Select Committee Unanimously Approves Second Round of Congressional Recommendations
Today the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress (“Select Committee”) unanimously passed their second round of bipartisan congressional recommendations, crafted to provide key opportunities for staffing, technology, and accessibility reform in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Over the last few months, the Select Committee has heard from current and former Members of Congress, industry leaders in staffing, recruitment and diversity, and those familiar with the House’s current technology policy, capabilities and procedures. The 24 recommendations were crafted with these conversations and shared data points in mind, with the intention of boosting the quality of constituent engagement, increasing staff retention on Capitol Hill, ensuring Americans with disabilities have access to all procedures and functions of the House, and overhauling the current onboarding and education process for new and current Members of Congress.
“This committee is committed to delivering solutions that make Congress more reflective of and responsive to the American people,” said Chair Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Vice Chair Tom Graves (R-GA). “These 24 bipartisan recommendations make important strides to strengthening the capacity of the Legislative Branch so we can better serve all Americans.”
The recommendations are summarized by category below and can be seen in full here.
Streamline and Reorganize House Human Resources
- Creating a one-stop shop Human Resources HUB for Member, committee, and leadership staff.
- Making permanent the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
- Examining and updating the staff payroll system from monthly to semimonthly.
- Raising the cap on the number of staff in Member offices.
- Regularly surveying staff on improving pay and benefits.
Overhaul the Onboarding Process and Provide Continuing Education for Members
- Allowing newly-elected Members to hire and pay one transition staff member.
- Offering new-Member orientation in a nonpartisan way.
- Making new-Member orientation more comprehensive.
- Promoting civility during new-Member orientation.
- Creating a Congressional Leadership Academy to offer training for Members.
- Making cybersecurity training mandatory for Members.
Modernize and Revitalize House Technology
- Reestablishing and restructuring an improved Office of Technology Assessment.
- Improving IT services in the House by reforming House Information Resources (HIR).
- Requiring House Information Resources (HIR) to prioritize certain technological improvements.
- Requiring House Information Resources (HIR) to reform the approval process for outside technology vendors.
- Requiring House Information Resources (HIR) to allow Member offices to test new technologies.
- Creating one point of contact for technology services for each Member office.
- Creating a customer service portal to improve technology services in the House.
- Leveraging bulk purchasing of the House by removing technology costs out of Member offices’ budgets and moving into a centralized account.
- Prioritizing a “rapid response” program at the Congressional Research Service for nonpartisan fact sheets on key issues.
- Developing a constituent engagement and services best practices HUB for Members.
Make the House Accessible to all Americans
- Improving access to congressional websites for individuals with disabilities.
- Requiring all broadcasts of House proceedings to provide closed caption service.
- Requiring a review of the Capitol complex to determine accessibility challenges for individuals with disabilities.
The Select Committee released its first round of recommendations in May. Those recommendations were introduced on the House floor today as a House Resolution. Every member of the Select Committee has signed on as a cosponsor.