Today, the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress passed 25 new recommendations aimed at boosting civility and crosspartisan collaboration between members, strengthening legislative support agencies, and advancing evidence-based policymaking.
The measures emerged out of a series of hearings and meetings held by the Modernization Committee with expert witnesses and engaged organizations, including Issue One. In September, Issue One Legislative Affairs Associate Jamie Neikrie presented recommendations to the select committee on how the House can remove barriers to bipartisan congressional committee-level activities and incentivize members to craft viable, bipartisan legislation. Among today’s recommendations, the select committee called for the creation of a task force to examine rules changes that would allow widely supported, bipartisan legislation to receive expedited consideration, a measure that builds directly off of Issue One’s testimony.
Of the 25 recommendations passed by the Modernization Committee, 22 were passed by voice vote, while the remaining three passed by at least a two-thirds margin.
While members of Congress often disagree on the policy that is best for Americans, it is important that these members approach policy debates with a shared set of facts. That is why Issue One is particularly supportive of a recommendation calling for the Library of Congress to ensure that all bills receiving a vote on the House floor have nonpartisan summaries available to members beforehand. The Modernization Committee also recognized the importance of communicating this shared set of facts back to constituents, which is why it recommended that each congressional committee operate a single bipartisan website, rather than having a committee website for each party.
In addition to fostering crosspartisan collaboration, Issue One is also committed to building a Congress that is efficient and effective. That is why we commend the select committee for two recommendations aimed at promoting the work of the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Congress’ internal watchdog. The select committee called for GAO to provide two annual reports to Congress on 1) unimplemented GAO recommendations and the estimated cost savings by agency and 2) legislative options for Congress to address open priority recommendations. The GAO yields $114 for every dollar invested, and these recommendations would help ensure that the agency’s work is readily made available to members of Congress.
If enacted, today’s recommendations from the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress would represent a meaningful step forward in Congress’ ability to reach consensus and act on issues important to the American people. Issue One applauds the members and staff of the Modernization Committee for their work, and looks forward to helping make these recommendations a reality.