New Report: Bipartisan House Rules Recommendations for Rebalancing Power in the 118th Congress
Today, Demand Progress and the Lincoln Network released bipartisan recommendations for the 118th Congress that would emphasize rules changes in the House of Representatives that would give more power to rank-and-file members power to help shape legislation.
From their press release:
The package of bipartisan Rules recommendations identifies improvements the House should adopt to improve transparency of legislative information, internal operations and scheduling, congressional efficiency and oversight, congressional security, congressional capacity and staff, and ethics, as well as which Rules to retain from the previous two Congresses.
Among the dozens of recommendations, Demand Progress and the Lincoln Network identified ten priority recommendations the House should adopt, including to:
- Establish a new subcommittee focused on congressional modernization efforts, to be housed within the Committee on House Administration;
- Create a Chief Data Officer of the House of Representatives focused on improving the transparency of legislative branch information;
- Create a commission to improve the security and continuity of Congress;
- Keep the Office of the Whistleblower Ombuds created in the 116th Congress;
- Improve the House Calendar’s regularity of proceedings by adopting a three weeks on, two weeks off schedule, which maximizes work time and minimizes travel time;
- Allocate every House member one personal office staffer who is eligible to apply for a TS/SCI clearance to support the member on relevant matters (just as the Senate now does);
- Publish online House Inspectors General reports, which provide important oversight of congressional activities;
- Publish online in a central location all Congressional Budget Justifications, so we can understand how the legislative branch spends taxpayer funds;
- Create modern Legislative Service Organizations as a platform for members of Congress to collaborate on issues of interest; and
- Implement pending Office of Workplace Rights regulations, some of which have languished for a decade.
Other recommendations to note include:
- Updating guidance concerning securities trading for members, working with stakeholders to improve transparency and address conflicts of interest;
- Granting the Office of Congressional Ethics with subpoena authority over non-congressional entities and individuals;
- Adjusting congressional staff pay for inflation;
- Dedicating resources for oversight of the US Capitol Police by providing the Committee on House Administration Majority and Minority with funds for a staffer with security expertise to focus on USCP oversight;
- Improving cybersecurity by providing training and resources to members and staff to protect official and non-official accounts from hacking;
- Prohibiting permanent fencing around the Capitol complex;
- Creating an online database for public access to all “Dear Colleague” letters sent to all member offices;
- Expanding the successful comparative print project — which uses technology to show how an amendment would modify a bill, or a bill would modify the law — to identify when several bills contain virtually the same language; to show when a bill is incorporated into a larger bill; and to identify antecedent legislation for a current bill from prior Congresses;