Saturday, January 5, 2019

Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress


By a vote of 418-12 (unheard of in today's political environment), the U.S. House of Representatives has established the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress as part of the House Democrats' new rules proposal.

Washington, D.C. – January 4, 2019. Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued this statement announcing that Congressman Derek Kilmer (D) of Washington State will chair the new Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress.

“It gives me great pride to appoint Congressman Derek Kilmer as the Chair of our new Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress.  Congressman Kilmer is an innovator and a pioneer, who has worked relentlessly to make the House more transparent and more responsive to the voices of Members and the American people.  His commitment to bipartisanship in the Congress will be vital to this Committee’s work to modernize our institution.

“This November, the American people called for a Congress that would be ethical, transparent, unifying and responsive to their needs and aspirations.  The Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress will deliver this promise, and advance a House of Representatives that is diverse, dynamic and oriented toward the future.  This Committee will strengthen our institution, recognizing the legislative branch is Article I, the first branch of government, and will help our transformative new class achieve results for the American people.

“With Congressman Kilmer at the helm of this important Select Committee, Democrats will reinvigorate the Congress and return the People’s House to the American people.”


J.P. Note: As I have said many times before, when Congress wants to be serious and do something that they hope will have credibility and be bipartisan they always appoint a committee with an equal number of members from both parties. As is the case here there will be twelve members, six Democrats and six Republicans. The Committee will be charged with investigating and a studying options for modernizing Congress and file a final report at the end of the first session of the 116th Congress.

When will they ever learn that developing critically important legislation is also serious business that demands credibility and bipartisanship? Legislative committees with equal party representation will produce real, lasting solutions -- not one-sided solutions to complex problems that will be reversed during the next party power shift.


(FULL TEXT): Title II. Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. 

Title II establishes a Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress to investigate, study, make findings, hold public hearings, and develop recommendations on modernizing Congress. Topics for investigation include: (1) rules to promote a more modern and efficient Congress; (2) procedures including the schedule and calendar; (3) policies to develop the next generation of leaders; (4) staff recruitment, diversity, retention, and compensation and benefits; (5) administrative efficiencies; (6) technology and innovation; and (7) the Franking Commission. 

The title requires the Select Committee to provide interim status reports to the Committee on House Administration and the Committee on Rules. It authorizes the Select Committee to report the results of investigations and studies to the House on a rolling basis, along with detailed findings and policy recommendations, and requires a final such report at the end of the first session of the 116th Congress. All policy recommendations must be agreed to by at least 2/3 of the Select Committee’s members. 

The Speaker is directed to appoint 12 Members, Delegates, or the Resident Commissioner to serve on the Select Committee, including two members serving in their first term, two members of the Committee on Rules, and two members from the Committee on House Administration. Six of the 12 members must be appointed on the recommendation of the Minority Leader, including one member from each of the three described categories. The Speaker is directed to designate a chair, and, on the recommendation of the Minority Leader, a vice chair. 

The Select Committee will be governed by Rules X and XI, except as provided in the subsection. The subsection does not extend subpoena and deposition authority to the Select Committee, but authorizes the Select Committee to submit subpoena and deposition recommendations to the relevant standing committees. The Select Committee is required to hold a Member Day Hearing.