Progress on 116th and 117th Congress Recommendations

During its tenure, the Committee has held 37 public hearings, numerous roundtables, and passed 171 recommendations aimed at making the House more efficient and effective for the American people. A total of 119 recommendations have been implemented or have seen meaningful action toward implementation, including 37 of which have been fully, implemented, and 82 that have been partially implemented. The Committee is also slated to vote on additional recommendations before its mandate expires.

This report includes detailed descriptions and the implementation statuses of Modernization Committee recommendations from the 116th and 117th Congress.

The Modernization Committee's Progress on ImprovingStaff Retention, Diversity, and Recruitment

In August 2021, the Chief Administrative Office (CAO) launcheda central House of Representatives Human Resources Hub to provide congressionaloffices with best practices, tips, and templates for hiring, developing,managing, and retaining a diverse and talented workforce. 

This centralization of information aims to increase theability for staff to understand the range of benefits and support available tothem. In addition, the Hub aims to streamline the management and hiring processwithin congressional offices. 

  • Making the Office of Diversity and Inclusion permanent (Rec. #7).

In the 116th Congress, theHouse Office of Diversity & Inclusion (ODI) was established to fosterdiversity among House Offices to better reflect the diversity of the Americanpeople. ODI was later made permanent in the 117th Rules Package. 

Specifically, ODI and CAOconduct the House Compensation and Diversity survey every Congress; ODI directs and guides Houseemploying offices to recruit, hire, train, develop, advance, promote, andretain a diverse workforce.  

  • Regularly surveying staff on improving pay and benefits (Rec. #10).

The CAO now regularlyconducts surveys to capture critical information surrounding staff pay,benefits, and diversity. Better understanding this data allows CAO to gaugeproblems within the institution and track progress. 

The CAO has successfullycarried out these surveys in 2019 and 2021 and has plans to conduct similarsurveys regularly. Information from these surveys will allow the House to makeinformed and more routine benefit adjustments to improve retention on theHill. 

  • Decoupling Staff and Member Pay (Rec. #70).

On August 12, 2021,Speaker Pelosi announced that the House would adopt the Modernization Committee’srecommendation to raise the maximum pay rate for House staff, decoupling itfrom member pay.

The implementedrecommendation will promote the retention and recruitment of a highly talentedand diverse staff, as well as ensuring a competitive pay rate comparable to therest of the federal workforce.

The Modernization Committee's Progress on FosteringCivil, Bipartisan Governance in the House

  • Offering a nonpartisan new member orientation (Rec. #12).

Following therecommendations of the Modernization Committee, members elect and staffparticipated in more than 20 bipartisan New Member Orientation (NMO) briefingsand events ahead of the 117th Congress.

These briefings and eventsaimed to foster collaborative partnerships between new members, rather than reinforcingparty divisions through a partisan NMO. 

  • Promoting civility during New Member Orientation (Rec. #14).

In addition to holdingbipartisan briefings and events, the 117th Congress NMO program included asession on decorum and bipartisanship facilitated by Modernization CommitteeChair Derek Kilmer, former Modernization Committee Vice-Chair Tom Graves, andadditional guest speakers. By emphasizing these norms early on, theModernization Committee is aiming to help change partisan culture in Congress. 

The ModernizationCommittee's Progress on Promoting Transparency, Access to Information, andAccessibility for Disabled Americans

  • Improving access to congressional websites for individuals with disabilities (Rec. #27).

In 2019, the CAO started undergoing efforts to ensure that Housewebsites are fully accessible and compliant with the Web Content AccessibilityGuidelines (WCAG) and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. Complying withthese regulations helps ensure that disabled Americans can access and use Housewebsites without obstacles. 

Prior to the 117th Congress, the CAO developed a new 508 compliantplatform that they utilized for new member sites. They also developed a plan tocontinue monitoring compliant sites and train House staff to ensure newlycompliant sites remain accessible. 

The CAO continues to access existing House websites and take stepsto ensure full Section 508 compliance. Additional information can be found inCAO’s website accessibilityreport. 

  • Consolidate the regulations governing member office communications, including digital communications, into one easy to find place (Rec. #39).

The House CommunicationsStandard Commission (previously referred to as the Franking Commission) is abipartisan commission that works to help offices use official communicationsresources to share important and factual information with constituents. 

Following the ModernizationCommittee’s recommendation, the House Communications Standards Commissionreleased updated standards that took effect on January 7th, 2020 to ensure theinformation regarding official communications was more transparent andaccessible. The new guidelines modernize mass communication by includingdigital communications rules, improving transparency, and allowing offices tointeract with their constituents on a more efficient timeline. 

The updated manual can be found here. 

  • Make permanent the Bulk Data Task Force and rename it the Congressional Data Task Force (Rec. #96).

The Clerk of the House announced that, in response to direction from the Committee on House Administration that the Bulk Data Task Force has been established as the Congressional Data Task Force in light of the expanded scope of the task force's work.

The Modernization Committee's Progress on Budget andAppropriations Reforms

  • 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 I of the Constitution to appropriate federal dollars.

This fully implemented recommendation established a congressionally-directed program thatstrengthens transparency and supports community investments across the UnitedStates. The Community Project Funding program aims to facilitate community and memberinput in the appropriations process, and to help ensure that federal funding isallocated to address the most important community needs.

The Modernization Committee's Progress on Strengthening Congressional Oversight Capacity
  • Optional bipartisan oversight training (Rec. #144)

     The House should offer and support optional programs for members and staff to learn best practices for conducting bipartisan, fact-based oversight.
The Modernization Committee's Progress on Modernizing the Legislative Process
  • Modernize bill referral and tracking (Rec. #168)

     The House should establish a system for bill referral to committees that automates and tracks the bill's progress through the legislative process.
  • Automate the process of obtaining cosponsors (Rec. #170)

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

  • Collaborative legislative drafting (Rec. #171)

    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 House Office of the Legislative Counsel.

The Modernization Committee's Progress on Modernizing District Office Operations
  • District Wi-Fi (Rec. #146)

    The CAO should provide every district officer with access to secure Wi-Fi.
  •  District-focused transition aide (Rec. #148)

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

  • Ready for day one program (Rec. #150)

     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.


See the status of fully implemented and partially implemented recommendations from the 116th and 117th Congress HERE.