or changed at the last minute.) Schedules will also be handed out at the Apr 10th Training Session.

All of our meetings will likely be in the Senate and House office buildings on either side of the Capitol Building, not in the Capitol Building itself. Accessing these buildings is similar to going through security at the airport. There will be an X-ray machine and metal detector manned by US Capitol police. Security is tight, but usually efficient. You do not need to show an ID.

If you find yourself in a long line trying to access a building, just walk around the building until you find a different door. Or enter an adjacent building and use the underground tunnels to get to your meeting. Once inside, signage and maps are readily available.

Security to enter the Capitol Building is much tighter. If you happen to have a meeting in the Capitol Building itself, which would be unusual, separate information will be provided for you.

IEEE-USA has teamed up with an outside consultant, Soapbox, who will provide you with a detailed schedule and map.

Yes! Photos are allowed and encouraged. Videos are encouraged as well, but no recording is permitted during actual meetings. For future CVD promotions and to document the event we would love for you to take pictures with the representatives you meet with.

IEEE-USA will determine the specific topics you will raise in your meetings. Everyone will have the same ones and they will align with the priorities and positions as determined by the IEEE-USA Policy Committees and the Board of Directors.

All IEEE members who live in the US are welcome and encouraged to attend CVD. Student members make great advocates, in part because they are roughly the same age as many staffers on Capitol Hill.

All IEEE members who live in the US are welcome and encouraged to attend CVD. Non-citizens are welcome, although we do recommend that you inform the staffers you are meeting with about your status at the beginning of your meetings. Hill staff will be interested in what you have to say either way, but we want to be transparent.

EVERYONE SPEAKS! Politics is a participatory sport. Everyone should participate in each meeting. You came to Washington to be heard — now is your chance to speak up!

During the Wednesday, Apr 10th afternoon training session, we’ll go into more detail about the structure of a Congressional meeting and what to expect. Generally, they will not go longer than 30 min, and could be as short as 15 min depending on the schedules of the representatives and staffers. We will help you hone your pitch and make sure you make all the relevant “asks.”

Generally, you will be on your own for meals and IEEE-USA staff can make recommendations. We will provide breakfast Thursday morning before your meetings (location to be announced shortly). While you are on Capitol Hill, we recommend that you eat in one of the Congressional cafeterias, which are open to the public. Cafeterias are located in the lower floors of the Longworth, Rayburn, Russell, and Dirksen office buildings.  (There is also a cafeteria in the Capitol Visitors Center, but we don’t recommend it.)

If you have enough time, the Native American Museum is relatively close to Capitol Hill.  It has the best food of all the Smithsonian Museums.

April in DC is typically very pleasant. Temperatures should be mild, although we do get rain frequently. You should be fine with a light coat and, maybe, an umbrella.

Absolutely – please use our handle @IEEEUSA to tag us in your post(s), and use hashtags #ieeeusa and #ieeeusacvd.

IEEE-USA Director of Government Relations:

Staff Contacts

Erik Heilman
Director, IEEE-USA Government Relations
+1 202-530-8325