Statement on the House Appropriations Committee including Issue One recommendations on congressional capacity in its FY21 funding bill

Last week, the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations passed the FY21 Legislative Branch funding bill, which included a number of recommendations made by the bipartisan Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress and supported by Issue One in its testimony before the subcommittee. In response, Issue One Executive Director Meredith McGehee released the following statement:

“As partisan standoffs continue to capture the headlines, this display of rare — but much-needed — bipartisan cooperation in Congress could not be more welcome. 

“To better fulfill its Article One responsibilities, the House and Senate need to enable members to pay competitive salaries and retain staff, help members reach a more diverse talent pool that reflects the makeup of the country and their constituents, and create a centralized human resources ‘hub’ to put best practices in place. These actions by the House Committee on Appropriations, if enacted, will be modest but absolutely critical steps forward to building a modern and responsive Congress able to fulfill its role as the first branch of government.

“Congress needs the capacity to perform its most basic function: legislating. These provisions, which Issue One recommended in our testimony to the subcommittee, get to the heart of key drivers of dysfunction and polarization in the legislative branch. 

“In addition, at a time of national reckoning on systemic racism, the bill would also take the long overdue step of removing statues commemorating Confederate leaders from the Capitol building. 

“Last year, the House began the overdue work of updating its operations through the establishment of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. We believe the Senate should follow suit. Issue One continues to support this work, and continues to advocate for solutions to fix our broken political system.”