Of the hand full of key staff people in Congressional office, the one with perhaps the toughest balancing act is the Scheduler. Scheduler is a Capitol Hill term for the staff person who is the coordinator for the member’s schedule, but also works as the main personal aide to the Rep or Sen. This is the gatekeeper — and is a key staff person because they perform the delicate balancing act of protecting the Rep or Sen from being over scheduled (something that is very possible since pretty much everyone wants a slot on the the member’s schedule) and yet make sure the Member is available. Not an easy job. This person must be personable, organized, a good communicator, detail oriented and be able to stand the heat — because it is the hot seat.
The scheduler must know what is on the official calendar (by this I mean the House or Senate master calendar), what legislation is scheduled to be debated and when votes are scheduled to occur. What is scheduled on the Member’s committees and subcommittees. The scheduler will likely be handling all of the Member’s personal correspondence (this is different than constituent mail — which is a whole other ball game)
A pitfall that schedulers can fall into is treating the member as if they were royalty. Having worked with schedulers with this attitude, I can tell you they do the member no favors, it may be nice to be handled with kid gloves — but in the long run it will alienate everyone else and ultimately reflect poorly on the member.
Again — this is a staffer that is critical because the performance of the scheduler can directly impact whether a member is effective or not.