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A New Joint Committee on Congressional Reform: Proposed Language for a Concurrent Resolution

PROPOSED LANGUAGE FOR A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION
ESTABLISHING A JOINT COMMITTEE ON THE CONGRESS OF TOMORROW

SECTION 1

Establishes an ad hoc Joint Committee on the organization of the Congress to be composed of:

  • 12 members of the United States Senate
    • 6 to be appointed by the Majority Leader
    • 6 to be appointed by the Minority Leader
  • 12 members of the House of Representatives
    • 6 to be appointed by the Speaker of the House
    • 6 to be appointed by the Minority Leader

The Majority Leader and Minority Leader of the Senate and the Majority Leader and the Minority Leader of the House shall serve as ex officio, voting members of the Committee, but shall not be counted for purposes of ascertaining the presence of a quorum.

A Chairman from each house shall be designated from among the members of the Committee by the Majority Leader of the Senate and the Speaker of the House.

A vice chairman from each house shall be designated from among the members of the Committee by the Minority Leader of the Senate and the Minority Leader of the House.

The committee may establish subcommittees comprised of only members from one House, who may consider only matters related solely to that House.

No recommendation shall be made by the Committee except upon a majority vote of the members representing each House respectively.

Not withstanding the previous subparagraph, any recommendations with respect to the rules and procedures of one House which only affects matters related solely to that House may only be made and voted on by the members of the committee from that House, and upon its adopted by a majority of such members shall be considered to have been adopted by the full Committee as recommendation of the Committee.

SECTION 2

The Committee shall make a full and complete study of the organization, operations, functions and relevant interactions of the members of Congress and make recommendations that serve the following objectives:

  1. Making the operations and the organization of the Congress more effective and more efficient
  2. Improving the relationships between the houses of Congress
  3. Improving the relationships between and among the other Branches of the Government, particularly relative to the congressional oversight of those branches.
  4. Improving the orderly, timely and effective consideration and disposal of legislation
  5. Improving the relationships among both elected members of the Congress and the staff of those members, particularly relating to relationships between the minority and majority members.

The Committee shall in its study of the organization of Congress review the role of congressional leadership, including the role of the partisan organization of the leadership and the partisan influence on the legislative process.

The study of the leadership shall focus particular attention on the impact of leadership functions on individual members, the committees and the relationships between the two houses of the Congress and the Executive Branch.

The Committee shall also include in its study the role of the standing, select and special committees and their effectiveness in addressing legislative responsibilities, particularly those involving the authorization of Federal programs and agencies and the future fiscal impact of entitlement programs.

SECTION 3

The Committee or any of its subcommittees may sit and act at such places and times as the Committee or any duly authorized subcommittee thereof, determines are appropriate during the sessions, recesses, and adjourned periods of Congress.

The Committee may require the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, papers and documents, administer oaths, take testimony and procure printing and binding.

The Committee may appoint and fix the compensation of such experts, consultants, technicians and clerical personnel as it deems necessary, but shall use existing staff to the extent possible. Staff shall be compensated and reimbursed in accordance with current rules, statutes, practices and procedures under which congressional staff are currently compensated and reimbursed for their official expenses.

Witnesses requested to appear before the Committee shall be reimbursed for travel, subsistence nd other necessary expenses incurred in traveling to and from Committee proceedings.

The Committee may use such voluntary and uncompensated services as it deems necessary and may utilize the services, information, facilities and personnel of other agencies and offices of the Legislative Branch.

The Senate members of the committee shall submit a budget of expenses allocable to the Senate to the Committee on Rules and Administration of the Senate. The committee may expend for expenses allocable to the Senate from the contingent fund of the Senate subject to approval of the Committee funding resolution is approved by the Senate or, if no funding resolution is approved by the Senate.

Not withstanding any law, rule or other authority, there shall be paid from the contingent fund of the House of Representatives such sums as may be necessary for one-half of he expenses of the committee until such time as the House of Representatives adopts a funding resolution.

SECTION 4

The Committee shall report its findings to the House of Representatives and the Senate not later than the conclusion of the First Session of the 115th Congress.

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