Preparing your VIP to testify before Congress

How speechwriters can get in on the action.

How speechwriters can get in on the action

One of the more endearing characteristics of our federal government is its penchant for ritual. Even when the executive and legislative branches are sniping at one another like middle-aged sisters at a family reunion, there are moments when all sides come together to faithfully reenact chapters from the Book of Pomp and Circumstance — restoring, albeit temporarily, a modicum of faith in our democratic form of government and the rule of law.

One of those chapters is entitled Testimony Before Congress. Specifically, we’re talking about testimony provided at legislative hearings, which occur quite regularly when Congress is in session. (Other types of hearings involving testimony, such as highly publicized investigations into malfeasance by Highly Placed Persons, like banking or auto executives, are another matter entirely.)

In this particular chapter, a handful or more of Senate or House members who have clawed their way onto an Important Committee or a Slightly Less Important Subcommittee take time from their busy day to sit behind an elevated wooden table and listen to several Very Knowledgeable and Important Personages opine on the merits and challenges of the Topic at Hand.

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