October 17, 2019

Select Committee Holds Hearing to Examine House Calendar and Schedule Reform

Washington, D.C. - The Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress (“Select Committee”) held a hearing yesterday to examine opportunities to allow for more effective and efficient days at work on behalf of the American people. “The House Calendar and Schedule: Evaluating Practices and Challenges” examined opportunities to reform the current congressional schedule and calendar, a topic of discussion that has been top of mind in Congress for decades.

Ida Brudnick, Specialist on Congress and Judiciary Section, Congressional Research Service; Susan Clarke Schaar, Clerk of the Senate, Virginia General Assembly; Charles W. Johnson, Former Parliamentarian (1993-2005), U.S. House of Representatives, Co-Author of Parliament and Congress: Representation and Scrutiny in the Twenty-First Century; and Kyle Nevins Former Deputy Chief of Staff, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (VA-07), Founding Partner, Harbinger Strategies testified about past reform efforts and different ideas on what the calendar should look like.

Ida Brudnick shared past efforts in Congress to reform the schedule and calendar, dating back to the 1970s. Susan Clarke Schaar shared common practices in the Virginia State Senate, where the members meet for 60 calendar days and take up an average of 3,000 bills during that time. Charles W. Johnson and Kyle Nevins provided perspective based on their experiences working on the House floor for a combined total of more than 50 years.

“It’s no surprise since the start of this committee many of our colleagues have shared that the congressional schedule and calendar is at the top of their list for reform. As we heard today, there is no one-size-fits-all remedy, but the ability to spend more time legislating, more time with our constituents, and less time in airports and on airplanes is a good thing. Improving the structure of the calendar would help us use our days more effectively and efficiently and ultimately help us better serve the American people,” said Chair Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Vice Chair Tom Graves (R-GA).  

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To learn more about the Select Committee, click here.

To watch the hearing livestream, click here.