Jan 16, 2019

A Major Victory on Capitol Hill! But There’s Still Work to Be Done.

Our government was created for the people, but as Congress fails to perform its basic functions—like passing a timely budget—it fails to serve us, the American people. One year ago, we set out on a vital mission to make Congress work for us once again by establishing a committee to create the Congress of Tomorrow. This critical reform faced daunting odds, as the committee would have to be approved by the same antiquated process it would eventually overhaul.

But Americans spoke out loud and clear for change.  As a result, we reached major milestones in 2018:  more than 27,600 letters sent to over 500 members of Congress demanding this committee, and House Rules Committee Chairman Rep. Jim McGovern included such a committee in his draft Rules package for the new Congress that convened this month.

That’s right – our push for a Congress of Tomorrow culminated in a spectacular victory: the House created a Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress with an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote. Here is what we know so far about this new panel:

  • It will consist of 12 members from both parties
  • Derek Kilmer (D-WA) will be its chairman
  • It is expected to release its proposed recommendations by the end of 2019
  • Committees of relevant jurisdiction will oversee advancing the report’s recommendations

While this is an incredible achievement, our work is far from over. A Congress of Tomorrow requires a thorough examination of the entire institution. That means this committee must have adequate resources, strong support, and dedicated members to report strong recommendations.  We must then insist that the relevant standing House committees of jurisdiction advance reforms and that the entire House of Representatives has the opportunity to approve them.   Further, we need the Senate to follow the House’s lead and establish its own select committee.

The Congress of Tomorrow effort will continue to ensure this committee’s success.  One essential component is able and dedicated members.  While we await an announcement of who the committee members will be, here are the four basic qualities they should have:

  1. A commitment to reforming Congress over playing political games
  2. A passion for making Congress work better for the American people
  3. Knowledge of the institution’s operation
  4. The ability to drive changes through the institution

With a win in our pockets, let’s continue this momentum by holding Congress accountable for ensuring this committee has the tools necessary to succeed.

For a refresher on select committees, click here.

Is Congress Working for You?