Issue One calls on U.S. Senate to increase capacity and meet the challenges of the 21st century

Issue One was joined by 15 organizations and individuals today calling on Senate leadership to provide necessary resources to increase Senate capacity and make the body more effective, efficient, and representative.

In the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, growing economic hardships, a national reckoning with racial injustice, and in the wake of the January 6 siege on the Capitol — it is essential that the Senate is able to evolve to meet these 21st century challenges. 

“A functional representative legislature is the hallmark of a functional democratic republic. Unfortunately, congressional productivity has broken down, resulting in unacceptably low public trust in the institution and impeding our nation’s ability to address the real issues that afflict American communities. In order for the Senate to fulfill its constitutional duties and confront these challenges, Senate leadership should establish and prioritize a body dedicated to making the Senate more transparent, representative, efficient, and effective” states the letter.

The letter also reads: “We strongly urge you to task a group of senators with evaluating institutional capacity and advancing recommendations to strengthen the Senate’s internal rules, norms, and operations. Such a body—whether created as a task force outside of the committee structure, a special subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Rules & Administration, or a hybrid approach—should have bipartisan representation and be sufficiently funded and staffed to thoroughly examine the complex issues facing the Senate. Failure to take action of this kind will leave the Senate insufficiently prepared to address the serious challenges of today and tomorrow.”

In order for the Senate to uphold its responsibility to the American people, the institution must commit to updating and strengthening its internal rules and norms. These reforms are crucial  to strengthen the legislative branch and ensure a Congress that is more inclusive, equitable, transparent, and effective. 

The letter was addressed to Senate Majority and Minority Leaders Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY), as well as Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Ranking Member Roy Blunt (R-MO), who oversee the Senate Committee on Rules & Administration.

Read the full letter here. 

The full list of signatories of this letter are as follows:

Advocacy Blueprints

Bipartisan Policy Center

College to Congress

Congressional Management Foundation

Demand Progress

Democracy Fund Voice

Issue One

Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies

Kevin M. Esterling, University of California, Riverside*

Kevin R. Kosar, American Enterprise Institute*

Lincoln Network

Lorelei Kelly, Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown*

Marci Harris, POPVOX Inc.*

R Street Institute

Rick Shapiro, Strategic Assets Consulting*

Unite America

* Affiliations listed for identification purposes only.