Office of Rep. Derek Kilmer press release.
On July 19, the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress (“Modernization Committee”), led by U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06), unanimously approved 29 bipartisan recommendations to make the U.S. House more effective by strengthening congressional oversight capacity, continuing discussions on congressional continuity procedures, modernizing the legislative process, and better supporting the offices tasked with serving the American people.
“The American people deserve a Congress that works better for them. These bipartisan recommendations work to strengthen some of the House’s most essential functions so representatives can do a better job serving their constituents,” said Rep. Kilmer, the Chairman of the Modernization Committee. “These 29 recommendations will help ensure that the House is able to conduct effective oversight of federal agencies, increase transparency and efficiency in the law-making process, improve the ability of district offices to meet the needs of their constituents and their communities, and protect the ability of Congress to fulfill its duties in times of crisis.”
“I came to Washington to fix Congress so it can better serve the American people,” said Rep. William Timmons (SC-04), the Vice Chair of the Modernization Committee. “The passage of today’s 29 recommendations will ensure the House can better serve the American people by providing staff with additional tools to strengthen oversight and hold the Executive Branch accountable, equipping support offices with the resources they need to turn the will of the people into law, and giving district offices the additional support and guidance they need to better serve their communities.”
To date, the Committee has passed 171 recommendations aimed at making the House more efficient and effective for the Americans people. A total of 110 of the recommendations have been implemented or have seen meaningful action toward implementation, including 34 of which have been fully implemented.
Below are key recommendations passed today. A full list of the passed recommendations can be found here.
Article One: Strengthening Congressional Oversight Capacity
- Optional bipartisan oversight training: The House should offer and support optional programs for members and staff to learn best-practices for conducting bipartisan, fact-based oversight.
- Improved access to document review software: The CAO should assist committees in obtaining and utilizing effective, industry standard “e-discovery” software to improve document review and processing capabilities.
Congress Back Home: Modernizing District Office Operations
- Additional staff capacity to support disaster response: The House should provide resources and staffing flexibility to district offices in responding to a federally declared disaster.
- Connecting constituents with community organizations and resources: The House should update and provide clear ethics guidelines to allow district offices to direct constituents to appropriate community organizations, resources, and services.
- Facilitating constituent service events: The House should provide flexibility within House Rule 24 to allow district offices to cosponsor constituent service events with nongovernmental organizations to provide information and other resources to constituents.
- Constituent control over their data: The House should ensure that constituent data and records related to casework are maintained, transferred, or destroyed according to a constituent’s preferences.
Turning an Idea into Law: Modernizing the Legislative Process
- Modernize bill referral and tracking: The House should establish a system for bill referral to committees that automates and tracks the bill’s progress through the legislative process.
- Automate the process of obtaining cosponsors: The House should develop a technology solution to allow greater automation of the process for collecting and registering cosponsors.
- Collaborative legislative drafting: The House should leverage existing enterprise-wide applications and develop other tools and solutions to better facilitate legislative drafting between member, committee, and leadership offices and the HOLC.
Congressional Continuity: Ensuring the First Branch is Prepared in Times of Crisis
- Joint Committee on Continuity: Congress should establish a joint committee to review House and Senate rules and other matters assuring continuing representation and congressional operations for the American people.