Since spring 2016, New America and the R Street Institute have toiled to “Make Congress Great Again.”
Lee Drutman, my partner in this enterprise, and I have done this by publishing many pieces on improving Congress’ functioning by strengthening its capacity. Here are just a handful of them:
Together, we have held monthly meetings of nonpartisan experts and congressional staff in the U.S. Capitol. The Legislative Branch Capacity Working Group has discussed congressional reform past and present, how the Senate moves legislation, the critical work of congressional support agencies, and more. Our website, LegBranch.com, is a virtual convening ground where researchers across America share their expertise on congressional operations, productivity, and reform.
And we’ve ginned up some fun swag along the way, like the hat you see above, along with stickers, fridge magnets, buttons, and mugs.
Why are we bothering? Well, put most simply: Congress is the most democratic of our branches of government. If our legislature is not working, then our representative democracy is not working. Additionally, as we all know, power abhors a vacuum. If the legislative branch is not driving policymaking and governance, then another less-democratic branch is. To keep our republic, we need to do all we can to strengthen Congress and ensure it can do what the Constitution and the public demands.
There is a ton of work to do — Congress is a large and complex entity, and we need all the help we can get to enact reform.
And if you want a hat, or button for that matter, let us know!