March 12, 2019

Kilmer & Graves: Common Ground Exists to Modernize Congress

Washington, D.C. – The Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress (“Select Committee”) kicked off its first hearing of the 116th Congress today with a Member Day. Thirty-one current Members of Congress, both Democrat and Republican, testified in front of the full committee and highlighted key opportunities for modernization across the legislative branch.

Members participating in the hearing shared a wide range of ideas to improve and modernize the legislative branch and help Congress fulfill its Constitutional role as a co-equal branch of government. This included a wide array of topics which would help Members of Congress better serve their constituents and help constituents better understand the operations of Congress, including:

  • rules to promote a more modern and efficient legislative body;
  • procedures, including adjusting the schedule and calendar to ensure that Members have more time to hear from constituents and to help deliver solutions;
  • policies to develop the next generation of leaders;
  • staff recruitment, diversity, retention, compensation and benefits to find out how best to make the body more representative of the country as a whole, and to ensure it has the capacity to meet the needs of the American people;
  • administrative efficiencies, including procurement and;
  • innovation and updated cybersecurity to examine whether offices and staff are using the best, most modern, and most secure technologies.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy also attended the Member Day hearing to share their ideas for how to better serve the American people.

“We’re grateful to the dozens of Members who testified today and offered their ideas on modernizing Congress. It’s clear that the Select Committee has a very unique opportunity to improve The People’s House and make it more responsive to, and representative of, the American people. Today showed that there is more common ground on a lot of these issues than most people realize, and we look forward in the coming days and weeks to finding how we can move forward together to improve the institution for the betterment of the constituents we represent,” said Chairman Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Vice Chairman Tom Graves (R-GA).

In the coming weeks, the Select Committee will host hearings and conversations with former Members of Congress, congressional staff, academics, and other stakeholders, to make Congress work better for the American people.

You can read more about the Select Committee here.

You can view today’s live stream here.