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February 28, 2000

MEDIA ADVISORY
Congressional Research Service of Library of Congress Holds Daylong Conference on "Informing the Congress and the Nation"

Open to Press, Members of Congress, Congressional Staff

To commemorate the Library's Bicentennial in 2000, the Library's Congressional Research Service (CRS) is hosting a one-day conference on March 1 with Members of Congress, scholars, and members of the press discussing the various ways in which Congress has acquired the information it needs to make effective legislative decisions, from the early 19th century to the present day.

The morning panel of scholars will discuss the roles that newspapers, exchanges of information in the Member boarding house communities, and caucuses played in informing Members in the first third of the 19th century. The panel will also examine the legislative process during the same period. This panel will meet in the Members' Room, first floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building.

A luncheon session will take place in the Northwest Pavilion of the first floor of the Jefferson Building, LJ 119, with former Members Dale Bumpers, Mickey Edwards, Nancy Kassebaum and David Skaggs exchanging insights and experiences about the various ways in which Members have informed themselves about legislation in the latter part of the 20th century. James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress, will moderate the discussion.

The third and final session of the day, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Members' Room, features a panel of journalists who will share their perspectives on the evolution of the informing function in the contemporary Congress, including the influence of radio and television.

Because of limited space, the daylong conference is open only to Members of Congress, their staffs, and members of the press. The conference is supported in part by a grant from the Teresa and H. John Heinz III Foundation.

The Congressional Research Service, an administrative unit within the Library of Congress, works exclusively and directly for all Members and committees of Congress in support of their legislative, oversight and representative functions. CRS provides research, analysis and informational services that are timely, objective, nonpartisan and confidential on a wide range of domestic and international legislative issues.

The full program for the conference is attached.

Informing the Congress and the Nation
A Library of Congress -- Congressional Research Service Bicentennial Conference
March 1, 2000

Morning Panel -- Congress: The Information Function in the Early Republic
Members' Room, Jefferson Building

9:00 a.m. to noon
The panel will discuss the ways Congress informed itself in the first third of the 19th century, including newspapers, circular letters, and the role of caucuses and Member boarding house communities in Washington. The panelists will also examine the legislative process during the same period, including sources of legislation, research, bill drafting, and Members' relationship with the fledgling Library of Congress.

Dr. Noble Cunningham, Moderator
Dr. Richard John, University of Illinois, Chicago
Dr. Thomas Leonard, University of California, Berkley
Dr. Donald Ritchie, Associate Historian, U.S. Senate Historical Office

Luncheon and Former Members Panel
Northwest Pavilion, LJ-119, Jefferson Building

12:30 to 2 p.m.
Former Members of Congress will share and exchange insights, experiences, and perspectives from the standpoint of their distinguished legislative careers on the changing ways Members have informed themselves about legislation as the modern legislature has emerged over the past half-century.

Dr. James H. Billington, Moderator
Honorable Dale Bumpers
Honorable Mickey Edwards
Honorable Nancy Kassebaum
Honorable David Skaggs

Afternoon Panel: The Evolution of Congress and Changing Perceptions of Congress
Jefferson Building -- Members' Room

2:30-4:30 p.m.
A panel of journalists will share their perspectives on the evolution of the informing function in the contemporary Congress, including such topics as changes in the ways Members inform themselves on legislation, the growth of interest group politics and the influence of changing technologies, from radio and television to e-mail and the World-Wide Web.

4:30 p.m Closing Remarks

This program is made possible in part by a grant from the Teresa and H. John Heinz III Foundation.

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PR 00-025
2/28/00
ISSN 0731-3527

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