FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, Jan. 4, 2019
MEDIA CONTACT: Jessica R. Towhey | | 202-294-0492

Overwhelming Bipartisan Vote in U.S. House Shows Lawmakers Are Serious About Reforming Congress

Reform-Minded Lawmakers Should Hold Their Colleagues Accountable on Promises Made

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Congressional Institute President Mark Strand issued the following statement following an overwhelmingly supportive vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to create a Joint Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress:

“Today’s overwhelmingly bipartisan vote is a strong signal that lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives are ready to make meaningful changes to make Congress more effective. That Congress needs reforming is hardly an earth-shattering concept. But reform efforts need an official forum to gain traction and earn consideration from the entire body.

“Congress has traditionally made significant reforms through Select and Joint Committees, and it has been more than 30 years since that last reform committee made any headway. The Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reforms during the 115th Congress laid strong a foundation for bipartisan ideas. The good work and collegial attitudes of that committee should be held up as a model for this current Joint Committee.

“There will be many issues on which Republicans and Democrats in Congress disagree. It is noteworthy to see such a strong bipartisan vote. We hope that reform-minded lawmakers hold their colleagues accountable for the promises made to get this committee up and running.”


The legislative language that creates the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress requires at least two-thirds of Members serving on it to approve any recommendations the committee might make, ensuring that any recommendations are bipartisan. The Committee, made up of 6 Democrats and 6 Republicans, will have the opportunity to hold hearings and take testimony from Members and outside experts with ideas to reform Congress. (H.Res.6, Title II, Sec. 201)

The Congressional Institute is a nonprofit organization that examines the operations of Congress and provides guidance to members, congressional staff, and the American public on understanding how Congress works and how it can work better. The Institute has published several white papers looking at reform ideas and analyzing congressional dysfunction. Mark Strand has written extensively on the need for a Joint Committee that would have the authority to recommend significant reforms to fix Congress. His opinion pieces include:

Here’s How to Reform Congress to Make It Actually Work
Published In: TIME Magazine

Joint Committee Can Make Meaningful Reforms to the Broken Budget Process
Published In: The Hill

Want Congress to Reassert Its Authority? Fix the Budget Process
Published In: Real Clear Policy

How Congress Can Make the Earmark Process Work
Published In: Stanford Law Review


Founded in 1987, the Congressional Institute is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to helping Members of Congress better serve their constituents and helping their constituents better understand the operations of the national legislature. The Institute sponsors major conferences for the benefit of Members of the U.S. Congress as well as a number of smaller gatherings, all devoted to an examination of important policy issues and strategic planning. The Institute also conducts important research projects consistent with its mission, develops resources such as a House Floor Procedures Manual and sponsors Oxford-style bipartisan Congressional debates.