Congressional Reform Concepts
For Consideration By
A Joint Committee on the Congress of Tomorrow
The following recommendations are the result of conversations that have taken place among several groups and are intended to serve as a framework for short-term and long-term change.
Such a framework would be best achieved through the creation of a bipartisan, bicameral Joint Committee on a Modern Congress, patterned after those created during the last Century for a similar purpose.
CONGRESSIONAL EDUCATION, INTERACTION AND ORIENTATION
- Create a professional study of the quality of Congressional life for members, spouses and children, including roundtable discussions, survey research and data collection, and make recommendations.
- Create an intensive course of study for Congressional staff, including curricula in history, constituent service, policy development, politics, time-management and technology. The course would also include discussion of the federalist system and the relationship between the Federal Government and the states.
- Establish through the auspices of the House Republican Conference and the Democratic Caucus, a series of bimonthly Oxford style debates on the Floor of the House on a series of policy questions agreed upon by the bodies intended to enhance the base of knowledge of the general public.
- Conduct a bipartisan conference at the outset of the 114th Congress on legislative and political procedure hosted by an outside organization (s) in cooperation with the House Democratic Caucus and the House Republican Conference. The Conference would educate newer members on:
- Rules of the House
- Procedures and practices relevant to the three pillars of legislative action: Budget, Appropriations and Authorizations
- Relationships with leadership, the Senate and the Executive
- Historical overview of the Legislative Branch, including jurisdiction of the committees and a historical perspective on the committees’ action on major issues.
- Rules of engagement for bipartisan interaction
- Opportunities for social interaction
- Develop a handbook and video produced specifically for members of Congress and staff as part of the orientation process.
- Provide for each Standing Committee to conduct orientation sessions that would focus on the history, precedents and rules that govern Committee activities, including discussion of coordination with leadership, the conduct of conferences, and bipartisan cooperation (Granger-Cleaver discussion).
For a complete list of reform concepts, click here.