The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

2015 First-Year Fellow: David Tramonte '18

Article Type 

As a First-Year Fellow, I worked at the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the research arm of the Legislative Branch, which serves both the House and Senate. Essentially, it is Congress’s think tank, delving into the details of any policy matter that congressional staff or members may be interested in. If someone from a congressional office wants to know further information about any subject, the CRS is obligated to offer objective, non-partisan information. It informs the legislative debate, but never gives policy suggestions or advice; only facts. CRS publishes reports that are available to all members or staffers, as well as memos and briefs that can only be viewed by the Congressional offices or committees that request them.

David Tramonte '18 in the Madison building, where he interned with the CRS.

During my time at CRS, there were a couple of experiences that I found to be exceptionally rewarding. The first was being in the middle of the Hill debate over the Iran Nuclear Agreement, or JCPOA, that was reached between Iran and the P5+1. As I worked in Defense Policy and Arms Control, analysts in my research section researched necessary information for the agreement. I went to several Congressional hearings to hear the debate and different interpretations of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the most notable being the first Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing after the deal was announced.

David Tramonte '18 outside the Supreme Court.

As analysts in my research section were being berated on all sides by requests, my job was to clarify certain details of the report for them. During my last week at CRS, I also worked on a table detailing Iran’s number of centrifuges and uranium stockpile since 2003, based on International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reports. To contribute even a little to what may have been the most publicized policy issue of the summer was an incredibly rewarding experience. Getting acknowledged at the bottom of published CRS reports was another of my favorite experiences at the CRS. Seeing my name at the bottom of reports for Congress makes me feel like I had actually made a difference during my time at CRS, and I could not be happier with my work there.

-Written by David Tramonte '18

This series introduces the 2015 First-Year Fellows. Each fellow reflects on his or her experience in Washington DC as a First-Year Fellow working with a mentor in public policy. 

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences