Visiting Your Members of Congress
Schedule a Meeting
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What to do after the NASBP Fly-in Day
Thank you for agreeing to attend the National Association of Surety Bond Producers (NASBP) Legislative Fly-in Day. The purpose of this guide is to help you prepare for your visit to Washington, DC on Wednesday, June 10. The information contained on this page will range from planning your trip to Washington, DC to making your congressional visits once you arrive in our Nation’s Capitol.
NASBP has undertaken great efforts to increase its visibility on Capitol Hill to advocate its federal government relations agenda and to remind elected officials and their staff about the important role surety bonds play in our Nation’s economy.
The event will begin the evening of Tuesday, June 9, at a pre-Fly-in reception at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., during which NASBP will provide talking points for Fly-in attendees. On Wednesday, June 10, attendees will be served continental breakfast and enjoy a short program. The rest of the day will be dedicated to Capitol Hill appointments and will end with an evening cocktail reception at the Hyatt Regency. Note that to help the membership prepare for the Fly-in, NASBP will be hosting a Virtual Seminar at 2 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday, June 4, to discuss this year's legislative issues and talking points. This June 4 Virtual Seminar will be free to all NASBP Fly-in registrants.
Legislative Fly-in Program
This year, NASBP will be hosting a Virtual Seminar on Thursday, June 4 at 2:00 pm to discuss this year's issues and talking points. This seminar will be free to all Fly-in registrants.
The Fly-in event will begin Tuesday evening, June 9 with a pre-Fly-in reception where we will discuss the talking points for Fly-in attendees. Wednesday, June 10 will begin with a morning briefing from 7:45am to 9:30am, the rest of the day will be dedicated to Capitol Hill appointments. Attendees are then invited to a cocktail reception that evening back at the Hyatt Regency where they can debrief their colleagues on their visits that day.
Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill
400 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
Located just steps from the US Capitol Building the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill is the idea location to take advantage of D.C.'s sites, restaurants and attractions.
To make reservations, contact the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill at (202) 737-1234 Group Name: NASBP Meeting
Even though NASBP has a block of rooms available at the special NASBP group rate, these rooms could sell out before the hotel room cut-off date of Friday May 8th. Room reservations are held on a first-come, first-served basis and NASBP cannot guarantee an accommodation once the room block is sold out. To avoid disappointment at not getting into the hotel, please call immediately to reserve your hotel room. A one night deposit is required at time of making the reservation. This deposit will not be refunded if the reservation is cancelled less than 48 hours prior to check-in.
Scheduling Your Visit
Below are helpful directions and pointers to schedule your congressional appointment(s):
- Call or email the congressional representative’s office. All offices may be reached by calling the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. (The operator will answer the call saying, “Capitol Switchboard;” the caller requests, “Will you please connect me to Senator/Representative ______’s office.”) You should do this at least one month prior to your intended visit.
- Once connected to the congressional representative’s office, request to speak with the scheduler or appointments’ secretary.
- Identify yourself as a constituent of the congressional representative and let the scheduler know that you will be visiting Washington, DC on June 10 and that you are seeking an appointment with the legislator.
- When setting up an appointment, ask for an appointment with the member of Congress. If your congressional representative is unable to meet with you, ask for an appointment with the staff person that handles the issues you wish to address. This might be the chief of staff, the legislative director or a legislative assistant. If you receive an appointment with a staff person, be sure to confirm the name and title of the staff person before thanking the scheduler and ending the call.
- If you are not successful in securing a meeting, follow-up with a phone call a few days later, and continue to contact the office until you secure a meeting time with the office.
- If you are unsure who your members of Congress are, please visit the NASBP Grassroots Action Center by clicking here. This page includes tools to identify and contact your federal elected officials to make an appointment with them.
- When making multiple appointments, it is important to keep in mind where offices are located. It is approximately a 20-25 minute walk from Senate office buildings to House office buildings.
- House office buildings are coded by a number; a meeting in a 3 digit room is in Cannon, a meeting in a 4 digit room beginning with a 1 is in Longworth; and a meeting in a 4 digit room beginning with a 2 is in Rayburn (for example, if you have a 2 p.m. meeting in Room 1233 and a 2:30 p.m. meeting in room 303, your first meeting is on the second floor of Longworth followed by a meeting on the third floor of Cannon. Click here to download a map of Capitol Hill including the Senate and House Office Buildings.
- If the office asks what issues you would like to discuss, tell them you would like to discuss issues relating to federal construction contracting and surety bonding, including preserving the Federal Miller Act and prohibiting the practice of contracting bundling so that small construction firms can compete on federal construction projects. NASBP will provide attendees with leave-behind materials describing these issues succinctly.
- Call to confirm your meeting two or three days beforehand.
- Please plan on arriving at least 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointments, as you will be required to enter through security at each of the House/Senate Office buildings.
- Please remember to bring a government issued photo ID.
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Visit Dos and Don’ts
- Don't be disappointed. Even though your meeting is with the congressional representative, expect to meet with a member of his/her staff instead. Senators and Representatives rely heavily on the opinions of their staff when making decisions.
- Don’t expect to meet with the congressional representative or his/her staff for more than twenty to thirty minutes.
- Be flexible. Your meeting suddenly may take place in the hallway on the way to a vote or may be cancelled with no warning. Members' schedules are constantly changing, which may end up affecting your meeting.
- Be concise with your points. Refer to your one-page talking points that NASBP will provide as a reference.
- Do connect with your congressional members and their staff. Ask them to share their goals and the issues they care about. Try to find common ground between their priorities and yours.
- Don’t be argumentative. Do be polite and extend the courtesy you yourself would expect.
- Do thank your congressional representative. Thank them for supportive actions they have taken or simply for meeting with you.
- Be prepared to speak to opposing positions. Know opposing viewpoints, so that you can more effectively articulate and defend your points. If you don't know the answer to a question or how to respond to your Congressperson, tell him/her that you will get more information.
- Make specific, clear requests and ask for an answer. Your congressional representative ultimately works for you, and he/she needs to know specifically what you want, whether it is to sponsor a bill, vote a certain way, or speak with another Representative or Senator. In addition to your requests, don't be afraid to ask your congressional representative what he/she feels can be done for your issue.
- Do leave behind concise information, specifically the one-page talking points document (that NASBP will provide you). If you leave large amounts of reading material, your main message will get lost in the volume of paper. Put this information in a file folder with your organization's name on the label. Make sure that your website address and contact information are on every piece of correspondence that you leave or send to the office.
- Do follow-up after the meeting with a brief thank you note and any information that you agreed to furnish the congressional representative.
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What is the closest airport to Capitol Hill?
The closest airport to Capitol Hill is Ronald Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia. The two other DC-area airports are BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport (Baltimore, MD) and Dulles International Airport (Chantilly, VA). Reagan National Airport is less than five miles from Capitol Hill and is accessible by public transportation. BWI and Dulles are not accessible by DC public transportation, but do have shuttle service to DC.
How can I get to/from the airport to the hotel?
If you take the Washington, DC Metro system (DC's subway), the hotel is near the Union Station stop, which is accessible by the Red line. Taxis and other transportation are available from Reagan National to the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill. For additional information concerning maps and directions to the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill, click here.
When and where is the event taking place?
There will be a welcome reception from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm on the evening of Tuesday June 9 at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill, 400 New Jersey Avenue, NW, Washington, DC. A brief morning program that includes a continental breakfast will be held the morning of Wednesday, June 10 at the same hotel, the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill. Be sure to return to the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill that evening for a cocktail reception.
How do I get from the Hyatt to Capitol Hill?
The Hyatt is a just short walk to the Senate and House Office Buildings on Capitol Hill. To download a map of Capitol Hill including the Senate and House Office Buildings, click here. Taxis are also available for a nominal charge to Capitol Hill.
Where is the NASBP Reception?
A closing reception will be held after your visits at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill.
What is the dress for the event?
The appropriate dress for visiting a Congressional office is business attire.
What do I need to bring with me for the event?
What will NASBP provide for me?
NASBP will provide briefing material/issue briefs on issues of concern, a name tag, and folders for your visits to your members of Congress that you may leave behind. Also, please bring plenty of business cards for networking and to leave behind on your Hill visits.
What restaurants are nearby the Hotel and Capitol Hill?
The Hotel has a restaurant called the Article One American Grill. Within close walking distance of the Hyatt Regency are, B. Smith’s at Union Station (American), Bistro Bis, (French) 15 E Street NE, Charlie Palmer’s Steak, 101 Constitution Ave, NW, the Monocle, (American) 107 D Street, NE and Johnny’s on the Half Shell, 400 North Capital Street, NW.
For more casual dining there is the Union Station Food Court, 2 Massachusetts Ave, and the Dubliner (Irish), 520 North Capital Street. If your meetings are on the House side of the Capitol, there is Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar, (American) 223 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, and the Thunder Grill, (Southwestern) 50 Massachusetts Ave, SE. Visit the Hotel’s website for additional choices.
If your meetings are on the Senate side of the Capitol, for more formal dining there is B. Smith’s at Union Station (American), Bistro Bis, (French) 15 E Street NE, Charlie Palmer’s Steak, 101 Constitution Ave, NW or the Monocle, (American) 107 D Street, NE. For more casual dining there is the Union Station Food Court, 2 Massachusetts Ave, and the Dubliner (Irish), 520 North Capital Street.
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Thank you for participating in NASBP’s Legislative Fly-in Day for 2015. The following are the steps you need to take after your participation in the event:
- Let NASBP know how your visits went. This is critical to NASBP’s advocacy efforts and allows us to ensure that any questions posed by Congressional staff can be answered in a timely manner.
- Please let NASBP know of any feedback you may have concerning the Fly-in event. What might you have changed about the program, reception, materials, etc.? Your feedback allows NASBP to make changes accordingly to next year's program.
- Keep up to date with NASBP advocacy efforts through our government relations web pages and communications, by clicking here.
- Stay engaged by volunteering to serve on NASBP committees, such as the Government Relations Committee.
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