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Congressional Reform Ideas

The Congressional Reform Project is meant to be a resource for all aspects of legislative reform, so a sampling of these ideas is provided here as a reference. These ideas come from current and former Members of Congress and staff and other experts on the legislative process. An idea’s inclusion on this list does not constitute an endorsement, but it is offered as an option to consider and debate.

Congressional Institute President Mark Strand and many others are signatories of a document that also includes a host of ideas Members of Congress might consider to strengthen the legislature. More information can be found on the Congressional Reform Project’s main page.

General Congressional Reform

These resources propose wide-ranging reforms that cut across different aspects of the legislative process and congressional culture.

University of Texas-Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs: Reclamation of the U.S. Congress

No Labels: Make It Work

Budget Reform

Congress has a budget process, but never follows it, leading many to call for significant reforms.

Bipartisan Policy Center: Proposal for Improving the Congressional Budget Process

Brookings Institution: Improving the Federal Budgeting Process

House Budget Committee: Budget Process Reform

Rep. Reid Ribble: The Biennial Budgeting and Enhanced Oversight Act

Committees and Leadership

Congressional leadership and committees can ensure the success or failure of any given piece of legislation. As such, reformers often suggest altering party leadership and committee party structures.

Heritage Foundation: Four Immediate Reforms to Change the Culture of Congress

Executive-Legislative Relations Reform

The Framers of the Constitution intended for Congress and the President to have very different roles in the Federal Government, yet some say Congress has lost power to the President. These ideas aim to strengthen Congress vis-à-vis the Executive Branch.

Office of the Speaker: A Better Way: Our Vision for a Confident America

Congressional Party Rules

The rules of the House and Senate Republican Conferences and the House and Senate Democratic Caucuses determine how they will choose their leaders, assign Members to committee, and adopt official policies. Since they have so much influence over the legislative process, they have often been controversial and the subject of reform efforts.

Rep. Rodney Davis, Rep. Morgan Griffith, and Rep. Luke Messer: Rules Changes for the Republican Conference

General Government Reform

Congressional reform goes hand-in-hand with wider government reform. Many Members of Congress, experts and other private citizens have offered plenty of ideas to modernize the operations of the Federal Government.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray: Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission Act of 2016

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