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Since its launch in 2002, nearly 700 junior staffers have graduated from the program with a firmer grounding in first principles, a better grasp of public policy, and a broader conservative network.

Every Friday from mid-February through the end of July, a recognized expert will lead a discussion on first principles, public policy, congressional procedure, or professional development. Sessions run from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., and lunch is provided at no cost to participants or their offices. The program also includes networking happy hours and a day-long trip to Mount Vernon.

HCF offers enrolled staffers an opportunity to discuss legislative issues, gain practical job skills, and learn about our founding principles, conservatism, and liberalism. Weekly events will also help participants develop, promote, and defend conservative policies, making them more effective in their respective offices.

How to Apply

While there is no limit to the number of participants from each office, participation is limited to permanent junior staffers (e.g. Staff Assistants, Legislative Correspondents, Press Assistants, Schedulers, and junior Legislative Assistants). Interns may not participate. To apply, please fill out and submit the short application found here.

For more information, please contact Sydney Combs at 202-608-6260 or

Program Details and Guidelines

  • The program – including lunches, social events, and reading materials – is offered at no cost to participants or their offices.
  • Regular participants are notified of the event topic, speaker, location, and suggested readings by email at the beginning of each week.
  • Social events typically include 2-3 happy hours, a field trip to Mount Vernon the week of Memorial Day, and a graduation ceremony in late September.
  • All discussions are off the record.
  • Participants should arrive on time, as the program each week starts promptly at 12:30.
  • Regular attendance is recommended, and generally expected, as an attendance rate of 70% is necessary to graduate from the program.
  • Reading assigned materials, though not required, adds value to the program and allows participants to learn more from each session.
  • While scheduling conflicts arise, HCF participants are encouraged to stay for the entirety of each session.


Registered staffers who attend 70% of programs are invited to a graduation ceremony at the Capitol Hill Club where they receive a Heritage Congressional Fellowship graduation certificate – a copy of which is also forwarded to their nominating Chief of Staff or Legislative Director. HCF Graduates are then eligible to participate in a number of more advanced fellowships and programs offered through The Heritage Foundation.

Past Speakers

Ryan Anderson, David Azerrad, Tim Carney, Tucker Carlson, Jonah Goldberg, Ed Feulner, Bill Kristol, Yuval Levin, Frank Luntz, Ed Meese, Steve Moore, Charles Murray, Ramesh Ponnuru, Ben Shapiro, Christina Hoff Sommers, Marc Thiessen, and many more leading conservative intellectuals and policy experts.

Expected Topics 

First Principles

  • What Are Conservatives For?
  • Where is Liberalism Going?
  • Tocqueville and American Democracy
  • The Political Theory of the Declaration of Independence
  • An Introduction to the Constitution
  • Federalism 101
  • The Administrative State

Career Development

  • Congressional Committees
  • Floor Procedures
  • The Budget Process
  • Keys to Success as a Congressional Staffer
  • How to Write an Op-Ed

Domestic Policy

  • Healthcare
  • Education
  • Energy and Environment
  • Entitlements and Government Spending
  • Labor Policy
  • Cronyism
  • Religious Liberty
  • Marriage and Family
  • Welfare and Poverty
  • Tax Reform

Foreign Policy

  • Defending the Homeland
  • Confronting 21st Century Threats
  • Understanding U.S.-Asia Relations
  • Statesmanship and Sovereignty

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