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 and headed by Chairman Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.) and Vice Chair Tom Graves (R-Ga.).

“We’re actually going to see some forward motion on some of these issues that we identified, trying to make this place more transparent, trying to make Congress more accessible to people,” Kilmer said.

Major provisions include setting up a centralized human resources program for House staffers and requiring an outside study on raising the cap on how many permanent staffers lawmakers can hire. The committee proposed increasing the limit to 22 from 18.

The resolution is based on the first two sets of recommendations from the committee, although there are some differences. For example, the panel’s call to reinstate the Office of Technology Assessment wasn’t addressed in the resolution as legislation would be needed to re-establish it.

The committee approve a third batch of recommendations dealing with member communications in December and is in the process of turning them into legislation, according to a committee spokeswoman. Kilmer said the committee also is working on proposals in additional areas, such as the House’s schedule, rules and procedures.

Source: By: Emily Wilkins