March 7 - 8, 2010 · Washington, DC

How to Set Up Your Congressional Visit
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Find information on your representatives' voting records here.

The key to scheduling a meeting with your congressional representatives or their staff is persistence.

You may have to make numerous calls to renew your request and nail down a meeting.

To copy and paste a template meeting request that you can personalize and fax to your congressional office click here.

Background Information

To schedule a meeting with a congressional office it is a good idea to start calling 4-6 weeks before your requested visit. It is best to set an appointment rather than just showing up at the office (although, if you are unable to schedule an appointment, you may still show up. See below for more information on that option).

Before you call, be prepared to discuss your issue. The staffer you talk to may ask you questions about your subject. If you have a good command of your topic and know what you want to meet about, it will be easier to get the atention needed.

If you are persistant, you can get a meeting with your representative. Often, however, you will end up with meet with a congressional staffer (the person responsible for tracking a specific issue and advising the congressperson on how to vote).

Meetings with congressional staffers can be almost as important as meeting with the member of Congress, so don't be discouraged if this is your outcome. Many times, the staffer's will have significant influence on the position of the congressional representative whom he/she advises. For most issues relating to Israel/Palestine, you will want to meet with the Legislative Aide on Foreign Policy or Human Rights issues. Usually that person will be based in Washington DC, but there will also be an aide in the local District Office who can meet with you.

You have the option of meeting with your legislators in either local District Office or Washington, DC offices. If you want to meet your representatives locally, ask for appointments during congressional recess periods (around holidays) when your member is home in your district. When making appointments at the Washington office, note that many members may not be in their offices on Mondays or Fridays. If you are making appointments on these days, you may end up speaking with staffers.

You can often make plans to visit the Washington office through the local office. Otherwise, contact the national office and ask the office scheduler to arrange the meeting.

Before your meeting, be sure to research your representative's voting record. Check out the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation's Congressional Report Card.

How to Make Your Appointment

You can find contact information (including phone numbers) for congressional offices at or You can also call the Capitol switchboard at 202.224.3121. Search your local listings or representatives' websites for the phone numbers of local District Offices.

You may also choose to fax a meeting request before you call. You should do this the same day, or the day before, you call. For a sample fax containing a meeting request, click here.

When calling to make an appointment, follow this process:

  1. Introduce yourself as a constituent. Tell the person answeing that you are interested in setting up a meeting with the member in order to discuss how you are being represented.
  2. Explain the issue you would like to discuss. Request to meet with the congressional representative.
  3. If someone in your group knows the congressional member personally or professionally, make sure that the scheduler is aware of the relationship.
  4. If the member is not available, ask what hours of the day she will be available. Request a meeting at that time.
  5. If there is no chance of meeting with your member, let the office determine who it would be best for you to meet with (usually this will be Foreign Policy and/or Human Rights Staff).
  6. Be flexible and accommodating of your member's (or staff person's) schedule
  7. Obtaining a meeting may be a long and difficult process. Staffers may give you the run-around. If you need to meet with your representative (instead of a staffer), be polite but persistent. Don't give up. If you are polite and persistant, it often does result in a meeting.
  8. Make sure you get the name, title and email address of the person who scheduled your appointment and the staffer you are scheduled to meet with.
  9. Immediately after you schedule a meeting, send a confirmation letter via email and fax that includes a list of those who will attend the meeting (you can always add more names later if your group gets bigger).
  10. Several days before the meeting, call the member's office to confirm your appointment.
  11. Call again the day of your meeting. If you have only scheduled a meeting with a staffer ask again if the member might be available to join your meeting (it doesn't hurt to keep trying and schedules often change the day of).

Showing Up:

If you are unable to set up a meeting ahead of time, you may show up at the office. If doing this, ask for "just a moment of the foreign policy aide's time." Let them know you are from the District and are in Washington temporarily.

If the aide is unavailable, leave a note or information about why you came to visit and what you would like to discuss.

Follow up with a phone call and/or email and request to meet with Foreign Policy staff at the District Office when you get home.


For more information on meetings with members of congress, including step-by-step tips on what to do BEFORE, AFTER, and DURING the meeting, see:

Before your meeting, be sure to research your representative's voting record. Check out the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation's Congressional Report Card.




This event is sponsored by:
Interfaith Peace-Builders and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

Endorsed by:
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, The American Friends Service Committee - Chicago, CODEPINK: Women for Peace, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Holy Land Trust, the Islamic Circle of North America, ICNA Council for Social Justice, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions - USA, Jewish Voice for Peace, the Middle East Research and Information Project, the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation, Progressive Democrats of America, the Washington Peace Center.

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