Update committee policies to increase bipartisan learning opportunities for staff.
Personal, bipartisan relationships are also essential at a staff level. Staff work together on legislation, schedules and committee hearings, and represent their Members in events and meetings. However, like their Members, staff have increasingly limited opportunity to build bipartisan relationships. As BPC’s Grumet testified:
“Being a congressional staff person used to be a pretty social job; it is not anymore. And we have found that you actually really have to curate opportunities for staff to get together… it is not just that they are able to work on behalf of each of you, but their ability to work on behalf of the whole body I think is really enhanced when they know each other.”
Jason Grumet, September 26, 2019
Personal office staff are denied one of the most effective opportunities for bipartisan relationship development: participating in committee organized congressional delegation (CODEL) travel. This prevents personal staff from having sustained opportunities to interact with their colleagues across the aisle, away from Washington, D.C., and denies them the opportunity to form meaningful, bipartisan relationships while working on the issues for which they’re responsible.
The Committee recommends allowing personal office staff to participate in CODELs. This policy change would encourage bipartisan connections and collaboration at the staff level and grant them access to important policy discussions necessary to best serve their Members and constituents.