Business Meeting Notice
The Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress will hold a Business Meeting to consider recommendations and the committee's final report.
Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. in 210 Cannon House Office Building.
I. Consideration of the following recommendations:
Improve the congressional schedule and calendar
- Establish specific committee-only meeting times when Congress is in session.
- Create a common committee calendar portal to help with scheduling and reduce conflicts.
- Establish specific days – or weeks – where committee work takes priority.
- Ensure there are more days spent working than traveling.
- The congressional calendar should accommodate a bipartisan member retreat.
Boost congressional capacity
- Offer staff certifications, in additions to trainings, through the nonpartisan Congressional Staff Academy.
- Provide institution-wide, standard onboarding training for new employees, including required training.
- Remove constituent communications costs from Member office budgets and create a shared account for communications.
- Reevaluate the funding formula and increase the funds allocated to each Member office.
- Establish a nonbinding, voluntary pay band system for House staff that includes a salary floor and average salary for each position in Member offices. Regular surveys should be done to ensure the most up-to-date salary information.
- Expand access to health insurance for congressional staff.
- Provide more financial stability for congressional staff enrolled in the federal student loan program.
- Staff pay should be delinked from Member pay and a new cap specific to staff should be established.
- Allow Congressional Member Organizations to access benefits, and hire one intern to help support their work.
- Publish a list of active Congressional Member Organizations annually to ensure transparency in the policy making and caucus creation process.
Reclaim Article One responsibilities
- Incentivize committees to experiment with alternative hearing formats to encourage more bipartisan participation.
- Committees should hire bipartisan staff approved by both the Chair and Ranking Member to promote strong institutional knowledge, evidence-based policy making, and a less partisan oversight agenda.
- Committees should hold bipartisan pre-hearing committee meetings.
- Encourage subcommittees to pilot rules changes that could have a positive effect committee-wide.
- Bipartisan Member retreats should encourage committee agenda-setting and civil decorum.
- Establish committee-based domestic policy CODELs.
- To encourage thoughtful debate and deliberation, establish a pilot for weekly Oxford-style debates on the House floor.
- Provide Members and staff with training for debate and deliberation skills.
- Identify how increased regulatory and legal resources could help strengthen the role of the legislative branch.
- Facilitate a true system of checks and balances by ensuring the legislative branch is sufficiently represented in the courts.
- Establish a district exchange program to allow Members to use the Members' Representational Allowance for traveling to other Members’ districts.
- Increase capacity for policy staff, especially for Committees, policy support organizations and a restored Office of Technology Assessment.
- Reduce dysfunction in the annual budgeting process through the establishment of a congressionally-directed program that calls for transparency and accountability, and that supports meaningful and transformative investments in local communities across the United States. The program will harness the authority of Congress under Article One of the Constitution to appropriate federal dollars.
Reform the budget and appropriations process
- Require an annual Fiscal State of the Nation.
- Require a biennial budget resolution.
- Implement a deadline for Congress to complete action on a biennial budget.
- Enhance the budget submission process from the executive branch.
- Evaluate the effects of the biennial budget process to expediting congressional work.
- Strengthen budget enforcement through the reconciliation process.
- Allow more information to be included in the budget resolution.
Identify administrative inefficiencies
- Identify areas in the U.S. Capitol Complex that could benefit from architectural modernization.
- Develop a practice of negotiating House district office leases to lower costs, improve consistency of rental rates and save taxpayer dollars.
Improve technology and continuity in Congress
- Establish a Congressional Digital Services Task Force to examine the need for and role of a specialized group of technologists, designers, and others to support the House’s internal and public facing operations.
- Make permanent the Bulk Data Task Force and rename it the Congressional Data Task Force.
- Identify changes made to House operations due to the COVID 19 pandemic and determine what – if any – additional changes should be made.
II. Consideration of the Committee’s Final Report
In compliance with the Office of the Attending Physician’s guidelines, all attendees will be required to wear masks to protect their colleagues.
If a Member arrives without a mask, masks will be made available at the entrance to the Business Meeting.
Members and staff are encouraged to self-monitor for potential symptoms of COVID-19 using the “Health Screening Inventory” at the end of the attached guidelines.
If you have any questions concerning this Business Meeting, please contact Mariah Harding at firstname.lastname@example.org.