Sarbanes Urges Congressional Leaders to Study and Improve the Way Congress Works [Video]
WASHINGTON, D.C. – At a House Rules Committee hearing yesterday, Democracy Reform Task Force Chair Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) called on Congressional leaders to convene a bipartisan Select Committee to study Congressional dysfunction and find ways to improve Congressional capacity so that Congress works better for the American people.
“We have a responsibility to the people – to our constituents, to this country – to build a Congress that serves the people well,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “This is not something that’s just going to happen. We have to make it happen. And it’s gonna take a lot of work. But it’s work that needs to be done. And it’s worthwhile.”
Sarbanes continued: “If you look back over modern Congressional history, you will see that Congress, as an institution, has continually wrestled with how to be a more effective first branch of government…. In 1945, in 1965 and again in 1992, Congress convened joint committees to study Congressional dysfunction and to propose thorough, expert-guided reforms…. I’d like to make the argument today that we’re once again approaching such a moment when the challenges we face are so big that we must come together in a deliberate way to act…. A select committee will provide a formal venue for outside experts, historians, academics to present their views and help us wrestle with how to self-improve. And it’ll signal progress – however modest – to the American people that we are earnest in our efforts to make Congress work better.
Sarbanes concluded: “So, as this committee considers opportunities for rules reform in the 116th Congress, I hope you will explore support for a Select Committee on Congressional Capacity, and become advocates yourselves – from your position on this committee – for such a comprehensive and deliberative approach to improving the functioning of this institution, in which we serve.”
See below for Congressman Sarbanes’ full remarks.