Today, the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress unanimously voted out of committee its second series of reforms. Issue One Executive Director Meredith McGehee issued the following statement:
“This is an important day for the Select Committee that is dedicated to fixing Congress and making it a more effective body. It’s a strong package of recommendations that would have a significant impact on how members of Congress can better serve their constituents.
These latest proposals show how critical the committee’s bipartisan work is to making the legislative branch more efficient. From establishing a dedicated technology fund to better equip congressional offices, to retaining staff, to creating HR best practices, this committee continues to build momentum. Issue One, with the input of our ReFormers Caucus, looks forward to the Select Committee’s continued efforts in the fall when Congress is back from August recess.”
The package of reforms the Select Committee supported includes:
Streamline and Reorganize House Human Resources
- Creating a one-stop shop Human Resources HUB for Member, committee, and leadership staff.
- Making permanent the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
- Examining and updating the staff payroll system from monthly to semimonthly.
- Raising the cap on the number of staff in Member offices.
- Regularly surveying staff on improving pay and benefits.
Overhaul the Onboarding Process and Provide Continuing Education for Members
- Allowing newly-elected Members to hire and pay one transition staff member.
- Offering new-Member orientation in a nonpartisan way.
- Making new-Member orientation more comprehensive.
- Promoting civility during new-Member orientation.
- Creating a Congressional Leadership Academy to offer training for Members.
- Making cybersecurity training mandatory for Members.
Modernize and Revitalize House Technology
- Reestablishing and restructuring an improved Office of Technology Assessment.
- Improving IT services in the House by reforming House Information Resources (HIR).
- Requiring House Information Resources (HIR) to prioritize certain technological improvements.
- Requiring House Information Resources (HIR) to reform the approval process for outside technology vendors.
- Requiring House Information Resources (HIR) to allow Member offices to test new technologies.
- Creating one point of contact for technology services for each Member office.
- Creating a customer service portal to improve technology services in the House.
- Leveraging bulk purchasing of the House by removing technology costs out of Member offices’ budgets and moving into a centralized account.
- Prioritizing a “rapid response” program at the Congressional Research Service for nonpartisan fact sheets on key issues.
- Developing a constituent engagement and services best practices HUB for Members.
Make the House Accessible to all Americans
- Improving access to congressional websites for individuals with disabilities.
- Requiring all broadcasts of House proceedings provide closed caption service.
- Requiring a review of the Capitol complex to determine accessibility challenges for individuals with disabilities.
Issue: Congressional Modernization