While Congress has made some headway in recent years to modernize the way the national legislature takes advantage of technology, maintaining a bipartisan focus on modernization goals is the necessary ingredient to making further progress, current and former Capitol Hill officials said during a November 9 Partnership for Public Service online event.
Former Rep Tom Graves, R-Ga., who was vice-chair of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, said the modernization process – and the goal of improving how the legislature functions – has to travel a bipartisan path.
The Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, established in early 2019, has thus far led the charge on modernization efforts in Congress in a genuinely bipartisan nature. It was tasked to investigate, study, make findings, hold public hearings, and develop recommendations to make Congress more effective, efficient, and transparent on behalf of the American people.
Since 2019, the committee approved a centralized human resources hub for Congress, and the adoption of the e-signature platform Quill, which has brought the House one step closer to using digital signatures for most House business.
Tim Monahan, minority staff director for the Committee on House Administration, said that moving forward, the committee has continued to work on support processes to help better understand the needs of different member offices.
“It’s a combination of more enterprise-wide solutions, but it’s also thinking outside the box on how we make it easier for folks that want to help Congress increase its capacity bring those services and products into use and cutting through some of the red tapes that currently exists,” said Monahan.
Jamie Fleet, staff director for the Committee on House Administration, said “our focus remains on helping House members serve their constituents,” whether that involve advancing Modernization Committee’s recommendations or bringing in more enterprise-wide solutions.
“We are at a complex time in our nation’s history, and there are plenty of things and people to blame for this,” Fleet said. “But bipartisanship can pay dividends for the productivity of Congress. We need to think of bipartisanship and cooling the temperature around the institution, and anything that can help facilitate that is helpful.”