Reps. Lipinski and Lahood Launch Bold Initiative to Fix Congress So It Works Effectively for the American People; Call On Peers to Join Them

Reps. Dan Lipinski (IL-3) and Darin LaHood (IL-18) have unveiled a project called “The Congress of Tomorrow,” a major initiative designed to restore Congress to a functioning governing body that works effectively to solve problems.  They have introduced a resolution in the House to create a Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress that would create a committee to study and then recommend reforms of the legislative process.     

“Although I used to teach college students how Congress operates, it doesn’t take a student of Congress to understand that the legislative body is not working effectively for the American people,” said Rep. Lipinski.  “Americans know that major issues facing our nation are not being solved.  The legislative productivity of the last Congress, the 113th, was the worst on record, and the Congress before that, the 112th, was the second worst.  Americans understand that the legislative process is not working when they see Congress continually waiting until the last minute to address major issues, and sometimes not acting at all as we saw with the government shutdown a couple of years ago.  Just this week, we pushed to the brink of a government shutdown and then put off action on spending for FY2017 until the lame duck session after the election.  This is not how Congress should operate; we need fundamental reforms to make Congress work again.”

The bipartisan Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress has been used three times in the past 100 years.  It would be comprised of 24 members (12 each from the House and Senate, evenly split between parties), tasked with studying the organization and operation of Congress, and reporting its findings and recommendations.  The resolution does not prescribe a specific reform agenda for the Joint Committee or prioritize any ideas over another.  It merely serves as the platform and mechanism where all ideas, including those from members of the public from across the country, can be heard and debated.

“I decided to run for Congress because I knew that major reforms would be necessary to make Congress more transparent and effective,” stated Rep. LaHood.  “In my first year in Congress as a freshman, I have seen the crippling dysfunction in Washington first-hand.  Congress simply isn’t getting essential work done. The American public distrust of their legislative branch is legitimate, and things have to change.  However, real change requires real actions and real work.  That’s why I have joined with my colleague, Rep. Lipinski, to call for the formation of a Joint Committee to reform Congress, pulling together Democrats and Republicans from both the House and the Senate with a mandate to recommend major reforms in a timely fashion.  We have the opportunity to restore Congress’ responsiveness to the American people and rebuild their trust.  Now is the time to act.”

“In order to conduct the peoples’ business more effectively, Congress as an institution must streamline rules and procedures, improve efficiency in the committees and on the floor of the House and Senate, institute regular order as much as possible, increase participation of the members in the legislative process, and encourage bipartisan cooperation,” said Congressman Lipinski.  “Congress should also strive to improve relationships among members of the House and Senate, between the House and Senate, and between Congress and the Executive Branch.  Hopefully, this resolution is a first step to creating a better Congress that produces better policies for the American people.”