New Modernization Committee Recommendations Important Step for Helping Congress Better Serve Constituents in Government Reform

The following is a statement from BPC Action Executive Director Michele Stockwell:

“BPC Action applauds the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress on the release of its second set of recommendations, which aim to improve congressional staffing, technology, and accessibility. These recommendations reflect two key areas where the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) has long called for improvement: the recruitment, development, and retention of a highly skilled congressional workforce; and the reinforcement of bipartisanship in training and orientation. If implemented, these proposals would help bring these critical processes into the 21st Century, allowing Congress to better serve the American people.

“To serve the country better, lawmakers must have effective tools and a functional work environment. Yet, many members of Congress face basic barriers to providing the best service to their constituents and making a substantive impact. For new members in particular, the process of setting up congressional and district offices while balancing a busy orientation process detracts from their ability to legislate when they first take office. Additionally, the lack of an effective centralized personnel office to support lawmakers and their staff only makes the process more cumbersome. These proposals work to address these and other challenges.

“Also among the committee’s recommendations is reestablishing and restructuring the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment (OTA). As science, technology, and data capabilities evolve, Congress must be able to rapidly receive timely, high-quality, non-partisan information in order to guide its policy decisions. Since the dis-appropriation of the OTA 24 years ago, Congress has lacked the necessary understanding and resources to address critical technological issues that will shape our nation’s future. Reviving the OTA, which has garnered bipartisan support, would give Congress the understanding it needs to make informed decisions and bolster congressional commitment to evidence-based policymaking.

“These bipartisan recommendations are critical to the ongoing effort to modernize Congress. We encourage leadership and individual members to support these proposals to help ensure offices have the tools they need to best serve their constituents.

“BPC Action applauds members of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress for their ongoing bipartisan work and commitment to making Congress work better for the American people. As Congress leaves for August recess, we encourage members to use the Modernization Committee’s progress to engage constituents on the importance of congressional reform.”