What Items Are Due to Congress: February 2021

Congress routinely requests reports on modernizing Congress but there’s no great place to keep track of what they’ve requested. So we are keeping track so you don’t have to.

We built a catalog of projects and their due dates that we are maintaining in this public spreadsheet, broken down by item due, entity responsible, and due date.

The catalog covers reforms and requests ordered by the House and Senate Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittees, the Committee on House Rules, and the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. At the moment, the catalog includes major resolutions and measures: H. Res. 8, the House Rules for the 117th Congress, Legislative Branch Appropriations FY 2021, and H.Res. 756 from the 116th Congress.

Due In February

This month has five items that are due. In addition to the reports that are due in February, you can see below what reports are past due and have yet to be publicly released.

H.Res. 8 – House Rules

Clerk

Regulations on Support for Senate Measures

H.Res. 8, pg 34

Due Date: February 1, 2021

Not later than February 1, 2021, the Clerk shall submit to the chair of the Committee on Rules regulations establishing a process for Members to indicate their support for Senate measures that have been received by the House. Such process shall include the maintenance of a publicly available list of Members supporting each such Senate measure. Upon receipt of such regulations, the chair of the Committee on Rules shall cause them to be printed in the Congressional Record, and Members shall be permitted to indicate their support for Senate measures accordingly.

Legislative Branch FY 2021 Appropriations

Architect of the Capitol (AOC)

Study on Stopping the Spread of Infectious Diseases

Joint Explanatory Statement, pg 17

Due Date: February 10, 2021

The Committees direct the AOC to brief the Committees on the costs associated with a study on the feasibility of necessary upgrades within the Capitol Complex facilities, including doors and elevators, to reduce the number of surfaces that are touched by staff and visitors with the goal of reducing the spread of infectious diseases. The AOC shall brief the Committees within 45 days of enactment of this act, and the AOC is encouraged to submit as part of its fiscal year 2022 budget request a funding request for a full feasibility study on this matter.

Clerk

Lobbyist Disclosure Unique Identifier

House Report, pg 9 

Due Date: February 25, 2021

The Committee requests a report from the Clerk of the House, no later than 60 days after enactment of this Act, regarding progress on generating a Congresswide unique identifier for lobbyists and disclosing that identifier to the public as structured data as part of the lobbying disclosure downloads.

Congressional Research Service (CRS)

Briefing on Access to Archival Materials

Joint Explanatory Statement, pg 24

Due Date: February 25, 2021

In House Report 116-44 7, CRS was requested to provide reports to the Committees on the feasibility of making publicly available CRS reports that are contained in its CRSX archive and of providing all currently available non-confidential CRS reports in HTML format. Access to such reports in HTML format rather than PDF would be particularly useful to the physically disadvantaged community. The agreement modifies the House requirement for reports to instead require briefings to the Committees.

Briefing on Access to CRS Reports in HTML Format

Joint Explanatory Statement, pg 24

Due Date: February 25, 2021

In House Report 116-44 7, CRS was requested to provide reports to the Committees on the feasibility of making publicly available CRS reports that are contained in its CRSX archive and of providing all currently available non-confidential CRS reports in HTML format. Access to such reports in HTML format rather than PDF would be particularly useful to the physically disadvantaged community. The agreement modifies the House requirement for reports to instead require briefings to the Committees.

Outstanding Items – Legislative Branch Appropriations

Capitol Police, Senate SAA, AOC

Joint Audible Warning System (JAWS)

Joint Explanatory Statement, pg 1

Due Date: January 26, 2021

This agreement provides funding, as requested, for the necessary infrastructure build-out and implementation of a new JAWS, which will replace the legacy annunciator system. The Senate and House Sergeants at Arms (SAA), U.S. Capitol Police (USCP), and the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) will each play a role in building out the JAWS platform, and the Committees expect these agencies to take a unified approach to implementing this project. Furthermore, the Committees direct all agencies involved to provide a joint briefing to the Committees on execution of the JAWS project within 30 days of enactment of this act and hold a subsequent standing briefing every month thereafter for the duration of this project.

CIO of Legislative Branch Agencies

Annual Reports of Improved Coordination of Legislative Branch Data Centers**

Joint Explanatory Statement, pg 9-10

Due Date: Annually starting January 30, 2021

The chief information officers (CIOs) of the legislative branch agencies are directed to form a governance board that will have authority over common elements among agencies’ management of their data centers. Such elements should include agreements on the use of available space in data centers that are owned and managed by the AOC. The board should identify the expected rate of occupancy of AOC data centers over the next 5 to 10 years, their required level of security, and agreed-upon uses of unused space for other purposes. The CIOs should report to the Committees within 180 days of enactment of this act that the governance board has been created. Thereafter, the board should provide annual reports to the Committees on its deliberations and decisions, with the first report being due by January 30, 2021.

** indicates this item was required in the FY 2020 Legislative Branch Appropriations bill.

Outstanding Items – Modernization Committee 

While a new session of Congress has already begun, there are still several items due from the 116th Congress’s H.Res 756 — the resolution from the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. Traditionally, these reports are posted on the Committee on House Administration’s website. See below which 13 reports are past due and have yet to be publicly released. We look forward to the Modernization Committee and the Committee on House Administration to continue to release more reports to the public.

Chief Administrative Officer (CAO)

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. 

Plan for Members-elect Office Operations

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 Members-elect 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

Report on the Feasibility of Updating the Employee Payroll System

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. 

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. 

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 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

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 Database of Recorded Votes in Committee

Resolution, pg 29-30

Due Date: July 8, 2020, with quarterly reports thereafter. October 15, 2020 is currently outstanding. 

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. 

House Information Resources (HIR)

Reports on Improving Member and Staff Feedback Regarding Outside Vendors and Services

Resolution, pg 19

Due Date: June 8, 2020 

HIR shall submit a report to the Committee on House Administration on the steps necessary to:

  • In compliance with applicable Rules of the House of Representatives and other regulations and standards of the House, create an internal customer satisfaction portal on HouseNet that allows Members and employees to rate and review outside vendors and HIR services;
  • Annually survey district-level staff and district specific technology concerns; and
  • Survey Members and employees on what technologies they would like to use.

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. 

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

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.