117th Congress Recommendations

Improve Staff Recruitment, Diversity, Retention, and Compensation and Benefits

98. Personalized Job Training & Management Skills: Supervisors should receive formal management training that includes management skills, cultural competency, and how to support an inclusive work environment.

99. Update and Align Staff Benefits to Increase Retention: The House should establish and maintain a “Task Force on the House Workforce,” led by the Chief Administrative Officer and comprised of other House offices to make ongoing policy recommendations on updating staff benefits.

100. Real Time Payroll Information: The House should create a searchable database of anonymized average staff compensation information, by position, using available information on staff salaries and payroll data.

101. Mentorship Match Program: The House should initiate and facilitate a formal mentorship program for matching more experienced staff with less experienced staff.

102. Professional Certifications: The House should allow Member, committee, and leadership offices to pay for certain professional development opportunities for staff that include a certification.

103. Onboarding Information: The Chief Administrative Officer should provide offices with an expanded standard onboarding packet that includes comprehensive information on available resources and benefits for staff.

104. Assistance for Contract Employees: Where feasible, the House should work with contractors to ensure they provide their Capitol campus employees assistance services comparable to those offered by the House through the Office of Employee Assistance.

105. Supporting the Office of Employee Assistance: The Office of Employee Assistance should seek to retain a diverse workforce, offer access to bilingual services,and retain staff capable of providing various forms of trauma services.

106. Tuition Assistance: The House should expand the Student Loan Repayment Program to include tuition assistance.

107. Talent Acquisition Software: The Chief Administrative Officer should provide access to industry-leading talent acquisition software to assist House offices in managing their recruitment and hiring processes.

108. Collecting Demographic Data: The Chief Administrative Officer should work with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to improve the collection of anonymized demographic data through an optional form provided to staff at onboarding.

Professionalize Internships and Fellowships

109. Assessing Intern Cost of Living: The Chief Administrative Officer should provide information to congressional offices on the cost of living for interns to help inform intern stipend levels.

110. Intern & Fellowship Program Office or Coordinator: The House should establish an Intern and Fellowship Program Office or Coordinator that helps with onboarding, developing educational curriculum, professional development,and training for office coordinators.

111. Fellows & Detailees Use of Equipment: Congress should clarify rules to allow fellows and detailees to receive the same resources as professional staff.

112. Remote Internships: The House should study the feasibility of permanently allowing remote internships.

113. Committee Internship Stipends: Committees should be provided a program allowance,separate from their budget, for compensation of interns.

Improve Accessibility

114. ADA Drop off/Pick up Zone: The House should designate a drop off and pick up zone near an accessible entrance for members of the public with mobility impairments and develop a clear process for accessing the new drop-off point.

115. Security Screening for those with Disabilities: Visitors and staff with disabilities should have access to information on the security screening techniques they will encounter upon entering the Capitol complex.

116. Doorway Accessibility: The House should prioritize the installation of additional automatic doors and replace door hardware that is difficult to grasp with one hand.

117. Accessible Websites: The House should promote awareness of accessibility requirements for Member and committee websites and provide training and tools for staff to help them properly maintain and update those sites.

Encouraging Civility and Bipartisanship in Congress

118. Promoting collaboration and leadership at member orientation: New Member Orientation should strive to promote civility, collaboration, and leadership skills and be held separately from party leadership events.

119. Promoting collaboration and civility through voluntary training opportunities: The proposed Congressional Leadership Academy and Congressional Staff Academy should offer voluntary training to members and staff to promote civility, collaboration and leadership skills.

120. Acknowledging member involvement in legislation: Congress.gov should provide a clearer accounting of member contributions to legislation.

121. Optional committee feedback tool: The House should develop and provide tools for committee leadership to receive member feedback on committee operations.

122. Bipartisan committee events: Committees should have flexibility to host occasional events to foster collaboration and further develop working relationships among committee members.

123. Learning from state best practices: The House should survey and examine best practices from state legislatures.

124. Bipartisan group events: The Library of Congress is encouraged to expand its regular, bipartisan events to include events specifically focused on promoting relationship building and collaboration among members.

125. Ongoing institutional support to facilitate civility and collaboration: An institutional office of the House should provide best practices and facilitate workshops that encourage bipartisan collaboration.

126. Technology tools to enable collaboration: The House should offer technology tools to facilitate member collaboration on legislation and issues of mutual interest.

127. Information on outside organizations and resources: The House should provide information on organizations and resources members can access for services to help manage conflict and foster common ground.

128. Bipartisan committee websites: Committees should have a bipartisan, public-facing website with basic, nonpartisan information about the committee and its operations.

129. Voluntary resources to help committees develop civility norms: The House should provide resources and guidance to committees seeking to create tailored civility norms.

130. Co-working spaces for staff: The House should explore bipartisan co-working spaces for staff.

131. Task force on the legislative process: A bicameral, bipartisan group of members should convene to discuss rules changes to require reciprocated consideration for widely supported, bipartisan legislation.

Support Agency (CRS, CBO, GAO) Recommendations

132. Make available non-partisan summaries: The House should prioritize ensuring that bills to receive a floor vote have nonpartisan summaries available.

133. Bolster legislative support agency access to federal data and experts: Support agencies should report on challenges and potential solutions for accessing federal data.

134. Enhancing the customer experience at CRS:  CRS should ensure that its products and services are designed to adapt and meet the needs of an evolving Congress.

135. Enhancing the customer experience at GAO: GAO should boost initiatives to meet Congress’ information needs and assess member and staff awareness of and satisfaction with its products and services.

136. GAO annual report on unimplemented recommendations: GAO should report annually on the estimated cost savings of its unimplemented recommendations.             

137. GAO report to congressional committees on legislative options:  GAO should annually report to Congress on legislative options to address open priority recommendations.

138. Enhance CBO outreach to Congress: CBO should expand its congressional outreach to provide additional information and assistance to members of Congress and staff.

139. Legislative and support agency staff directory: Congress and congressional support agencies should establish a shared staff directory to enhance the exchange of information and improve collaboration.

140. Modernize the congressional support agencies:  The committees of jurisdiction should examine support agency authorities and determine if they need to be updated.

141. Authorize STAA and make it a permanent part of GAO:  The Science, Technology Assessment, and Analytics program at GAO should be authorized and made permanent by Congress.

Evidence-based Policymaking

142. Congressional Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking: Congress should establish a bipartisan, bicameral Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking to encourage and facilitate better use of data in the legislative process.

Strengthening Congressional Oversight Capacity

143. Optional bipartisan oversight training: The House should offer and support optional programs for members and staff to learn best-practices for conducting bipartisan, fact-based oversight

144. Improved access to document review software: The CAO should assist committees in obtaining and utilizing effective, industry standard “e-discovery” software to improve document review and processing capabilities.

Modernizing District Office Operations

145. District Wi-Fi: The CAO should provide every district office with access to secure Wi-Fi.

146. Single point of contact for district office setup: The CAO should designate a single point of contact for each office to streamline the process for setting up district office operations. 

147. District-focused transition aide: The House should provide members-elect with a second paid transition aide who can focus on setting up district operations.

148. Information sharing between district offices: The CAO should facilitate opportunities for staff that work directly with constituents to connect and share best practices.

149. Ready for day one program: The House, where feasible, should expand existing authorities to expedite the process for members-elect to access district office space and begin office set up.

150. Agency casework contact lists and privacy release form policies from CRS: CRS should provide regularly updated and complete information on local agency casework contacts and agency digital privacy release form policies.

151. Additional staff capacity to support disaster response: The House should provide resources and staffing flexibility to district offices in responding to a federally declared disaster.

152. District staff retention: The House Task Force on the Workforce should examine the benefits, professional development opportunities, and other resources, that will improve district staff retention and recommend updates.

153. Connecting constituents with community organizations and resources: The House should update and provide clear ethics guidelines to allow district offices to direct constituents to appropriate community organizations, resources, and services.

154. Facilitating constituent service events: The House should provide flexibility within House Rule 24 to allow district offices to cosponsor constituent service events with non-governmental organizations to provide information and other resources to constituents. 

155. Constituent control over their data: The House should ensure that constituent data and records related to casework are maintained, transferred, or destroyed according to a constituent’s preferences.

156. Technology solutions to help offices better serve constituents:  The CAO should develop or provide optional in-house technology solutions to district offices to improve casework and other services.

Modernizing House Office Buildings

157. Improve navigating the campus: To improve wayfinding, the House should consult with internal and external experts to assess and implement navigation improvements necessary to make it easier for visitors to find their way through the Capitol campus.

158. Survey house employees: The House should regularly survey House employees to assess plans for telework and use of office space.

159. Digital displays for hearings and events: The House should provide digital signage displaying information about current public hearings and events.

160. Inventory existing space: The House should study the use of its space to understand how it is used, who controls access to various spaces, and how it is managed in the House and the Capitol.

161. Offer expanded options for meeting space: The House should establish and designate shared meeting spaces that will allow for members and staff to use on a drop-in basis and not require reservations

162. Portal for all reservable space: The House should develop an app and expand the current web portal to include all reservable space in the Capitol and House Office Buildings.

163. Establishing procedures for communicating with members and staff prior to new construction: AOC and CHA should jointly establish procedures to ensure new projects are modern, functional, and meet the needs of members and constituents.

164. Establishing procedures for communicating with members and staff during construction: AOC and CHA should jointly establish procedures to ensure new projects are modern, functional, and meet the needs of members and constituents.

165. Flexible and modern member office templates: The CAO should provide a broad menu of furniture options and templates for member office space that considers modern and flexible design and function concepts.

166. Flex hearing space: The House should identify and develop a space that can be used to hold hearings with alternative seating formats such as a roundtable-style.

Modernizing the Legislative Process

167. Modernize bill referral and tracking: The House should establish a system for bill referral to committees that automates and tracks the bill’s progress through the legislative process.

168. Retaining expert staff: The House should exempt student loan repayments from maximum compensation.  

169. Automate the process of obtaining cosponsors: The House should develop a technology solution to allow greater automation of the process for collecting and registering cosponsors

170. Collaborative legislative drafting: The House should leverage existing enterprise-wide applications and develop other tools and solutions to better facilitate legislative drafting between member, committee and leadership offices and the HOLC.

Congressional Continuity

171. Joint Committee on Continuity: Congress should establish a joint committee to review House and Senate rules and other matters assuring continuing representation and congressional operations for the American people.

Improve Constituent Engagement and Constituent Services

172. The House should develop an optional system to allow offices to share anonymized constituent casework data and aggregate that information to identify trends and systemic issues to better serve constituents.

173. The House should provide offices with information related to outside organizations and resources available to assist members and committees that wish to enhance outreach efforts or utilize new tools for constituent communication and engagement.

174. The House should study and present options for developing a public-facing interactive platform for constituents to offer their opinions and feedback on pending legislation.

175. The House Digital Service should evaluate and onboard industry leading correspondence technology tools and platforms to enable offices to improve the quality and substance of constituent correspondence.

176. The House should study and present options for developing a platform for committees that want to solicit public comment and evidence on topics that might be coming before the committee.

177. The House should develop an efficient and secure tool for coordinating constituent tour requests.

178. The House should develop a more efficient process for tracking and managing constituent flag requests.

179. The House should develop and provide offices with optional tools for surveying and tracking their constituent’s ‘customer service’ experience.

180. Future upgrades to the Capitol Visitor Center should allow for a more personalized and interactive tour that allows constituents to better understand who their representatives are and how their opinions are reflected in House votes.

Bolster House Technology

181. Congress should institutionalize and expand technology education and innovation initiatives such as the Congressional Hackathon.

182. The House should develop an onboarding process to institutionalize congressional technology that has reached a mature development stage, is widely used, or is considered mission critical.

183. House-developed digital applications should be made open source by default.

184. The House and Senate should work to align more of their technology standards and processes.

185. House should provide more public information to potential technology vendors and streamline the vendor approval and onboarding process.

186. The CAO should develop an Established Delivery Partners program for digital solution vendors that regularly work with the House.

187. The House should review current policies and, where appropriate, allow opportunities for congressional use of software and its underlying code that is developed by outside civic technology organizations.

188. The House should establish a high- level working group to prioritize and coordinate the maintenance and development of House digital infrastructure.

189. The House should create a Digital Service Advisory Board to help plan and prioritize the work of the House Digital Service.

190. The Capitol switchboard should be updated to allow call information to be passed through to House offices.

191. GPO should create and offer a standard process for automating committee hearing records.

192. The House should work with committees to develop optional tools that allow them to continue to migrate away from the use of paper documents during committee meetings.

Support Congressional Operations

193. The House should provide resources to support HOLC’s continuing efforts to expand education and proactive outreach to members and staff.

194. At the beginning of a new Congress, House business support offices and agencies should hold an “Open-House” to provide members and staff the opportunity to personally meet with institutional offices and staff and learn about the services they offer.

195. The House should permit legislation to have two members of Congress serve as first sponsors, provided that Members are affiliated with different political parties.