Increase capacity for policy staff, especially for Committees, policy support organizations (GAO, CBO, CRS) and a restored OTA, and perhaps restored capacity to member-supporting legislative service organizations, and updated technology resources. Additionally, House support organizations (GAO, CBO, CRS) should evaluate their mission, how they have evolved over time, and if there is a further need to modernize, and incorporate the results of this review in their budget justifications to the Legislative Branch Subcommittee on Appropriations and other relevant committees.
As noted earlier in this chapter, Congress has seen a major reduction in committee staffing levels over the past several decades. Committee staff tend to have more experience and more policy and institutional expertise than personal office staff. The number of policy experts who work at legislative support agencies have also been cut dramatically. The departure of these specialists and the resultant “brain drain” from the Hill leaves Members more dependent on outside experts like lobbyists. Because reduced committee capacity, combined with the expansion of lobbying, has sorely diminished Congress’ ability to carry out its Article One obligations, Committee Members agreed that increasing policy staff capacity is essential.