BPC Action Applauds New Modernization Committee Recommendations Aimed to Combat Dysfunction and Create a More Efficient Congress in Government Reform

It is no secret that most Americans—and many members of Congress—are frustrated with political dysfunction; at the same time, the majority of the public want more collaboration from elected leaders. New recommendations from the House Modernization Committee hold promise for realizing that goal. BPC Action applauds the committee for its continued progress this week with its agreement on another set of bipartisan recommendations that focus on cross-party collaboration, civility, administrative efficiencies, and constituent communication.

As BPC President Jason Grumet stated in recent testimony before the Modernization Committee, “If we want Congress to have the deliberative capacity to resolve real differences, we must develop practical opportunities to build relationships that mesh with the myriad demands on a member’s time.”

BPC points to three key elements for creating an environment that fosters the bipartisanship and civility necessary to tackle our nation’s challenges: 1) build trust, 2) provide incentives for collaboration, and 3) reform the rules that inhibit members from forming critical bonds. The committee’s proposals, in alignment with BPC recommendations, would:
• Establish biennial bipartisan retreats,
• Create a bipartisan members-only space in the Capitol, and
• Institute more opportunities for committee staff to build relationships with their counterparts in the opposite party.

These recommendations hold promise for helping members and staff establish trust and find opportunities to work together.

Also included in the committee’s package are a series of House administrative efficiencies and improvements to the franking system, both of which are key to creating an institution that is more responsive to constituents. Creating more opportunities for constituents to communicate with their representatives, facilitating faster correspondence, updating the House social media rules for better online engagement, and allowing the public to more easily view communication sent by members to constituents creates greater accountability and accessibility.

BPC Action applauds the Modernization Committee for moving forward these bipartisan recommendations to create a more collaborative, civil Congress, which is key to a functional democracy and strengthened Legislative Branch. We thank Chair Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Vice Chair Tom Graves (R-GA) for their leadership, and committee members for their commitment to making Congress work better for the American people. We look forward to the committee’s continued work in the second session.