We received 45 responses to our survey on legislative branch capacity. The figures below display the aggregate responses, which came from Hill staff and close watchers of Congress.
Figure 1 shows respondents' assessment of the adequacy of various factors of congressional capacity (staffing, support agencies assistance, etc.) relative to the legislative branch's governance needs. Staff were asked to rate on a scale of 1 to 5 (1=strongly disagree; 5=strongly agree) the statements:
- Congress has the staff it needs to govern in the 21st century.
- Legislative support agencies (GAO, CRS, etc.) provide sufficient support to Congress.
- The current House and Senate legislative processes and procedures are working.
- The current House and Senate systems of committees and jurisdictions operate well.
- Congress has the information technology it needs to legislate, conduct oversight, and respond to the demands of constituents, interest groups, etc.
On no factor did respondents feel Congress was even middlingly well-equipped.
To gauge the views of the feasibility and potential effectiveness of particular reforms (e.g., improved legislative technology, committee re-structuring, etc.), survey respondents generally held that staff , support staff, and technology reforms held the best odds of delivering significant results. (Figure 2)
Finally, as Figure 3 shows, respondents ranked staffing and support agency reforms as their top interests for future discussions hosted by the Legislative Branch Capacity Working Group. That said, all topics had, on average, some interest in additional consideration by the group.
Since this working group is premised on a bottom-up approach, the topic of the next meeting will be congressional staffing. The meeting on Monday, June 20, at 12pm. Lunch will be provided, and more specific details will come shortly.