June 18, 2020

Federal News Network: Will the coronavirus be the push Congress needs to modernize long-standing inefficiencies?

It's doubtful that finding ways to conduct business during a global pandemic was high on the list of reasons for forming the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress in 2019. But now, the timing could scarcely be more appropriate. Proxy voting with or without quorum, video hearings, limiting member travel and maintaining social distancing at the Capitol have required lawmakers to reconsider the long-term viability of some well-established practices. For committee Chairman Rep. Derek … Continue Reading

June 11, 2020

Federal News Network: Federal Drive: Modernization committee leaders weigh in on continuity of operations, reopening

Congress has been no less challenged by the pandemic than federal agencies. Proxy voting, online hearings, difficulties in dealing with constituents. The chair and vice chair of the select committee on the modernization of Congress have been on the case, exploring best practices. Washington Democrat Derek Kilmer and Georgia Republican Tom Graves joined Federal Drive with Tom Temin to discuss. Interview transcript: Tom Temin: Joining me now, Washington Democrat Derek Kilmer. Mr. Kilmer Good … Continue Reading

March 11, 2020

The Fulcrum: Rare Bipartisan Vote For Steps To Strengthen And Modernize Congress

Nine out of 10 House members don't agree on much, but they do agree it's past time to make an array of modernizing changes to the place they work. So the vote was 395-13 on Tuesday to implement 29 unanimous recommendations from a special bipartisan committee, with six members from each party, who worked on the package for almost a year. Their work is designed to bring the technology, purchasing, travel, and human resources practices into the 21st century, at least on half of Capitol Hill. … Continue Reading

March 10, 2020

Roll Call: House votes to modernize itself adopts 29 bipartisan recommendations

The House is ready to make long overdue, behind-the-scenes changes, and it set those in motion by adopting a resolution on implementing 29 recommendations of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. The House voted 395-13 on Tuesday to approve the recommendations, which were put together by the 12-member committee equally divided between Republicans and Democrats. The panel was established in 2019 to promote a more modern and efficient Congress, and its recommendations are aimed … Continue Reading

March 10, 2020

Bloomberg: Modernization Measures on Hiring, Technology Embraced By House

The House approved proposals intended to improve its ability to operate in a more bipartisan and efficient fashion including measures addressing staff hiring and technology upgrades. The chamber adopted the resolution (H. Res. 756) by a vote of 395-13. The measure, which applies only to House operations, doesn't need to be considered by the Senate. The changes are based on recommendations from the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, made up of six Democrats and six Republicans … Continue Reading

January 02, 2020

The Christian Science Monitor: Where Republicans and Democrats work together to ‘fix Congress’

A bit of the spirit of Dolley Madison may be quietly at work within the U.S. Congress. The wife of James Madison, a Founding Father and later the fourth president of the United States, she is often remembered as a gracious hostess. But the "presidentress," as she was known, accomplished much more. Her popular social gatherings, called "squeezes" (for the crowds they drew), brought together the members of Congress in the early 19th century from both sides of the aisle. The deeper purpose: … Continue Reading

December 28, 2019

Washington Post: A bipartisan committee has ideas to make Congress more bipartisan — and lawmakers are listening

On Sept. 26, the House Intelligence Committee opened its first public hearing in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. That same day, a dozen lawmakers gaveled in a hearing on a much quainter topic: Promoting a more civil and collaborative Congress. “As you can imagine, it was viral,” Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.) said, a deadpan that prompted his Republican wingman Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.) to let out a laugh. For the past year, the pair … Continue Reading

December 25, 2019

Task force hammers out plans to make Congress more efficient

While bitter partisan clashes over impeachment were consuming Capitol Hill, a small congressional task force quietly hammered out bipartisan plans to make the institution more efficient throughout the past year. That work continued the day after the House impeached President Trump on a historically partisan vote, as the committee unanimously passed 16 recommendations, several of which focus on improving bipartisanship. One of those civility-minded suggestions is to start having … Continue Reading

December 19, 2019

Roll Call: The fix-up-Congress committee takes on a fresh agenda for 2020

With impeachment done, modernization panel looks at more civility and new technology It’s almost like an alternate universe. Fresh off the bitterly partisan and acrimonious House impeachment vote, the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress approved a slate of recommendations Thursday including some aimed at boosting civility and bipartisanship in the legislative branch. “It’s a bright spot right now,” said the panel’s top Republican, Tom Graves of Georgia, during an … Continue Reading

December 19, 2019

Bloomberg: Panel Embraces Policies on Bipartisanship Day After Impeachment

A day after divisive impeachment votes, a House panel approved measures intended to foster bipartisanship in the chamber, including retreats for members and families and designating Capitol spaces where lawmakers can collaborate privately across party lines. “It might feel like we’re going a little bit against the grain this week in issuing recommendations on civility and bipartisanship,” said Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.), the vice chair of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. … Continue Reading

December 18, 2019

National Journal: Quick Takes on the News: More Money for Members-Elect?

Modernization committee looks to improve member-elect experience The Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress has spent the year canvassing state governments, academics, and members themselves for ideas on how to improve the way the House, Senate, and nonpartisan offices function. As the year draws to a close, it’s unveiled a second set of recommendations. Cosponsored by the entire bipartisan committee and introduced by Chairman Derek Kilmer, the Moving Our Democracy and … Continue Reading

December 10, 2019

Bloomberg Government: Modernization Panel Unveils New Recommendations to Update House

Proposals to create a human resources department for members and staffers and to make websites more accessible are among the nearly 30 recommendations a House panel introduced to help bring the chamber into the modern era. The Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, a bipartisan group of lawmakers assigned to update various aspects of the chamber, released legislation on Tuesday. During the past year, the committee has approved all the recommendations included in the … Continue Reading

December 10, 2019

FedScoop: Committee on modernizing Congress knows what it wants from the House

The Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress is ready to put most of its recommendations up for a vote in the House. The members of the bipartisan group announced on Tuesday that they will introduce legislation to codify the close to 30 official recommendations members have made to date. The “Moving Our Democracy and Congressional Operations Towards Modernization (ModCom)” resolution ultimately aims to “make Congress work better for the American people.” In a statement, Chairman … Continue Reading

November 26, 2019

TIME: How to Make Congress Work Better for the American People

Every few decades, Congress comes to the realization that it needs to fix itself. For the last 50 years, whether due to an imminent crisis or a slow deterioration, special reform committees have been established to deliver reforms on everything from committee operations to congressional ethics. These committees were tasked to diagnose the problems facing the legislative branch and prescribe solutions to make congress more effective. Some ideas worked, some didn’t, and others were put on the … Continue Reading

November 19, 2019

The Fulcrum: Now that the House’s modernization panel is extended, it has a lot more work to do

As the House of Representatives marches toward a partisan impeachment, the American public can be forgiven for missing a bright spot of productive bipartisanship: the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. After an encouraging year of bipartisan committee work, the House voted last week to extend the panel for a year. This committee has made 29 unanimous recommendations to improve technology, transparency, accessibility and constituent engagement as well as provide better … Continue Reading

November 14, 2019

The Hill: House extends Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress for another year

The House voted to reauthorize the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress for another year on Thursday. The panel — which was established at the start of the year to investigate, hold hearings and make recommendations on rules to modernize the legislative branch in areas including diversity, staff recruitment, procedures and technology — has received broad bipartisan support including from members of the Republican Study Committee and the New Democrat Coalition. Lawmakers of … Continue Reading

November 14, 2019

Roll Call: House leaders give modernization panel more time

Like most any fixer-upper endeavor, renovating Congress for the modern era will take at least a year longer than originally planned. The House’s temporary Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress is on track to get more time to finish its effort to update the legislative branch amid the increasing political polarization of the 2020 elections. The House Rules Committee approved a rule Wednesday extending the modernization panel through next year. The full chamber voted Thursday, … Continue Reading

November 14, 2019

Fed Scoop: The Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress gets another year

The House of Representatives voted on Thursday to extend the charter of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress to the end of the 116th Congress — almost another full year. The committee was originally set to expire on Feb. 1, 2020. Now it will be able to continue its work until Jan. 3, 2021. “It’s important to get Congress working better on behalf of the American people,” Chairman Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., and Vice Chairman Tom Graves, R-Ga., said in a statement. “We are … Continue Reading

October 16, 2019

Roll Call: Some lawmakers question amount of time spent in committees

The House parliamentarian brought the hammer down on the Education and Labor Committee in April, ending a long-standing practice that allowed panel members from both parties to vote on bills in committee on a flexible schedule — a violation of the House ban on proxy voting. Members say their schedules have become so hectic and compressed that the courtesy, which the committee has extended for years, is needed. But the practice raises a bigger question: How sustainable are members’ often … Continue Reading

October 16, 2019

Roll Call: Modernization panel mulls overhaul of congressional calendar

Members of a panel to modernize Congress are floating proposals to overhaul the legislative calendar, including an option of being in session for two full work weeks and then recessing for a fortnight of district work time. Reps. William R. Timmons IV, a South Carolina Republican, and Mark Pocan, a Wisconsin Democrat, both suggested such an option Wednesday during a hearing of the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, a temporary panel tasked with offering recommendations … Continue Reading

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