September 26, 2019

Select Committee Examines Opportunities for Increased Civility and Collaboration in Congress

Washington, D.C. – Today the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress (“Select Committee”) held a hearing to explore recommendations for promoting civility and encouraging more collaboration in Congress. The Select Committee and witnesses examined what steps Congress can take to address opportunities for reform and to promote bipartisanship in the legislative branch.

Former United States Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Executive Director of the National Institute for Civil Discourse Keith Allred, Associate Professor of Political Science at Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University Jennifer N. Victor, and Founder and President of Bipartisan Policy Center Jason Grumet testified to highlight their experiences studying polarization, bipartisanship and promoting civility throughout Congress.

Many thoughtful recommendations were made to the Select Committee, a few of which are highlighted below:

  • Establish an annual bipartisan retreat
  • Consider bipartisan seating on the House floor and in committee hearings
    • The Select Committee has adopted this practice during hearings
  • Enhance new-Member orientation
    • The Select Committee made a recommendation to reform the current orientation process in the last round of recommendations made in July, seen here
  • Adjust the congressional schedule so that Members have more time to spend engaging in policy deliberations and building bipartisan relationships

“The witnesses today presented interesting ideas and practical advice as we look to create more opportunities for relationship building and collaboration across party lines. Civility has emerged as one of the most discussed topics in this committee, and together we are zeroing in on solutions that will make Congress work better for the American people,” said Chair Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Vice Chair Tom Graves (R-GA).

You can learn more about the Select Committee’s work here.

You can view today’s livestream here.