Issue One Executive Director Meredith McGehee wrote an opinion piece in The Hill about Congress modernizing itself. From the column:

Congress remains closely divided after neither party won a mandate in the election. It is almost as if Americans want both sides to reach across the aisle. The great news is that the federal government was set up to do that. Congress is where “we the people” have our say in a messy process where different interests can be reconciled. We know that this is possible because we have navigated tumultuous times before. The bad news is that Congress is highly dysfunctional right now. Its capacity has not kept pace with the demands of a diverse nation and an elaborate world.

Lawmakers face schedule conflicts that leave them spending more time in transit than in key committee hearings. They have outdated technology along with fundraising and media incentives that stimulate them to offer partisan talking points rather than embark on building serious legislation. Americans have noticed as recent surveys demonstrate that Congress has a dismal approval rating that hovers around 20 percent.

Whether our democracy proves resilient and able to work for the people is up for debate. The Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, which was created almost two years ago, was tasked with investigating and improving legislative operations. Despite gridlock in Congress, this bipartisan panel, with six Democrats and six Republicans, issued nearly 100 unanimous recommendations to make the branch more functional, accessible, transparent, representative, and technological.

Read her full piece in The Hill.

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Topics: Congressional Staffing