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                                            Union Calendar No. 329

116th Congress }                                          { Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
  2d Session   }                                          { 116-407




                              R E P O R T


                      THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON THE

                       MODERNIZATION OF CONGRESS

                     U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES



 February 25, 2020.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed
                    U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE                    
99-006                           WASHINGTON : 2019                     

                    DEREK KILMER, Washington, Chair
ZOE LOFGREN, California              TOM GRAVES, Georgia, Vice Chair
EMANUEL CLEAVER, Missouri            ROBERT WOODALL, Georgia
SUZAN DelBENE, Washington            SUSAN W. BROOKS, Indiana
MARK POCAN, Wisconsin                RODNEY DAVIS, Illinois
MARY GAY SCANLON, Pennsylvania       DAN NEWHOUSE, Washington
                                     WILLIAM TIMMONS, South Carolina                            

                            Committee Staff

                      Allie Neill, Staff Director
                   Jake Olson, Deputy Staff Director
                        LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL


                          House of Representatives,
         Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress,
                                 Washington, DC, February 25, 2020.
Hon. Cheryl L. Johnson,
Clerk, House of Representatives,
Washington, DC.
    Dear Ms. Johnson: I present herewith a report entitled, 
``Recommendations To Streamline House Human Resources, Overhaul 
The Onboarding Process, Improve Member Continuing Education 
Opportunities, Modernize House Technology, And Improve 
                                              Derek Kilmer,
                            C O N T E N T S


                           February 25, 2020

 I. PURPOSE AND SUMMARY...............................................1

IV. RECOMMENDATIONS...................................................7
 V. COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION AND VOTES................................14

Union Calendar No. 329

116th Congress }                                          { Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
  2d Session   }                                          { 116-407



 February 25, 2020.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed


Mr. Kilmer, from the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         I. PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    The Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress has 
been charged with the important responsibility of recommending 
improvements to the U.S. House of Representatives to help 
Members of Congress and their staff better serve the American 
people. On May 23, 2019 the Select Committee passed its first 
set of recommendations to ``open up'' Congress and improve 
transparency across the Legislative Branch. Since then, the 
Select Committee has identified key challenges and capacity 
issues throughout the Legislative Branch that affect the 
ability of Members and congressional staff to best serve the 
American people. To address these challenges, the Select 
Committee proposed its second series of recommendations which 
fit into four broad categories.
    The first set update Human Resources (HR) policies and 
consolidate the many HR-related offices in the House to provide 
a one-stop shop to help Members and staff with questions about 
recruitment, retention, diversity, legal counsel, training and 
    The second set overhaul the onboarding process for new 
Members, provide continuing education opportunities for all 
Members, and emphasize the necessity of civility and respect 
throughout Congress.
    The third set of recommendations modernize House technology 
resources to keep the institution on the cutting edge and 
emphasize quality IT services to reduce reliance on outside 
vendors, leverage bulk purchasing power, and save taxpayer 
    The fourth set of recommendations seek to address the equal 
access challenges persons with disabilities face when working 
for, visiting, or interacting with the House, and establish 
that proceedings and functions of the House must be made 
accessible to all Americans.


    The importance of a strong and coequal Legislative Branch 
is a pillar of our democratic republic. Yet deficiencies in the 
capacity of Congress to execute the responsibilities 
established in Article I of the Constitution have diminished 
the role of the House and Members' ability to serve their 
    The Select Committee identified the following issues to be 
addressed with recommendations to improve the capacity of 
          1. Attracting and retaining a diverse and highly 
        qualified workforce requires competitive benefits for 
        staff. Congressional staff are too often unaware of the 
        benefits and services offered by the House resulting in 
        underutilized services. Furthermore, there is no 
        centralized, one-stop shop for managers and senior 
        staff in congressional offices to find best practices 
        related to benefits and policies, or get answers to 
        questions about how to handle management issues. A 
        centralization of resources under a single human 
        resources department helps prioritize the function and 
        evolution of services available for congressional 
        offices to provide to staff. Improving services to 
        Member offices and staff will help recruit and retain 
        staff who may otherwise seek opportunities elsewhere 
        and improve Congress's ability to serve the public.
          2. The lack of diversity among staff in the House has 
        been highlighted in various reports and surveys, and 
        remains a challenge for the institution. To help make 
        improvements, the Rules of the House of Representatives 
        for the One Hundred Sixteenth Congress (H. Res. 6) 
        established the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to 
        develop a plan including, in part, ``policies to direct 
        and guide House employing offices to recruit, hire, 
        train, develop, advance, promote, and retain a diverse 
        workforce.'' The Office, however, is only authorized 
        for the current session of Congress. The establishment 
        of the Office for this period alone could prove 
        ineffective given the time required to establish the 
        Office and execute the responsibilities prescribed in 
        H. Res. 6. If the ``People's House'' is to make earnest 
        efforts to improve diversity among our workforce, the 
        Office of Diversity and Inclusion should be established 
        permanently and efforts to evaluate its effectiveness 
        and mission should be ongoing.
          3. As the Select Committee continues to evaluate 
        issues related to pay for staff, one common problem for 
        younger and lower-level staff remains a monthly pay 
        schedule. While previous legislation failed to bring 
        the institution in line with the Senate and other 
        federal employee pay schedules, issues persist among 
        staff that exasperate struggles to meet monthly 
        financial obligations. Examining the cost and logistics 
        of moving to semimonthly pay can address ongoing 
        concerns about bringing the House in line with the rest 
        of the federal government. Moving the House closer to a 
        system that functions better for lower-level staff is 
        also designed to improve recruitment and retention of a 
        workforce that best serves the American people.
          4. In 1975, a cap was placed on the amount of staff 
        that can serve in Member offices yet the population 
        offices are required to represent continues to grow. 
        This cap effectively places a higher workload on staff 
        and increases the House's dependence on outside 
        resources and research (i.e. lobbyists, trade 
        associations, etc.). By allowing Member offices to hire 
        additional staff by increasing the cap, offices can 
        better serve their constituents, reduce stress on the 
        staff, and improve staff retention.
          5. Currently, the staff of the House are not 
        regularly surveyed to capture information about staff 
        pay, diversity, benefits, and quality of life. This 
        lack of basic information hinders the ability of the 
        House to identify why staff leave Congress, and ways to 
        improve retention and diversity. The Rules of the House 
        of Representatives for the One Hundred Sixteenth 
        Congress (H. Res. 6) included a survey on staff 
        diversity, and outside groups have compiled reports on 
        staff pay and education. However, consistently 
        surveying staff internally will improve results and 
        help the institution make data-based decisions.
          6. When Members are elected to the House, they can 
        bring one ``designated aide'' with them to the official 
        House orientation. These aides are not paid and do not 
        receive benefits and, as a result, it can be difficult 
        for new Members to hire qualified individuals for the 
        duration of the transition period. Paying a 
        ``designated aide'' and allowing them to receive 
        benefits can improve the transition process for new 
        Members as they begin serving their constituents.
          7. Ensuring new Members have a productive and 
        informative orientation at the beginning of their term 
        is important to starting the work of serving their 
        constituents. However, there are no archived audio or 
        visual recordings of orientation sessions and 
        orientation is not provided to Members who won special 
        elections. Additionally, Members have shared how 
        separating orientation sessions by political party 
        furthers partisanship in Congress. The transition for 
        new Members can be improved by archiving orientation 
        sessions and presentations for reference and providing 
        orientation in a nonpartisan way.
          8. Orientation for new Members can be overwhelming as 
        they have approximately two months from the day they 
        are elected to when they are sworn in. During the 
        transition period, new Members have many 
        responsibilities from hiring staff to finding district 
        offices while also having to digest important 
        information about the legislative process, rules of the 
        House, and ethics. Instituting a ``just-in-time'' 
        approach to orientation would compartmentalize and 
        prioritize the information new Members need and provide 
        it to them when they need it.
          9. Americans expect and deserve a functioning 
        Legislative Branch, yet too often partisanship slows 
        the work of Congress. As new Members transition into 
        office, the orientation process provides an opportunity 
        to emphasize the importance of working relationships 
        with Members from across the aisle. Providing a session 
        on House Rules of Decorum and Debate and other 
        practices to promote civility in Congress during new 
        Member orientation establishes the importance of a 
        civil and productive tone for new Members.
          10. Members currently lack professional development 
        and institutional training opportunities. Newly-elected 
        Members receive initial training through new Member 
        orientation, but after orientation there are few--if 
        any--opportunities for Members to continue learning. 
        Members who are interested in learning more about House 
        procedures and rules, leadership and negotiation 
        skills, or even computer software and systems should 
        have easy access to online and in-person training. 
        Members should be surveyed to help determine which 
        courses they would find most useful.
          11. Members of Congress are not required to take 
        cybersecurity training despite their vulnerabilities to 
        cyber threats. Cybersecurity training should be 
        mandatory for Members. As part of this training, 
        Members should be trained in cell phone security and 
        receive cybersecurity guidance for traveling abroad.
          12. The Office of Technology Assessment, a 
        nonpartisan agency tasked with helping Congress 
        navigate science and technology issues, was formed in 
        1972 and defunded in 1995. Given the growing complexity 
        of science and technology issues confronting Congress 
        today, Members and staff need expert assistance in 
        understanding these issues. Developing policies to 
        address complex science and technology questions 
        requires a level of professional expertise that 
        Congress currently lacks. Reestablishing (and renaming) 
        the OTA is necessary for Congress to address modern 
        science and technology challenges, but the agency must 
        have an updated vision and mandate that reflects 
        current thinking and approaches to effectively 
        addressing these issues.
          13. Members and staff cannot adequately perform their 
        representational and legislative duties when the 
        technology services they rely upon are lacking. The 
        House Information Resources (HIR) office is meant to 
        provide Members and staff with quality, in-house 
        technology services, but many Member offices turn to 
        outside vendors for assistance because they currently 
        can't rely on HIR for consistent and quality service. A 
        thorough, outside review of HIR operations and services 
        will help the House develop a roadmap for successfully 
        reforming HIR.
          14. Member offices need quick access to the newest 
        technologies in order to perform basic office functions 
        and effectively engage with constituents. While review 
        processes are necessary in order to adequately address 
        security concerns and other technical issues, these 
        processes need to be expedited so that Member offices 
        can function in a way that meets 21st century demands.
          15. For outside vendors who wish to provide new 
        technology services to the House, the approval process 
        is long and arduous. This discourages new vendors from 
        doing business with the House, which puts the House at 
        a technological disadvantage. The vendor approval 
        process should clearly describe the requirements, 
        restrictions, and processes to encourage new vendors to 
        engage. By clearly designating points of contact within 
        relevant offices, creating a process for early vendor 
        consultation, and providing annual information 
        sessions, the House could better attract new vendors 
        providing innovative technologies.
          16. There is currently no formalized way for Member 
        offices to know what new technologies HIR is beta 
        testing. Member offices that are interested in 
        experimenting with new technologies should be able to 
        easily access information about what new technologies 
        HIR plans to beta test, then request that their office 
        participate in the beta testing. Such a program would 
        allow HIR to better gauge Member office interest in new 
        technologies, as well as how new technologies perform 
        in Member offices settings.
          17. Members and staff currently must contact a number 
        of customer service providers for their various 
        technological needs. This creates confusion and wastes 
        valuable time. Assigning each Member office a 
        ``Technology Customer Advocate'' would alleviate staff 
        time spent trying to figure out the appropriate point 
        of contact for various technology concerns that arise. 
        The Technology Customer Advocate would be the Member 
        office's first point of contact for any office 
        technology question and would assist staff in 
        connecting to the appropriate point of contact.
          18. There is currently no formal mechanism for 
        Members and staff to rate their experiences in working 
        with HIR. In order to consistently improve the services 
        they provide to Members and staff, HIR needs to solicit 
        direct input from Members and staff about the services 
        they receive. Incorporating Member and staff feedback 
        into HIR's decision-making processes will increase 
        accountability and hold HIR to a higher standard. 
        Developing a survey mechanism that will allow Members 
        and staff (including district-based staff) to rate 
        their HIR customer service experiences, as well as 
        HIR's technical performance, on an annual basis will 
        provide HIR with necessary and important customer 
        feedback. There is also no formal mechanism for Members 
        and staff to tell HIR which unapproved technologies 
        they wish to use. An annual survey of Members and staff 
        on which unapproved technologies they wish to use will 
        help HIR prioritize and expedite the approval process.
          19. Bulk purchasing allows entities to buy at a 
        reduced cost. The price a Member office pays to 
        purchase 10 computers is higher than the price an 
        office would pay to purchase 1,000 computers. 
        Currently, Member offices are responsible for 
        purchasing their own technologies (for example, 
        computers, tablets, printers, phones, etc.) out of 
        their Members' Representational Allowance (MRA). The 
        CAO could purchase in bulk and make available to Member 
        offices these same technologies for a greatly reduced 
        cost. Removing these basic office operating expenses 
        out of the MRA saves taxpayer dollars by eliminating 
        one-time purchases and reducing overall House spending 
        on technology.
          20. Constituents, as well as staff, frequently seek 
        brief, nonpartisan explanations of complex policy 
        issues. The Congressional Research Service is uniquely 
        equipped to assist Members and staff in their efforts 
        to provide constituents with this information. Even 
        when Members do not agree with constituent opinions, 
        providing constituents with considered responses that 
        address issues in a nonpartisan, factual manner 
        improves constituent satisfaction and overall 
          21. Modern technologies have made it possible for 
        Members to interact with constituents in an ever-
        expanding number of ways. Some Members are currently 
        experimenting with new constituent engagement 
        technologies while others are relying on older, more 
        traditional technologies. A nonpartisan constituent 
        engagement and services best practices portal would 
        provide a one-stop shop for Member offices to access 
        new ideas and technologies for improving constituent 
        engagement. This would encourage better, more modern 
        interactions between Members and constituents.
          22. The ``People's House'' should be accessible to 
        all people. Having a disability shouldn't preclude 
        constituents from having full access (physical, 
        electronic, etc.) to their Representatives' offices. 
        Many congressional websites are currently not 
        accessible to people with disabilities. This lack of 
        accessibility prevents some constituents from obtaining 
        public information about Members, legislation, 
        district-based issues, as well as job and internship 
        openings. Websites can be made accessible through 
        common programs used by people with disabilities. The 
        CAO and HIR should develop a plan to (1) Scan and 
        analyze all House websites and apps to first determine 
        accessibility, and (2) Make all House websites and apps 
        accessible. Prompt execution of such a plan will ensure 
        that all constituents, regardless of ability, can 
        access public information about their Representatives.
          23. House proceedings, including committee hearings 
        and mark-ups, are not automatically available in closed 
        caption. Persons who are hard of hearing or otherwise 
        rely upon closed caption to follow verbally-presented 
        information must notify someone at least four days 
        prior to a hearing or mark-up in order for closed 
        caption service to be provided. This places the burden 
        of accessibility on the individuals who need service. 
        Furthermore, hearings and mark-ups are not always 
        publicly noticed four days in advance as committees are 
        sometimes confronted with last-minute scheduling 
        changes. Automatically providing closed caption or 
        another form of transcription service ensures that 
        hearing impaired individuals can access hearings and 
        mark-ups in real time.
          24. The Capitol grounds should be accessible to all 
        individuals, regardless of ability. A comprehensive 
        review of the Capitol grounds is necessary to (1) 
        Determine accessibility challenges, and (2) Develop and 
        implement a comprehensive plan to ensure that persons 
        with disabilities can access all buildings and spaces 
        that comprise the Capitol grounds.

                             III. HEARINGS

    The Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress held 
four hearings which helped shape these recommendations. The 
hearings included:
           ``Improving Constituent Engagement'' on June 
        5, 2019. The Select Committee received testimony from:
                   Brad Fitch, President & CEO, 
                Congressional Management Foundation
                   Marci Harris, Developer of 
                Constituent Engagement Tools and Former 
                Congressional Staffer
                   Michael Neblo, Professor of 
                Political Science, Ohio State University
           ``Cultivating Diversity and Improving 
        Retention Among Congressional Staff'' on June 20, 2019. 
        The Select Committee received testimony from:
                   Alexander Alonso, Chief 
                Knowledge Officer, Society for Human Resource 
                   Laura Liswood, Author, The 
                Loudest Duck; Moving Beyond Diversity While 
                Embracing Differences to Achieve Success at 
                   Kwasi Mitchell, Principal and 
                Chief Inclusion Officer, Deloitte Consulting
           ``Fostering the Next Generation of Leaders: 
        Setting Members up for Success'' on July 11, 2019. The 
        Select Committee received testimony from:
                   Stacy Householder, Director of 
                Leaders' Services and Legislative Training, 
                National Conference of State Legislatures
                   Philip Kiko, Chief 
                Administrative Officer, The U.S. House of 
                   Richard Shapiro, Former 
                Executive Director, Congressional Management 
           ``Modernizing Legislative Information 
        Technologies: Lessons from the States'' on July 24, 
        2019. The Select Committee received testimony from:
                   Diane Boyer-Vine, Legislative 
                Counsel, California State Legislature
                   Nelson Moe, Chief Information 
                Officer, Commonwealth of Virginia
                   Mike Rohrbach, Chief Information 
                Officer & Director of Information Technology, 
                Washington State Legislature

                          IV. RECOMMENDATIONS

    The Select Committee made the following 24 recommendations 
to address the problems identified (see II. BACKGROUND AND NEED 
FOR RECOMMENDATIONS) and have organized them into four 
categories. The Select Committee supports:

          Streamlining and Reorganizing House Human Resources

    Update policies and consolidate the multitude of offices 
that offer administrative support to Members and staff to 
provide a one-stop shop to aid Members and staff with 
recruitment, retention, diversity, legal counsel, training and 
benefits in their offices.
          (1) Recommendation: Create a one-stop shop Human 
        Resources HUB dedicated to Member, committee, and 
        leadership (MCL) staff. Led by an HR Deputy Director 
        and comprised of existing offices and staff of the 
        House, the office will be responsible for assisting MCL 
        offices to improve the recruitment and retention of a 
        diverse workforce, develop best practices that can be 
        utilized by offices, and provide recommendations for 
        competitive compensation and benefits to House staff.
          Specifically . . . The HUB will be a physical (in a 
        centralized location near Member offices) and virtual 
        HUB structured as a board led by a new Deputy HR 
        Director for Congressional Staff and comprised of 
        representatives from the following:
                   Office of Employee Advocacy
                   Office of Congressional Workplace 
                   Office of House Employment Counsel
                   Office of Employee Assistance
                   Congressional Staff Academy
                   House Wellness Center
          The Deputy HR Director for Congressional Staff will 
        be overseen by the Chief Human Resources Officer for 
        the Chief Administrative Officer of the House, and will 
        guide and delegate efforts to recruit and retain a 
        diverse staff including, but not limited to:
                  1. developing a tool kit for best practices 
                for hiring, promoting, and managing a diverse 
                  2. improving diversity recruitment by 
                implementing best practices for actively 
                seeking out candidates of various backgrounds 
                and compiling into the House resume portal (for 
                example, outreach to HBCUs, community colleges, 
                organizations for individuals with 
                disabilities, etc.);
                  3. reevaluating current MCL office staff 
                benefits (for example, capacity and costs of 
                the House child care center, student loan 
                benefits, etc.) and develop recommendations for 
                new benefits to improve recruitment and 
                retention (for example, telework, flex 
                schedules, returnship programs, sabbaticals, 
                  4. conducting the biennial staff survey as 
                well as offering an optional exit survey to MCL 
                  5. transforming the existing House resume 
                bank into a user-friendly, searchable portal 
                where MCL offices can select a range of 
                criteria to narrow down the candidate pool;
                  6. improve and manage the House Vacancy 
                Announcement and Placement Service (HVAPS); and
                  7. providing Members-elect information on the 
                full range of services offered to their staff 
                in an easily understandable and organized 
                format immediately following the certification 
                of their election results.
          When the various representatives to the HR HUB 
        convene, representatives of the Majority and Minority 
        of the Committee on House Administration must also be 
        present to serve as advocates for MCL office staff. 
        Additionally, the House Committee on Ethics should be 
        consulted as appropriate to ensure staff benefits and 
        best practices are abiding by Ethics rules. The Deputy 
        HR Director for Congressional Staff will also deputize 
        or hire a Deputy Director of Staff Outreach and 
        Marketing responsible for advertising services 
        effectively and creating a more outward facing HR HUB. 
        Finally, the Committee on House Administration will 
        evaluate the effectiveness of the HR HUB no later than 
        three years after its establishment.
          (2) Recommendation: Make permanent the Office of 
        Diversity and Inclusion.
          Specifically . . . In the rules package for the One 
        Hundred Sixteenth Congress (H. Res. 6), the House 
        established the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, 
        however, the Office is only authorized to operate for 
        this Congress alone. Making the Office permanent will 
        enable Congress to better recruit and retain a diverse 
        workforce. Additionally, when the Office is made 
        permanent a representative must also serve on the HR 
        HUB established in the first recommendation included in 
        this report. The Committee on House Administration must 
        evaluate the progress and mission of the Office at the 
        end of the One Hundred and Sixteenth Congress, and no 
        later than three years after it is made permanent.
          (3) Recommendation: Examine the viability of updating 
        the staff payroll system with the goal of transitioning 
        from monthly to semimonthly pay.
          Specifically . . . A review of the costs and 
        logistics of changing the House payroll system from a 
        monthly to semimonthly schedule must be conducted by 
        the CAO. Following the review, the House should align 
        with the rest of the federal government's payroll 
        practices and bring financial relief to junior staff.
          (4) Recommendation: Raise the cap on the number of 
        permanent staff and additional staff allowed to work in 
        Member offices.
          Specifically . . . The current cap of 18 permanent 
        staffers and four additional staffers will increase to 
        22 permanent staffers and six additional staffers. The 
        current caps have been in place since 1975. Raising 
        these caps will give Members more flexibility in 
        meeting their staffing needs.
          (5) Recommendation: Regularly survey staff on ways to 
        improve pay, benefits, and quality of life.
          Specifically . . . Congress must routinely collect 
        this information in order to make data-based decisions 
        to improve staff retention and publish the aggregated 
        results of these surveys. Additionally, the new HR HUB 
        should provide an optional exit survey for staff either 
        leaving one office for another position in Congress or 
        leaving Congress altogether. While a survey was sent to 
        staff on these topics this year, regularly surveying 
        staff is needed to help improve the institution. 
        Including a section related to staff and Member surveys 
        in the rules package for each Congress would ensure 
        necessary surveys are executed.

 Overhauling the Onboarding Process and Providing Continuing Education 
                              for Members

    Going hand in hand with human resources reform, Members 
have identified a need to make onboarding a nonpartisan 
environment that also smooths the process of setting up their 
offices and spaces out training on a ``just-in-time'' basis so 
that the newly elected are not overwhelmed with more 
information than they can retain. Furthermore, returning 
Members should have continuing education to learn and/or 
refresh their training.
          (6) Recommendation: Through the Office of the Clerk, 
        newly-elected Members should have the option to hire 
        and pay one transition staff member for the duration of 
        the time between when they are elected and are sworn 
          Specifically . . . Bringing the House in line with 
        Senate practice would provide a smoother transition in 
        setting up new Member offices, and encourage staff 
        retention by paying transition staff for the period 
        between Election Day and Members' swearing-in. 
        Consideration should be given to hiring staff in the 
        Clerk's office in a consultant or contractor role.
          (7) Recommendation: Orientation courses and services 
        should be available to all new Members (including those 
        incoming from a special election) and presented in a 
        nonpartisan way.
          Specifically . . . The information should be video-
        recorded and made easily accessible year-round in an 
        electronic format. This allows Members who miss 
        orientation courses to access them at their 
          (8) Recommendation: Orientation should be reimagined 
        and reorganized to offer a ``just-in-time'' approach 
        where appropriate.
          Specifically . . . A ``just-in-time'' approach allows 
        for comprehensive training over time, rather than a 
        congressional information overload in a Members' first 
        weeks in office. The process should be methodical and 
        spread out over time and continued well into Members' 
        first term.
          (9) Recommendation: Offer a course in the new Member 
        orientation and ongoing education portal to instruct 
        Members on the House Rules of Decorum and Debate, and 
        other practices to promote civility and respect.
          Specifically . . . New Member orientation should 
        promote relationship building across the aisle in order 
        to establish a more civil tone in Congress.
          (10) Recommendation: Create a pilot Congressional 
        Leadership Academy for Members which offers 
        professional development and institutional training.
          Specifically . . . Alongside in-person training 
        opportunities, HouseNet should provide one-click access 
        to seminars on the legislative process and procedural 
        matters, such as how to chair a hearing, the budget and 
        appropriations process, and rules of the House and 
        committee procedures, and on professional development 
        topics like managing an office and developing better 
        negotiation and bargaining skills.
          (11) Recommendation: Make cybersecurity training 
        mandatory for Members.
          Specifically . . . Advanced cyber-hygiene training 
        and use of encrypted messaging and multi-factor 
        authentication should be basic standards for both 
        Members and staff. Cybersecurity training for Members 
        should include training in cell phone security as well 
        as guidance for traveling abroad.

             Modernizing and Revitalizing House Technology

    Modernize House technology resources to keep the 
institution on the cutting edge and emphasize quality IT 
services to reduce reliance on outside vendors, improve 
constituent engagement, leverage bulk purchasing power and save 
taxpayer dollars.
          (12) Recommendation: Reestablish an improved Office 
        of Technology Assessment (OTA) to study and recommend 
        emerging technologies, provide nonpartisan information 
        and policy analysis to Member offices, support 
        legislative branch agencies in their examination of new 
        technologies, focus on general oversight and policy, 
        and facilitate peer reviews of potential new 
          Specifically . . . The new OTA should be renamed the 
        Congressional Technology and Innovation Lab and is 
        intended to keep the House on the cutting edge of 
        technology and should be structured in a way that 
        maintains fresh and diverse perspectives among its 
        staff. Experts, visiting professors, and graduate 
        students from premiere companies, national labs, and 
        institutions across the nation would be given the 
        opportunity to rotate in and out. This would provide 
        fresh, invigorated analysis and advice from an outside 
        perspective, versus relying on long-time permanent 
        staff that become part of the institution and do not 
        have an opportunity for immersion in the outside tech 
        community. While the Lab will be studying and testing 
        new technologies, the CAO and HIR are responsible for 
        sharing those tested technologies with Member, 
        committee, and leadership offices.
          (13) Recommendation: Reform House Information 
        Resources (HIR) by partnering with outside entities to 
        develop a roadmap for addressing the root cause of 
        HIR's systemic inability to deliver enterprise programs 
        and IT services in a timely manner that satisfies 
        Member office needs.
          Specifically . . . The House should partner with GAO, 
        the new OTA, 18F, USDS, and other outside entities to 
        develop this roadmap with the goal of significantly 
        raising the quality of services offered, such as IT 
        support and website design, so that Member offices are 
        less inclined to immediately hire outside vendors for 
        services that the House already provides. This will be 
        achieved by a strategic realignment of the current HIR 
        office and mission that will stem from partnering with 
        the above agencies and outside groups. Many of these 
        services are available at no charge to Member offices, 
        and this would eliminate the all-too-common practice of 
        double-spending on IT services across the House 
        reducing duplicative spending. An entity outside of the 
        House should be contracted to review the current 
        operations of HIR and provide a roadmap to successful 
    Further recommendations for reforming HIR:
          (14) Recommendation: Require HIR to, as soon as 
        practicably possible, allow the following:
                  a. Video calls from Member and staff mobile 
                devices or computers (for example, use 
                applications such as Facetime or Skype).
                  b. In conjunction with the Clerk's office, 
                allow secure e-signatures for letters, bills 
                and constituent consent forms;
                  c. Set up a VPN on any device and develop 
                relevant security guidelines;
                  d. Constituents to upload casework and 
                requests digitally through a Member's website.
          Specifically . . . These four simple changes 
        streamline every day Member office and constituent 
        engagement functions and responsibilities. 
        Additionally, HIR will work with the Clerk on the 
        development of the platform for facilitating e-
        signatures and the rules of the House should be changed 
        to allow for e-signatures on letters and bills.
          (15) Recommendation: Require HIR to create an 
        approval process for outside vendors developing new 
        technologies that is transparent, scheduled and timely.
          Specifically . . . HIR should be more inviting to 
        vendors who seek to offer innovative technology to the 
        House and prevent a bureaucratic and confusing process 
        that causes long, costly delays that turn vendors away.
          (16) Recommendation: HIR should create a program that 
        allows Member offices to opt-in to beta test new 
          Specifically . . . Member offices that wish to beta 
        test new technologies should be able to easily identify 
        and sign up for opportunities to do so. Member offices 
        should also be responsible for risk of technology and 
        not jeopardize the House enterprise.
          (17) Recommendation: Creating one point of contact 
        for each Member office within HIR who would be 
        responsible for all technology points of contact, 
        including technology, telecom, web, district office 
        technologies, etc.
          Specifically . . . This point of contact will either 
        have a role similar to the CAO Customer Advocates or 
        fall under their responsibilities as they serve as 
        points of contact for Member offices. The HIR Customer 
        Advocates would be responsible for all Member office 
        technological needs.
          (18) Recommendation: Create a customer satisfaction 
        portal on HouseNet that allows Members and staff to 
        rate and review outside vendors and HIR services.
          Specifically . . . Improve the HIR customer service 
        experience by (1) requiring the House Committee on 
        Administration to develop a way for staff to review the 
        services they receive from HIR; (2) requesting a formal 
        annual survey to measure staff satisfaction with HIR in 
        order to increase HIR accountability and to hold HIR to 
        a high-quality baseline; (3) requesting a formal annual 
        survey geared toward district-level staff and district-
        specific technology concerns; and, (4) requesting a 
        survey of what technologies Members and staff would 
        like to use but that HIR has not or will not approve.
          (19) Recommendation: The CAO should leverage the bulk 
        purchasing power of the House and provide a standard 
        suite of quality, up-to-date devices and software, such 
        as desktop and laptop computers, tablets, printers, 
        mobile phones and desk phones at no cost to the 
        Members' Representational Allowance (MRA).
          Specifically . . . This removes commodity technology 
        costs out of the MRA, without reducing the MRA budget, 
        and reduces the amount of one-time purchases, thereby 
        saving taxpayer dollars. Members should still be able 
        to use their MRA to purchase technology if they wish to 
        acquire a unique or above-standard device. The CAO must 
        also distinguish and respond to the unique needs of new 
        Members of Congress as well as ongoing operations for 
        existing Members. For the purposes of this report, 
        ``commodity technology'' is defined as a standard 
        offering to each office of what technologies will be 
        provided (for example, equipment, hardware, software, 
        websites, and IT/Telecom support).
          (20) Recommendation: The Congressional Research 
        Service (CRS) should prioritize a ``rapid response'' 
        program for nonpartisan fact sheets on key issues and 
        legislation under consideration in Congress.
          Specifically . . . This should be a major element of 
        the overall mission at CRS. The intent is to allow 
        Members to quickly and easily provide quality, 
        nonpartisan and factual information to constituents. 
        This may also aid in elevating and improving debate in 
        the House.
          (21) Recommendation: Develop a nonpartisan 
        constituent engagement and services best practices page 
        on HouseNet.
          Specifically . . . This will serve as an organized 
        portal for HIR, outside vendors, and Member offices to 
        showcase opportunities and how-to guides for the full 
        range of methods for conducting constituent outreach, 
        from digital communications to in-person events.

              Making the House Accessible to All Americans

    Proceedings and functions of the House, including all those 
online, must be accessible to Americans with disabilities.
          (22) Recommendation: Scan and analyze all House 
        websites and apps to determine the accessibility level 
        of each congressional website, and provide resources 
        and assistance to ensure all systems are compatible 
        with common programs used by major disability groups.
          Specifically . . . The CAO and HIR should execute 
        this scan and develop a plan to promptly maximize 
        website accessibility. Many congressional websites are 
        not accessible to persons with disabilities, which 
        limits access to Members and to all the information 
        available on Member websites including job and 
        internship applications.
          (23) Recommendation: Require all House proceedings 
        that are broadcast on TV or streamed on the internet to 
        provide closed caption services, and provide a free 
        captioning service for all web videos created by MCL 
          Specifically . . . Direct the CAO to purchase closed 
        caption service and provide it to all major events from 
        MCL offices. Persons with disabilities often must alert 
        someone at least four days in advance of a hearing or 
        markup in order to attend. The burden of accessibility 
        should not be placed on the individual. Automatically 
        providing closed caption hearing and captions for web 
        videos should be the default.
          (24) Recommendation: Require a comprehensive review 
        of the Capitol grounds to determine accessibility 
        challenges for individuals with disabilities conducted 
        by the Architect of the Capitol, Sergeant at Arms, and 
        the Office of Congressional Workplace Rights and 
        implement a remediation plan.
          Specifically . . . The Architect of the Capitol, 
        Sergeant at Arms, and the Office of Congressional 
        Workplace Rights should ensure that persons with 
        disabilities are able to easily access the Capitol 
        grounds. A comprehensive review is a first-step toward 
        determining areas that are not currently accessible in 
        order to develop a plan for making accessibility 



    On July 25, 2019, the Select Committee held a Business 
Meeting, a quorum being present, and reported favorably the 
recommendations herein contained in this report.


    In compliance with clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, there were no recorded votes 
taken on these recommendations. The recommendations herein 
contained in this report were adopted by voice vote, two-thirds 
being in the affirmative. A motion by Chair Derek Kilmer of 
Washington to report these recommendations to the House of 
Representatives was adopted by voice vote, two-thirds being in 
the affirmative.