Today 75 members of Issue One’s ReFormers Caucus, a bipartisan group of nearly 200 former members of Congress, governors, and Cabinet officials, sent a letter to the leadership of the Subcommittee on Modernization, strongly urging them to implement recommendations that promote collaboration and civility within the two chambers.
“Throughout the 118th Congress, we have witnessed two near-fistfights, 19 votes for the speakership, and, up until now, 39 retirement announcements,” write the ReFormers. “The challenges we face as a nation require a united and cooperative effort from our elected representatives, and it is essential that Congress take proactive steps to rebuild public faith in our democratic processes and ensure that the legislative branch remains an efficient and responsive institution.”
“The evident lack of bipartisan collaboration erodes confidence in Congress, which the institution can ill-afford,” the ReFormers go on to state. The letter urges members to adopt a number of recommendations previously issued by the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, which was first established in the 116th Congress before the new and permanent subcommittee was formalized last year.
“The Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress made significant strides in identifying key challenges and proposing thoughtful solutions to improve the functionality of the legislative branch. The select committee’s recommendations, focused on enhancing transparency, accountability, and efficiency, are crucial for the effective functioning of our democracy,” said the ReFormers.
During its run, the select committee advanced a total of 202 bipartisan recommendations — of which 130 have been fully or partially implemented to make the House a more functional, accessible, transparent, representative, and technologically adept institution. But that’s not enough, members of the ReFormers Caucus say, citing unfavorable opinions of Congress held by the general public.
Today’s letter calls on the subcommittee to act by continuing the implementation of recommendations that promote collaboration and civility in Congress, including:
- Convening a bicameral, bipartisan group of members to discuss rules changes to require reciprocated consideration for widely supported, bipartisan legislation.
- Providing committees with flexibility to host periodic events to foster collaboration and further develop working relationships among committee members.
- Examining best practices from state legislatures to sustain relatively functional cultures of bipartisan work despite deep divisions.