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Congressional Reform Concepts: Congressional Operations and Procedures

Congressional Reform Concepts
For Consideration By
A Joint Committee on the Congress of Tomorrow

The following recommendations are the result of conversations that have taken place among several groups and are intended to serve as a framework for short-term and long-term change.

Such a framework would be best achieved through the creation of a bipartisan, bicameral Joint Committee on a Modern Congress, patterned after those created during the last Century for a similar purpose.

CONGRESSIONAL OPERATIONS AND PROCEDURES

  • Adoption of a congressional calendar that provides for 5-day work weeks synchronized between the House and the Senate with three weeks in session and one week to conduct congressional affairs in the district or state of the member (BPC Commission on Political Reform).
  • Regular bipartisan meetings of the caucus/conferences in the respective bodies (BPC Commission on Political Reform)
  • Provide for bipartisan monthly meetings of the elected leadership when Congress is in session (BPC proposal);
  • Create special, select or joint committee to conduct an assessment of Committee procedures, including:
    • Alignment of Committee jurisdictions
    • Committee ratios
    • Make-up of the committee membership. How are members selected and why
    • Workload and time constraints of multiple membership on committees
    • Committee and subcommittee size and the eligibility of freshmen members for membership on certain committees.
    • Staffing
    • Time/management of committee meetings, particularly as they conflict with floor sessions
  • Create a Commission on Government Waste and Inefficiency, including private sector management experts, members of Congress, and representation from the Government Accountability Office and the Office of Management and Budget that would produce a plan for a concurrent, but separate review of each Federal Cabinet Department based on criteria to ensure that each review is conducted under consistent guidelines that would facilitate a final, comparative analysis. The Commission would report to Congress and the President specific programmatic and statutory changes, which the President would have a specific period of time to review and make recommendations to Congress that would take affect without congressional action, including such reforms as may be necessary in the conduct of congressional oversight.   Such a commission should become a periodic exercise.

For a complete list of reform concepts, click here.

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