To make it easier to follow the federal appropriations process, we’ve compiled a spreadsheet to track all the members who serve on various appropriations committees in a spreadsheet here and below.
Category: Reports & Analysis
Tracker: FY 2024 Approps Testimony and Hearing Deadlines
To make it easier to follow the federal appropriations process, we’ve compiled a spreadsheet to track testimony deadlines for FY 2024 appropriations hearings; it’s also available online here. We’ll continually update the spreadsheet as the remaining member and public testimony deadlines for both chambers are announced.
Appointments of Legislative Branch Office and Agency Heads
Written by Taylor J. Swift
There are over 30 support offices and agencies within the Legislative branch, including the Government Accountability Office, the Architect of the Capitol, the Library of Congress, the United States Capitol Police, and more. How are agency heads chosen and how are they removed?
The answer is not always clear. At times, the legislation or resolutions establishing an office do not specify how an officeholder may be removed. There are often informal practices for how appointments and removal work.
The Legislative branch itself does not have a standard approach. Some variation may be attributed to the roles of the offices, which may perform legislative, administrative, financial, and ceremonial functions. Other variations may arise from when an office was established, where it exists in the legislative branch, and whom it is intended to support.
Understanding how senior officials are chosen provides insight into whether and how they may be held accountable, to whom they are responsive, and whether their structure implicates the balance of equities between the Executive and Legislative branches.
We compiled a spreadsheet that contains details on the processes for selecting Legislative branch agency heads. It includes information on who selects office heads, the length of agency head tenures (if terms are set), reappointment or removal provisions (if any), and chamber roles in the appointment process.Continue reading “Appointments of Legislative Branch Office and Agency Heads“
Legislative Branch Funding Breakdown in the FY 2023 Omnibus Bill
The FY 2023 appropriations omnibus was passed by both houses of Congress and signed by President Biden. The FY 2023 Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill was rolled into the package, and it is packed with good government initiatives and significant investments in Congress’s capacity to legislate, conduct oversight, serve constituents, and more.
We and our civil society colleagues recommended dozens of items to include as part of the bill text and committee report — see our FY 2023 Appropriations requests, FY 2023 appropriations testimony, and 2022 report on updating House Rules — many of which appropriators graciously considered and included.
As Congress turns to the FY 2024 appropriations process, this blogpost highlights some of the notable funding changes reflected in the FY 2023 Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill. You can find the complete FY 2023 Legislative Branch portion of the bill here and the Joint Explanatory Statement here. The Senate summary can be found here and the House summary can be found here. For resources on prior Legislative Branch Appropriations bills, go here. In a future blogpost, we will look at the report language.
You can compare final line item funding for FY 2021 versus FY 2022 versus FY 2023 by looking at our spreadsheet.
The FY 2023 Legislative Branch bill appropriates $6.9 billion towards the Legislative Branch, a $975.0 million increase over FY 2022, representing 16.5% increase.Continue reading “Legislative Branch Funding Breakdown in the FY 2023 Omnibus Bill”
Legislative Branch Appropriations Line Items: FY 2021 to FY 2023
Congress finally introduced its FY 2023 omnibus bill. In the spreadsheet here and below, we broke down the Legislative Branch line items contained in the FY 2023 omnibus bill and compared them to FY 2021 and FY 2022. The spreadsheet also contains the requests published in the president budget, the appropriations levels supported by the subcommittee and full committee as they come out, and a comparison of how those levels have changed over time.
Proposals for Modernizing House Rules — Summary of Committee Members’ Day Recs for 118th Congress
Written by Taylor J. Swift
At the start of the 118th Congress, the House of Representatives will adopt new procedural rules that govern nearly every aspect of how it conducts business. In preparation, the House Rules Committee held its Member Day hearing (announcement, video) on Tuesday, November 28, 2022, to provide members of the House an opportunity to propose new Rules changes for the 118th Congress.
Members made several laudable recommendations during the proceeding:
- Rep. Davidson’s proposal to grant one staffer from each House office the ability to apply for TS/SCI clearance.
- Rep. Timmon’s recommendation to fix committee scheduling by creating an online portal for committee chairs to pick and choose hearing and markup times to help reduce scheduling conflicts.
- Rep. Griffith’s idea to have proportional representation on committees.
- Rep. Joyce’s proposal to establish a bipartisan ethics task force to study ethics rules and regulations.
- Del. Radewagen’s support for keeping the rule to allow delegates and resident commissioners to vote in the committee as a whole.
At the end of the Member Day hearing, multiple members, including Chair McGovern, urged the 118th House Rules to retain the ability for remote committee proceedings, a proposal we support. Reps. Jackson Lee and Grijalva submitted statements for the record supporting remote committee proceedings while Chair McGovern said he has heard from many members that remote committee proceedings have been helpful in obtaining witness testimony without the worry of travel or cost of the taxpayer.
Demand Progress and the Lincoln Network issued our own bipartisan recommendations package on what Rules should be updated in the 118th Congress in anticipation of this hearing.
The following is a high-level summary of each member’s requests and their justifications (with corresponding timestamps from the video). Please note that at the time of this writing, any submissions in writing by the members were not publicly available.Continue reading “Proposals for Modernizing House Rules — Summary of Committee Members’ Day Recs for 118th Congress”
Members of Congress on Mastodon
Fourteen years ago, an organization I was involved with pushed to change congressional rules to allow members of Congress onto Twitter. Like many of the starry-eyed democracy and technology efforts of that era, we saw the potential upside — closing the gaps between elected officials and the people they represent, allowing movements to push their governments to liberalize their policies — but we did not anticipate the potential downside, especially how Twitter would weaponize its algorithms to elevate the worst in people in pursuit of “engagement” and money.
Twitter became, in part, the crossroads between politicians, journalists, civil society, and notable individuals in our society. But it has become a toxic cesspool that aided the rise of authoritarianism.
For many years social entrepreneurs have sought to elevate the virtues of micro-blogging platforms while ameliorating the downside. The Fediverse, and Mastodon most notable, is one such example.
A forthcoming blogpost will address some of the many lessons we’ve learned since the early days of “let our Congress tweet,” especially how the Congress — and the federal government writ large — should support engagement on those platforms.
For now, we’re tracking as Members of Congress, congressional committees, leadership offices, and non-partisan legislative branch offices make the plunge onto Mastodon.
Our spreadsheet listing elected officials on Mastodon is below and available at this link. We are working to verify congressional offices so that we can confirm it is an official account. We verify the account either by receiving an email from an official congressional address to my email account, [email protected], or if they’ve updated their Twitter bio to include their official Mastodon email address.
Demand Progress and Lincoln Network Issue Bipartisan House Rules Recommendations Calling for Rebalancing Power in the 118th Congress
The progressive grassroots policy advocacy organization Demand Progress and the right-leaning technology nonprofit Lincoln Network have joined forces to urge the House of Representatives to adopt modern rules that improve congressional transparency, oversight, technology, and more. The bipartisan recommendations issued today by the two groups emphasize changes to House Rules that give more power to the rank-and-file members to shape legislation.
The recommendations are timely, as the House Rules Committee hears today from members concerning the Rules they want adopted at the start of the 118th Congress in January.
“There’s too much concentrated power in congressional leadership, which distorts the legislative process and stifles collaboration by members who share common interests,” said Daniel Schuman, policy director at Demand Progress. “These common-sense recommendations restore balance in the House so that all members can meaningfully engage in policymaking.”
“The Rules the House enacts will shape how Congress will function and who will have power,” said Zach Graves, executive director of Lincoln Network. “It’s important to democratize the House so more rank-and-file members have a say in the legislation that gets considered and so that committees don’t have their roles usurped by leadership. All members are elected to Congress and each one has a duty and obligation to represent their constituents.”
The package of bipartisan Rules recommendations identifies improvements the House should adopt to improve transparency of legislative information, internal operations and scheduling, congressional efficiency and oversight, congressional security, congressional capacity and staff, and ethics, as well as which Rules to retain from the previous two Congresses.Continue reading “Demand Progress and Lincoln Network Issue Bipartisan House Rules Recommendations Calling for Rebalancing Power in the 118th Congress”
Recs on Making GovInfo More Transparent, Useful, & Accessible
In response to the White House’s announcement of an open government engagement session on increasing federal data access and utility, Demand Progress Education Fund submitted these recommendations for making government information more transparent, useful, and accessible.Continue reading “Recs on Making GovInfo More Transparent, Useful, & Accessible”
Recs to Update the House Democratic Caucus Rules for the 118th Congress
We are pleased to release our recommendations to House Democrats on modernizing their caucus rules. The House Democratic Caucus rules provide the framework for how Democrats in the House of Representatives organize their Caucus. They address how they choose their leaders and committee members, identify their priorities, and express their values.
With the transition in leadership of the House Democratic Caucus, there are significant opportunities for the rules to further communicate Democratic values and shape the Caucus’s operations. In our view, Caucus rules should reflect the values of the members and the voters who elected them.
Demand Progress Education Fund has compiled a set of “low-hanging fruit” recommendations, broken into five sections, focused on making the Caucus more equitable, transparent, and democratic. A sixth section, entitled “empowering all members of the caucus,” addresses improved power sharing among leadership, committees, and the rank-and-file.