U.S. Reps. Darin LaHood and Dan Lipinski, a Republican and Democrat, respectively, and both from Illinois, have introduced a resolution to form a Joint Committee that would be empowered to recommend institutional changes to rules and procedures to get Congress working again. Below are statements of support for the Joint Committee. Go here to read the Congressional Institute’s press release.

Bipartisan Policy Center: Joint Committee Legislation Would Enable Needed Reforms

Washington, D.C.– John Fortier, director of the Democracy Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center, released the following statement on new legislation that would establish a Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress:

“Reps. Darin LaHood (R-IL) and Daniel Lipinski (D-IL) today introduced legislation that would, for the first time in over 25 years, create a mechanism to obligate Congress to evaluate and improve its procedures and processes. Our society, communications systems, and national imperatives have changed dramatically since that last self-examination in the early 1990s. While Congress has worked to accommodate these new realities, much will be gained from a broad and deliberate assessment of institutional strengths and needs.

“The current polarization and breakdown in long-respected norms and tradition have significantly affected the ability of Congress to conduct the people’s business. While some are nostalgic with rosy memories of gentler times, the Bipartisan Policy Center believes that the Congress and other critical institutions must strengthen their capacity to govern a divided nation. This challenge is the focus of the BPC’s Commission on Political Reform, which proposed a comprehensive package of congressional reforms designed to strengthen the congressional workforce and increase the capacity to reconcile competing interests. BPC recommendations include the introduction of bipartisan caucus meetings, a more vigorous committee process, the consideration of more amendments in both chambers, and an increase in the number of days Congress works in Washington.

“The Joint Committee will provide a forum for consideration of a broad range of ideas to confront gridlock and restore the public’s faith in the world’s greatest democratic institution.”

Former U.S. Rep. Bob Walker

“Congress is in need of structural and process reform. Its structure must allow it to address 21st Century concerns in a timely way and it’s processes must reinvigorate the marriage between policy setting and spending priorities. The first step should be a bipartisan, bi-cameral committee empowered to develop the essential elements of reform.”

Congressional Management Foundation: Statement on the Proposed Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress

“A resilient Congress is essential to a functioning democracy. However, at this time, citizens, scholars, and even Members of Congress and staff are questioning whether Congress has the capacity to meet the expectations and aspirations of the American people.

“It is time for Congress to re-examine its structure, processes, and operations through a Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress. For nearly 40 years the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) has conducted a significant amount of research with congressional offices, Members, staff, and institutional offices. It is clear to us that a thoughtful, bipartisan effort aimed at improving the institution would result in a better Congress, better laws, and better service to the American people.

“For this reason, CMF applauds Representatives Darin LaHood and Dan Lipinski for calling for a Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress. We urge Members of Congress and their staffs to support this process to evaluate and improve Congress so that it can continue to perform its vital role in our democracy and fulfill its constitutional responsibilities.”