October 01, 2020

Chair Kilmer Urges House to Adopt Committee Recommendations for 117th Congress

Testified During House Rules Committee’s Member Day

Washington, D.C. – Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress (“Select Committee”) Chair Derek Kilmer (D-WA) testified today before the U.S. House Committee on Rules about the recommendations the Select Committee has made to improve House operations. The Rules Committee hosted a Member Day Hearing on Proposed Rules Changes for the 117th Congress. Chair Kilmer shared a number of the recommendations passed by the Select Committee and how these bipartisan ideas to improve the House rules would help build capacity and ultimately strengthen Congress. Last week, the Select Committee passed its final round of recommendations, bringing the total passed during the 116th Congress to 97.

Excerpts of Chair Kilmer’s remarks as prepared can be seen below:

“Two years ago, in testimony before this committee, I proposed as part of the House rules for the 116th Congress a “Joint Committee with the Senate to consider any and all measures to improve the operation of Congress as an independent and coequal branch of government.” Under your leadership, the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress was created as part of the rules package for the 116th Congress. 

“As Chair of the Select Committee, I am here to thank you for your guidance and support over the past two years. The Select Committee has unanimously passed 97 bipartisan recommendations to make Congress work better for the American people. I am proud of what we’ve achieved and am grateful for the opportunity to lead this effort, along with Vice Chair Tom Graves.”

“The first – and arguably most important – proposal I’d like to highlight will help restore Congress’s Article One “power of the purse.” We recommended a Community-Focused Grant Program to reduce dysfunction in the annual budgeting process and restore Congress’s unique constitutional authority to appropriate federal dollars to support projects that have the broad support of local communities across the United States.

“This competitive grant program calls for transparency and accountability, and supports meaningful and transformative investments in the communities we represent. Taxpayer dollars will be spent more efficiently and transparently on local projects with guardrails against abuse. The Select Committee believes this program could help end the era of government shutdowns and I urge the committee to include it as part of the 117th rules package.”

A clip of Chair Kilmer speaking at today’s hearing can be seen here.

About the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress

Created by an overwhelming bipartisan vote at the beginning of the 116th Congress, the Select Committee was tasked to produce recommendations on rules to promote a more modern and efficient Congress; procedures, including the schedule and calendar; policies to develop the next generation of leaders; staff recruitment, diversity, retention, and compensation and benefits; administrative efficiencies, including purchasing, travel, outside services, and shared administrative staff; technology and innovation; and the work of the House Commission on Congressional Mailing Standards.

Since March 2019 the Select Committee has held 16 hearings, six virtual discussions, and numerous Member and staff-level briefings and listening sessions to solicit ideas and recommendations for reforming the legislative branch. On a rolling basis throughout the year, the Select Committee issued recommendations and shared ideas for reform on a bipartisan basis. Last fall, after widespread bipartisan support throughout Capitol Hill, the Select Committee and its work was extended through the end of the 116th Congress. The rule that created the Select Committee originally had it set to expire on February 1, 2020. The extension allowed the Select Committee to continue its work proposing bipartisan reforms to make Congress work better for the American people. The Select Committee passed 97 recommendations during the 116th Congress.