House Rules Package Includes Committee to Modernize Congress

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The House of Representatives’ rules package, which will be introduced later today, includes a new “Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress.” The package, which is backed by newly minted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., includes three titles and is expected to pass. The title that includes the new Select Committee will be up for a vote on Friday.

“This Democratic rules package is the result of unprecedented consultation across our caucus and the Congress,” said Rep. James P. McGovern, D-Mass., incoming Chairman of the House Committee on Rules, in a statement. “We are proposing historic changes that will modernize Congress, restore regular order and bring integrity back to this institution.”

The new Committee’s sole authority will be to “investigate, study, make findings, hold public hearings, and develop recommendations on modernizing Congress.” Specifically, the rules package tasks the select committee to make recommendations on “(A) rules to promote a more modern and efficient Congress; (B) procedures, including the schedule and calendar; (C) policies to develop the next generation of leaders; (D) staff recruitment, diversity, retention, and compensation and benefits; (E) administrative efficiencies, including purchasing, travel, outside services, and shared administrative staff; (F) technology and innovation; and (G) the work of the House Commission on Congressional Mailing Standards.”

The Select Committee will also be required to submit a final report at the end of the first session of the 116th Congress. The report must include the results of the Committee’s studies, its findings, and any policy recommendations the committee “may deem advisable.” In a move of bipartisanship, the committee can only submit the report if it receives the votes of 2/3 of its committee members. In the interim, the Committee will submit status updates to Congress every 90 days. Under the current rules package, the Select Committee will end on Feb. 1, 2020.

Also on the docket for Democrats on Thursday is H.R. 1, which will be sponsored and introduced by Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md. The legislation is expected to tackle a wide variety of election concerns, including requiring the Director of National Intelligence to do regular checks on foreign threats to U.S. elections, and promoting online voter registration.

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