Select Committee on Modernizing Congress Receives Task Force Memo

Following the adoption of a House Resolution on improving the efficiency of Congress, Congress created a Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress to review ways to improve the chambers. To further this end, a task force assembled by the committee produced a report on the congressional capacity released this week.

The report highlights key vulnerabilities in Congress’ ability to legislate and makes recommendations for reforms.

First, the task force identified the “pacing problem,” arguing that Congress has failed to keep pace with technological advances.

“There are three related manifestations of this pacing problem for Congress: external, as the substance and scope of policy making and oversight fail to keep pace with technological innovation; inter-branch, as Congress falls behind the executive branch and fails to maintain capacity to operate as a co-equal branch; and internal, as Congress lags in incorporating new technology into its own processes and workflow,” the report explains.

The task force provided several recommendations to the committee to improve this process in each area of impact. These recommendations included improving processes to engage with experts, supporting efforts to allow individuals with technical expertise to work within Congress, and establishing a new support agency to advise Congress on emerging technologies.

The group also recommended the establishment of a House Technology Working Group with a five step plan for improving technological issues within the branch.

The group acknowledged that modernization is a difficult task for Congress but encouraged both individual and collective efforts to improve systems.

“This report outlines an ambitious project for Congress… Members of Congress, individually and collectively, work hard to represent their constituents, legislate, and oversee the executive branch. However, the institution has not equipped members and their staff with the technical capacity to do the job they would like to do as well as they would like to do it,” the report explains.

Posted in From the Hill

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