What Items are Due in the Modernization Committee Resolution?

Last Tuesday, the House took a great step towards making the people’s chamber more efficient and responsive with the passage of a resolution (H.Res 756) adopting modernization recommendations of the Fix Congress Committee. 

The resolution contains five titles: (1) streamlining and reorganizing human resources; (2) improving orientation for members-elect and providing improved continuing education opportunities for members; (3) modernizing and revitalizing technology; (4) making the House accessible to all; and (5) improving access to documents and publications. Note, it includes a request that, whenever practical, the House Administration Committee will publish any report required under this resolution online. (Nicely done!)

The resolution calls on legislative support offices to start a number of projects and report back on how to implement others. We cataloged the projects and their due dates into a public spreadsheet, and broke down the items due by entity below.

The deadlines are listed below. 

Chief Administrative Officer (CAO)

Report on Adjusting the Statutory Limitation of Number of Employees in Member Offices

Resolution, pg 8-9

Due Date: May 9, 2020 for the outside entity contract. July 8, 2020 for the final report to CAO.

The CAO will enter into a contract with an outside entity under which the entity shall work with the Chief Administrative Officer to prepare and submit a report examining the feasibility of adjusting the statutory limitation established in 1975 on the number of employees who may be employed in the office of a Member. 

The report submitted to CAO will include information regarding the size and markup of each congressional district, the average number of employees for each district office and common tasks per position, recommendations for the optimal number of employees for the DC and district offices, and recommendations regarding employee salaries and costs. 

Bulk Purchasing Report

Resolution, pg 20

Due Date: June 8, 2020

The CAO will submit a report to the Committee on House Administration on the steps necessary to provide a standard suite of information technology for bulk purchases. 

House Website Accessibility 

Resolution, pg 22

Due Date: June 8, 2020 

The CAO will provide the following elements to the Committee on House Administration to ensure the accessibility of House websites:

  • A schedule for scanning and analyzing all House websites and applications to determine the accessibility level of each website and application. 
  • An analysis of the resources and assistance necessary to ensure all relevant system are compatible with common programs used by major disability groups. 
  • A plan to ensure that all updates to such websites and applications, as well as new websites and applications, are accessible. 

Payroll System Update Report

Resolution, pg 7

Due Date: July 8, 2020

The CAO will submit a report to the Committee on House Administration on the feasibility of updating the employee payroll system to address considerations of younger and lower-paid employees, as well as address the timing of the monthly payment schedule. 

Survey Results – Interest in Congressional Leadership Academy

Resolution, pg 13

Due Date: July 8, 2020

The CAO will publish the results of survey to the Committee on House Administration for Members to determine the level of interest in establishing a Congressional Leadership Academy

Office of House Information Resources Report

Resolution, pg 15

Due Date: September 6, 2020 

The CAO will submit a report to the Committee on House Administration on the operations of the Office of House Information Resources. This report will include:

  • A roadmap of root causes of HIR’s inability to deliver enterprise programs and IT in a timely manner.
  • Recommendations to improve the quality of services.
  • Recommendations for changes to HIR’s mission to better align it with the needs of Members. 

Report on Modernizing and Revitalizing Technology

Resolution, pg 15-16

Due Date: September 6, 2020

The CAO will submit a report to the Committee on House Administration that includes:

  • The identification of solutions to address the challenges HIR faces in balancing the needs between network security and making available emerging technologies in a timely manner to satisfy the operational needs of Member offices, including a detailed marketing and communications plan to address gaps and disruptions that exist in the seamless delivery of services between HIR and the offices it supports.
  • Recommendations to improve the quality of HIR services, such as web design and information technology support.
  • Recommendations for changes to HIR’s mission to better align it with the needs of Member offices.
  • Methods to reduce duplicative spending for information technology services.
  • The identification of steps and actions necessary to ensure that HIR establishes a single point-of-contact within HIR for each office of the House. 

Report on Accessibility of Practices and Programming by Leg. Branch Offices

Resolution, pg 24

Due Date: September 6, 2020 

The CAO, in consultation with the Director of the Office of Congressional Accessibility Services and the Librarian of Congress, will submit a report to the Committee on House Administration on the accessibility of practices and programming used by offices of the Legislative Branch to serve the needs of individuals with disabilities. 

Annual Cybersecurity Training for Members and Employees

Resolution, pg 14

Due Date: Ongoing

The CAO will carry out cybersecurity training under which each individual who has access to the House Network (including each Member, officer, employee, intern, and vendor of the House) annually receives an appropriate amount of training. Must receive initial cybersecurity training not later than 30 days after the individual first has access to the House Network. 

CAO and the Clerk

Closed Captioning of Proceedings Report 

Resolution, pg 23

Due Date: September 6, 2020

The CAO and Clerk will provide the Committee on House Administration with a report detailing a plan to ensure that all House proceedings that are broadcast on television or streamed on the Internet provide closed caption services, and provide a free captioning service for all web videos created by Member, committee, and leadership offices, as well as the CAO and the Clerk. The report will include:

  • A statement of the estimated costs of providing close captioning services for all such proceedings.
  • A statement of the estimated costs of providing captioning service for all such web videos.
  • An estimated timeline for carrying out the plan
  • A discussion of any barriers to carrying out the plan, including statutory or regulatory impediments

Clerk of the House (Clerk)

Report on Standardizing a Format for Legislative Documents

Resolution, pg 25

Due Date: May 9, 2020, with quarterly reports thereafter. 

The Clerk will submit an initial report to the Committee on House Administration regarding the status of the implementation and adoption of a standard legislative drafting, viewing, and publishing format. The Clerk will then submit quarterly reports on the statues of implementation and adoption. 

Report on Status of Unique Lobbyist Identifiers

Resolution, pg 31-32

Due Date: May 9, 2020 for the initial report, then quarterly reports on its status. 

The Clerk will submit an initial report to the Committee on House Administration regarding the status of assigning a unique ID number of each person who filed registration with the Clerk under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995. The Clerk will then submit quarterly reports on its status.  

Report on the Legislative Comparison Project

Resolution, pg 26-27

Due Date: June 8, 2020, with quarterly reports thereafter. 

The Clerk will submit an initial report to the Committee on House Administration regarding the timeline of completion, costs accrued, and expected costs of completion of the legislative comparison project. The Clerk will then submit quarterly reports on the status and costs of completion and adoption of the project. 

Report on Expiration of Authorization of Programs Database

Resolution, pg  28-29

Due Date: July 8, 2020, with annual reports thereafter.

The Clerk will submit an initial report to the Committee on House Administration regarding the timeline and costs of the establishment and maintenance for a database of information on the expiration of authorizations of programs. This report will be updated on an ongoing basis. An annual report will also be submitted each year (not later than 15 days after the last day of each calendar year that begins after the submission of the initial report). 

Report on Database of Recorded Votes in Committee

Resolution, pg 29-30

Due Date: July 8, 2020, with quarterly reports thereafter.

The Clerk will submit an initial report to the Committee on House Administration regarding the establishment and maintenance for all recorded votes in committees. The clerk will then submit quarterly reports on its establishment and maintenance. 

Committee on House Administration

Centralized HR Program

Resolution, pg 3-5

Due Date: Ongoing

The Committee on House Administration will establish a centralized HR program that will incorporate a centralized best hiring practices repository, heightened diversity recruitment, continual reevaluation of current Member, committee, and leadership office employee benefits. The HR program will conduct biennial staff surveys, provide optional exit surveys to Member, committee, and leadership staff, foster continual improvements to the House resume bank, improve and manage the House Vacancy Announcement and Placement Service, and provide Members-elect with info on service offered once taking office. 

Constituent Engagement Page on HouseNet

Resolution, pg 22

Due Date: Ongoing

The Committee on House Administration will establish a nonpartisan constituent engagement and services page on HouseNet to better optimize constituent outreach and feedback. 

House Employee Orientation and Separation Process

Resolution, pg 10 

Due Date: Ongoing

The Committee on House Administration will employ a comprehensive and uniform orientation and separation process for new employees (including interns) of the House to complete within a designated period of time after appointment and prior to termination. 

Improving the Orientation Experience of New Members

Resolution, pg 12-13

Due Date: Ongoing

The Committee on House Administration will work to ensure that:

  • Orientation services are available to all new Members, including special elections. 
  • Courses on House Rules, decorum, and debate promote civility and respect. 
  • Archived audio and visual recordings of orientation sessions are available for reference.
  • A range of House training programs and support services for new Members and senior staff are provided. 
  • An examination of the feasibility of providing a “just in time” approach to orientation sessions. 

Providing Technologies to Improve Constituent Engagement

Resolution, pg 17

Due Date: Ongoing

The Committee on House Administration may issue regulations or take any other steps as may be required to ensure that Member offices have the necessary technology and software to improve the efficiency and operation of Member offices and to improve constituent engagement, including:

  • The ability of House offices to conduct video calls and video conferences
  • The ability of Members to sign legislation, correspondence, and constituent consent forms using electronic signatures. 
  • The ability of Members and employees to securely and seamlessly access the House Network from any place and at any time. 
  • A plan and timetable to improve correspondence management tools available to Member offices. 

Rapid CRS Fact Sheets

Resolution, pg 21

Due Date: Ongoing

The Committee on House Administration will require the Congressional Research Service (CRS) to provide rapid response short fact sheets. 

House of Information Resources (HIR)

Report on Streamlining Tech Vendor Approval

Resolution, pg 17 

Due Date: June 8, 2020 

HIR will submit a report to the Committee on House Administration describing the steps necessary to create a streamlined approval process for outside technology vendors.

Report on Establishing a Program for Offices to Adopt New IT Early

Resolution, pg 18 

Due Date: July 8, 2020

HIR will submit a report to the Committee on House Administration describing the establishment of a program for offices to elect to participate in early adoption of new IT and applications developed by outside vendors prior to the approval by HIR. 

Report on Improving Member Feedback Regarding Outside Vendors and Services

Resolution, pg 19

Due Date: June 8, 2020

HIR will submit a report to the Committee on House Administration on the following:

  • The steps necessary to create a customer satisfaction portal on HouseNet. 
  • The steps necessary to create an annual survey for district-level staff and district-specific technology concerns. 
  • The steps necessary to create a survey for Members and employees on what technology they would like to use for professional work. 

House Sergeant at Arms, the Architect of the Capitol, and the ED of the Office of Congressional Workplace Rights

Capitol Grounds Accessibility Report 

Resolution, pg 24

Due Date: September 6, 2020 

Provide a joint report to the Committee on House Administration identifying areas of the Capitol buildings and Capitol Grounds that are not currently accessible, estimated costs of making the necessary changes, and a timetable for accessibility modifications. 

Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Operational Plan for Staff Appointments

Resolution, pg 5

Due Date: May 9, 2020 

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion will provide an operational plan to the Committee on House Administration for appointing and establishing duties for staff in the office. 

Diversity Plan

Resolution, pg 6

Due Date: August 7, 2020 

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion will submit a diversity plan to the Committee on House Administration that include the following:

  • Policies to direct and guide House employing offices to recruit, hire, train, develop, advance, promote, and retain a diverse workforce, consistent with applicable House rules, regulations, and law.
  • The development of a survey, in consultation with the Committee on House Administration, to evaluate diversity in House employing offices. The Office shall develop, conduct, and report the results of the survey in a bipartisan manner.
  • Framework for the annual diversity report. 
  • A proposal for the composition of an Advisory Council that shall inform the work of the office. 
  • Anything else determined by the Committee on House Administration. 

Diversity Report

Resolution, pg 6-7 

Due Date: End of each session of Congress

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion will submit a diversity report to the Speaker of the House, the House Majority and Minority Leaders, the Chair and Ranking Member of the Committee on House Administration, and the Chair and Ranking Member of the Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee. The report will be presented in a bipartisan manner. 

Did we miss anything? What should be included in the Select Committee’s next round of recommendations? Let us know by emailing Taylor@demandprogress.org.

— Written by Taylor J. Swift