Update: What Items are Due in the Modernization Committee Resolution?

On March 10th, the House passed H.Res 756, adopting modernization recommendations of the Fix Congress Committee. The resolution included 29 recommendations that were unanimously reported by the Modernization Committee last year. The resolution calls on legislative support offices to start a number of projects and report back on how to implement others. 

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. It also states that, whenever practical, the House Administration Committee will publish any report required under this resolution online. 

Accordingly, on July 10th, the Committee on House Administration released a series of congressional reports that were due in H.Res 756. Those reports include:

CAO

Feasibility of Establishing a Congressional Staff Academy Needs Assessment

Clerk of the House

Adopting Standardized Format for Legislative Documents

Legislative Comparison Project

Assignment of Unique Identifiers for Reports Filed by Legislative Lobbyists

Database of information on the expiration dates of all Federal programs

Database of votes taken in committees

Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Operations Plan as Submitted

Committee on House Administration Committee Resolution 116-21

We applaud the release of these reports to the public to help give a better understanding of the implementation of various recommendations from the Modernization Committee resolution. We continue to catalogue the projects and their due dates into a public spreadsheet, and have them broken down by items due below.

What is Still Due?

There are still a number of outstanding reports that are past due that are not publicly available. Those reports include:

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.

Note: The FY21 House Appropriations Committee report included language asking the CAO to study and report on the effects of lifting the staff cap, although no definitive deadline for the study was mentioned. 

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.

Plan for Paying Salaries and Benefits for Employees of Members-elect During the Post-election Period

Resolution, pg 11

Due Date: June 8, 2020

The CAO shall submit a report to the Committee on House Administration that contains a detailed plan for establishing a program under which, upon the recommendation of an individual by a Member-elect (other than a Member elected to fill a vacancy), the CAO shall appoint the individual for a limited period of time to assist such Memberelect with administrative and other responsibilities pertaining to the preparation of the Member’s congressional office for operation, and shall include in the plan a timetable for implementation, an estimate of expected costs, and the identification of any statutory or regulatory obstacles to the implementation of such a program.

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.

House 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.

Reports (3) on Improving Member Feedback Regarding Outside Vendors and Services

Resolution, pg 19

Due Date: June 8, 2020

HIR will submit reports (3) to the Committee on House Administration on the following:

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

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.

Due in August

There is only report due in August:

Office of Diversity and Inclusion 

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.

Written by Taylor J. Swift