Pretend you’re in Congress and we’ll give you a committee assignment

(Illustrations by Jordan Awan for The Washington Post)

Congratulations, you’ve been elected by the voters in your House district to represent them in the 118th Congress. Now it’s time to roll up your sleeves and start making legislation. Seems pretty straightforward, right?

Well, not so fast. Joining a committee, where the bulk of legislation is drafted, is both a little bit art and a little bit science. Congressional committees serve as an opportunity for lawmakers to oversee some of the most pressing issues the country is facing and develop expertise in specific policy areas. And a prime committee assignment could alter the trajectory of a member of Congress, whether catapulting them into important legislative conversations or into the pop culture lexicon. (Oh, you’ve never seen a viral video from a Capitol Hill committee hearing? Of course you have.)

There are several steps to securing a committee assignment. First, your party’s steering committee — yes, that’s a committee to decide if you can join a committee — needs to recommend you for a specific assignment. Then, those recommendations are put to a vote by your party. After that, the two parties vote on those recommendations, and finally a resolution is introduced on the House floor to formalize the assignments.

So, let’s put you in the shoes of a lawmaker trying to decide where you might fit best. Answer these questions to see which committee would suit your interests, and then we’ll show you how the politicking begins.

Your region demographics

Question 1 of 6
Where is your district?

Question 2 of 6
What type of district do you represent?

Question 3 of 6
What is the partisan nature of your district?

Your interests and experience

Question 4 of 6
What’s your previous work experience?

Select all that apply

Medical field
Owned a business
Owned a farm or garden
None of the above

Question 5 of 6
What issues did you highlight in your campaign?

Select all that apply

War in Ukraine/military issues
Government spending/debt
The economy
Health care
Child care
The Supreme Court/judicial system
Infrastructure issues
The environment

Networking in the House

Question 6 of 6
Do you want to make a name for yourself right away?

The art of politics

Other factors play into whether you’ll be assigned your preferred committee. To account for this, we’ll randomize how well known you are, how controversial you are and how well you work with others.

You are well-known.

You are controversial.

This is where more of the art, as opposed to the science, comes into play. Some factors that determine who gets which committee assignments happen far outside the halls of Congress. Whether you have a strong base of national supporters, are a political lightning rod or belong to the majority party can play a major role in who gets valued committee assignments. There are many other intangible factors in the process, including whether you’re a people person or a more solitary figure on the Hill.

You need to answer every question to see your result. You’re missing questions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.


Illustrations by Jordan Awan. Design and development by Stephanie Hays and Irfan Uraizee. Copy editing by Mike Cirelli. Editing by Annah Aschbrenner and Kainaz Amaria. Design editing by Madison Walls.