2017 British American Parliamentary Group (BAPG) – A Project for the United Kingdom

2017 BAPG MP's taking a group photo with Congressman Robert Aderholt (Republican - Alabama, 4th District) and Congressman Juan Vargas (Democrat - California, 51st)

The 2017 iteration of the British American Parliamentary Group (BAPG) welcomed four Conservative Party Members of Parliament (MP), three Labour Party MP's, and one Scottish National Party MP to the U.S. for an engaging professional exchange program and individual constituency visits with the following Congressional members:

The MP's began their program with a week in Washington during which they learned about the U.S. federalist system of government, discussed issues of mutual interest with representatives from the State Department, and heard former Congressman Cliff Stearns (Republican - Florida, 6th District) speak about his experiences in Congress and his work with APCO Worldwide at a federally sponsored lunch. They finished the same day with a discussion with a staff member from the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

On the following day, the MP's met with the Right Honerable Dr. Liam Fox, current Chargé d’Affaires at the British Embassy, to discuss UK trade relations with the 435 Congressional Districts of the U.S; afterwards, they spoke to Department of Defense officials about issues facing both nations. In the afternoon, representatives from both Uber and Google sponsored a lunch in the MP's honor at Meridian with the additional intent of discussing technology's role in the future of mobility and countering terrorism. A meeting with the Government Accountability Office, and another with the Congressional Budget Office, closed out the day.

MPs at U.S. Capitol (Photo Credit goes to Glenn W. Carey, International Visitor Liaison)

On Wednesday and Thursday, appointments were set for the MP's to meet with and shadow Congressional members. Participating members included Sen. John Boozman (Republican - Arkansas), Rep. Chris Stewart (Republican - Utah, 2nd District), and Rep. Joe Wilson (Republican - South Carolina, 2nd District). With the aid of Sen. Boozman, several MP's were also able to sit in on a session in the Senate, where they witnessed the Senate voting on healthcare. Their evening on Thursday concluded with a special "night tour" of the U.S. Capitol Building with Rep. Juan Vargas (Democrat - California, 51st District).

After a self-guided tour of the White House where they were joined by Rep. Aderholt Friday morning, the MP's departed Washington and traveled to their respective Congressional hosts' districts, which included Albany, New York; St. Petersburg, Florida; Lincoln, Nebraska; Little Rock, Arkansas; Chicago, Illinois; Panorama City, California; Huntsville, Alabama; and Sedona, Arizona. The constituency visits allowed them to gain first-hand knowledge of the diversity of the U.S. and see U.S. politics enacted at the local level. Activities of note included hiking up Pinnacle Mountain in Little Rock, attending a mayoral campaign fundraiser in St. Petersburg, witnessing a Civil Air Patrol graduation ceremony in Albany, and touring the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville.

Following a weekend of activities with their congressional counterparts, the MP's regrouped for their final stop in Boston, MA. Professional appointments were confirmed with Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, staff from the Taubman Center for State and Local Governance, and a representative from Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (Democrat - Massachusetts) office. Their program came to a conclusion shortly after with flights scheduled to depart on Tuesday evening.

Witnessing a District Visit in Action

Over the span of MP Rehman Chishti's visit to Congressman French Hill's District in Arkansas, a Department of State Social Media Manager and a Videographer captured several conversations between the two as they travelled together.

BAPG on the Hill

Sponsors

International Visitor Leadership Program, U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State

Project summary

2017 British American Parliamentary Group (BAPG) – A Project for the United Kingdom
Number of Visitors: 8
Regions: Europe and Eurasia
Countries: United Kingdom
Impact Areas: Governance and Transparency
Program Areas: Exchanges
Partners: NGOs, Private Sector, Public Sector