Today, Speaker Pelosi announced that the House will renew the bipartisan Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress for the 117th session. In response, Issue One Executive Director Meredith McGehee released the following statement:
“Issue One applauds Speaker Pelosi’s decision to renew the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. In these highly divisive times, the American people desperately need a Congress that is more transparent and responsive to their needs. We also applaud committee chair Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) for the skillful way he has guided the select committee in a time of hyperpartisanship. Under the guidance of Rep. Kilmer and now former Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA), the committee achieved a notable record of accomplishment that modeled an alternative way to create bipartisan working relationships.
The select committee has done important work in the 116th Congress, but its job is far from complete. Enacting the almost 100 unanimous bipartisan recommendations it issued this past fall will be a heavy lift. Moreover, there are many critical issues the committee did not address that it must deal with in order for the institution to fulfill its Article One responsibilities. Improving staff retention, addressing serious quality of life issues for members, and re-empowering rank-and-file members are among the biggest challenges that must be addressed going forward.
While we still don’t know who will be the vice chair or who will replace departing members, we are hopeful the new members will demonstrate the same commitment to an innovative problem-solving process in Congress.
In addition, many of the issues inhibiting Congress’ ability to function involve the Senate. Senate leaders Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) should create a similar committee, regardless of which party controls that body.”