Washington, DC—The Select House Committee for the Modernization of Congress—a bipartisan body established to explore ways to make the legislative process more efficient—released its final set of recommendations today designed to strengthen the way Congress does the peoples’ business.
BPC President Jason Grumet says:
“Our democracy is under incredible strain. It is encouraging to see leaders from both parties working together and offering real ideas to strengthen Congress.
“The Modernization Committee’s leaders—Reps. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Tom Graves (R-GA)—have proven that Democrats and Republicans can work together to develop big solutions to major problems under trying circumstances. The committee was efficient, collaborative, and focused despite a much-delayed start, the impeachment of the president, and the ongoing public health and economic crises. The committee’s own resilience sets an example for the rest of Congress.
“If enacted, the bold proposals released today will create incentives for lawmakers to collaborate more effectively and unburden Congress from a series of well-intentioned rules that have weakened its deliberative capacity.”
Among the committee’s recommendations are six key measures that BPC has championed. They include:
- Relationship building: Creating new opportunities for cross-partisan relationships through bipartisan member retreats and district exchange programs, which BPC pioneered with the American Congressional Exchange.
- Collaboration in committees: Hiring of bipartisan joint staff, committee retreats to agree on bipartisan agendas, and alternative committee hearing and questioning formats to allow members to more fully participate.
- Schedule and calendar: Reforming the congressional calendar to allow for more collaboration through adoption of a block schedule and dedicated committee and floor times so that members can better focus on their duties.
- Congressional spending power: Creating a new and fully transparent system for lawmakers to weigh in on how funds are spent in the communities they represent rather than delegate that authority to unelected decisionmakers in the executive branch.
- Budget: Requiring a biennial budget to combat the dysfunction in the current budget and appropriations process.
- Staff capacity and expertise: Urging innovative solutions to make it easier for members to recruit, train, and retain expert staff to help them serve their constituents.
Read testimony to the Select Committee for the Modernization of Congress from: