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

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

In July, the Committee on House Administration released a series of congressional reports that were due in H.Res 756. We continue to catalogue the projects and their due dates into a public spreadsheet, and have them broken down by items. 

This month has quite a few items due. In addition to the report that is due in September, you can see below what reports are past due and have yet to be publicly released. 

Due in September

Chief Administrative Officer (CAO)

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.

CAO and the Clerk of the House

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

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.

What Items are Past Due?

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

Chief Administrative Officer

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.

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.