Washington, D.C. – John Fortier, director of the Democracy Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center, released the following statement on new legislation that would establish a Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress:
“Reps. Darin LaHood (R-IL) and Daniel Lipinski (D-IL) today introduced legislation that would, for the first time in over 25 years, create a mechanism to obligate Congress to evaluate and improve its procedures and processes. Our society, communications systems, and national imperatives have changed dramatically since that last self-examination in the early 1990s. While Congress has worked to accommodate these new realities, much will be gained from a broad and deliberate assessment of institutional strengths and needs.
“The current polarization and breakdown in long-respected norms and tradition have significantly affected the ability of Congress to conduct the people’s business. While some are nostalgic with rosy memories of gentler times, the Bipartisan Policy Center believes that the Congress and other critical institutions must strengthen their capacity to govern a divided nation. This challenge is the focus of the BPC’s Commission on Political Reform, which proposed a comprehensive package of congressional reforms designed to strengthen the congressional workforce and increase the capacity to reconcile competing interests. BPC recommendations include the introduction of bipartisan caucus meetings, a more vigorous committee process, the consideration of more amendments in both chambers, and an increase in the number of days Congress works in Washington.
“The joint committee will provide a forum for consideration of a broad range of ideas to confront gridlock and restore the public’s faith in the world’s greatest democratic institution.”