President Joe Biden on Tuesday touted technology emerging from a renewable energy lab in a Denver suburb as a central component of...READ MORE
Perlmutter Plays Key Role in Select Committee’s Passage of Bipartisan Recommendations to Make the U.S. House More Efficient, Effective
Washington, D.C., July 29, 2021
Washington, D.C. – This week, U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO-07), who serves on the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, voted to pass the Select Committee’s first package of recommendations of the 117th Congress to make the U.S. House of Representatives a more efficient, effective institution for Coloradans and Americans across the country.
Since being tapped to serve on the Committee, Perlmutter has participated in fact-finding hearings aimed at increasing congressional capacity and accessibility to ensure all Americans can engage with Congress. Additionally, this set of recommendations will help Congress retain a strong workforce to become a more effective institution and to better serve constituents.
“Congress makes the best policy when it has the best people. We must ensure benefits for congressional staff are competitive with federal agencies and the private sector so staff can raise a family, buy a house, or pursue professional development opportunities while working hard for our constituents,” said Perlmutter. “These recommendations will better support staff and constituents while working to meet the challenges of the 21st Century. I look forward to continuing to work to ensure a modern Congress that is efficient and responsive to our communities.”
Specifically, Perlmutter advocated for the inclusion of two priorities:
1) Update staff benefits to increase retention, including establishing and maintaining a Task Force on the House Workforce led by the Chief Administrative Officer to make ongoing, wholistic recommendations each Congress for how to better align benefits with the workforce practices in the Senate, executive branch, and private sector; and
2) Expand the Student Loan Repayment Program to provide tuition assistance and encourage ongoing professional development and improve retention.
Perlmutter supported the creation of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress in 2019 and actively engaged with the Select Committee last Congress as it established many of its priorities and advanced nearly 100 recommendations aimed at developing the next generation of leaders, making permanent the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and providing continuing education opportunities for Members.
"The mission of the Select Committee — to make the legislative branch work better for the people — remains a vitally important effort before this Congress. We applaud these new recommendations, which will make the House of Representatives a stronger institution by improving staff retention, diversity, and pay. We urge Republicans and Democrats to work together to implement these proposals, because Americans deserve a responsive legislative branch that is able to meet the challenges of our modern democracy," said Meredith McGehee, Executive Director of Issue One, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to make reforms at the federal level aimed at increasing transparency, strengthening ethics and accountability, and reducing the influence of big money in politics.
The first slate of recommendations includes three main categories: 1) improving staff recruitment, diversity, retention, and compensation and benefits; 2) professionalizing internships and fellowships; and 3) improving accessibility. Other areas of interest for the Select Committee include how to improve civility and collaboration, strengthen the committee system, and facilitate evidence-based lawmaking.
Below is a list of key recommendations. A full list of recommendations can also be found here.
Improve Staff Recruitment, Diversity, Retention, and Compensation and Benefits
• Update and Align Staff Benefits to Increase Retention: The House should establish and maintain a “Task Force on the House Workforce,” led by the Chief Administrative Officer and comprised of other House offices to make ongoing policy recommendations on updating staff benefits to ensure we are retaining our nation’s best and brightest.
• Supporting the Office of Employee Assistance: The Office of Employee Assistance should seek to retain a diverse workforce, offer access to bilingual services to ensure we are able to support a work force that is representative of the American people.
• Talent Acquisition Software: The Chief Administrative Officer should provide access to industry-leading talent acquisition software to assist House offices in managing their recruitment and hiring processes to ensure we have a strong work force serving our country.
Professionalize Internships and Fellowships
• Intern & Fellowship Program Office or Coordinator: The House should establish an Intern and Fellowship Program Office or Coordinator that helps with onboarding, developing educational curriculum, professional development, and training for office coordinators.
• Remote Internships: The House should study the feasibility of permanently allowing remote internships to expand accessibility of internship programs.
• ADA Drop off/Pick up Zone: The House should designate a drop off and pick up zone near an accessible entrance for members of the public with mobility impairments and develop a clear process for accessing the new drop-off point.
• Accessible Websites: The House should promote awareness of accessibility requirements for Member and committee websites and provide training and tools for staff to help them properly maintain and update those sites.