The Primary Responsibilities of Each Position in Each House of Congress Separately
A body of publicly available job advertisements for staff positions from a number of different offices can shed light on the expectations Members have for position duties, as well as staff skills, characteristics, experience, and other expectations.
One observer of Congress notes that the first job of a Member is to come to grips with the dimensions of [their] role and develop a personal approach to [their] tasks (Burdett A. Loomis, 1975). Given the many challenges, the overall conclusion is readily apparent: the key to effectiveness in Congress is the ability to organize well within a framework of carefully selected priorities. It is not possible, however, to construct a grand master plan such that priorities and the time devoted to each will neatly mesh, for legislative life is subject to sudden and numerous complications (Davidson and Oleszek, 1981).
In the absence of formal authorities, many of the responsibilities that Members of Congress have assumed over the years have evolved from the expectations of Members and their constituents.
Davidson and Oleszek, Congress and its Members, pp. 140-145; Robert H. Salisbury and Kenneth A. Shepsle, "U.S. Congressman as Enterprise," Legislative Studies Quarterly, vol. 6, November 1981, pp. 559-576;
Burdett A. Loomis, "The Congressional Office as a Small (?) Business: New Members Set Up Shop," Publius, vol. 9, Summer 1979, pp. 35-55.
Gregory J. Wawro, Legislative Entrepreneurship in the U.S. House of Representatives (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2000)