Good Government Panel Scores Victory On Constituent Communications

January 7, 2020 by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON – New updates to the official House communications rules and procedures include several improvements endorsed by the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress last month.

The updates, which went into effect on Tuesday, include:

  • Name Change – The House Commission on Congressional Mailing Standards (also known as the Franking Commission) has taken steps to change its name to the House Communications Standards Commission.
  • Rules Regulations governing franked mail and other communications content have been consolidated and simplified.
  • Approval Procedures – Requirements for Advisory Opinions have been updated to streamline the approval process.
  • Transparency – All Advisory Opinions will be available online for public review on the Clerk of the House’s Public Disclosure website.

“Since this committee began, we have committed to not only passing recommendations to make Congress work better for the American people, but to actually see those recommendations implemented,” said Reps. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., and Tom Graves, R-Ga., co-chairs of the Select Committee, in a joint statement.

“We are grateful to our colleagues with the Committee on House Administration for working with us to craft improvements that will make a real difference in the way we connect and communicate,” they said.

The Select Committee worked closely with the Committee on House Administration and the House Commission on Mailing Standards to craft recommendations that would allow for 21st Century updates to the way Members of Congress communicate with their constituents.

“I applaud Chairwoman Susan Davis and Ranking Member Bryan Steil for their efforts in updating and streamlining the rules by which members communicate with their constituents,” said Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., Chair of the Committee on House Administration.

“It has been two decades since these rules were substantively updated, and since that time they have become woefully inadequate in today’s fast-paced digital environment,” Lofgren continued.

“These new rules will enable members to communicate with constituents more quickly, allow members to write in the manner they actually speak, and importantly, will considerably increase public access and transparency through greater disclosure of official communications.”

Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill, ranking member of the Committee on House Administration, said his goal since joining the committee “has been to make the House work better for members, so they can more effectively represent their districts.

“A key component of that effort is ensuring effective communication between Members of Congress and their constituents,” he said.

Last fall, the Select Committee held a hearing to examine the history of the congressional frank, how it’s been regulated and reformed over the last few decades, and opportunities for continued reform in the U.S. House.

Since 1775 the franking privilege has allowed members of Congress to send official mail to constituents, and the frank is highly regulated by law. But with constant changes to how people communicate with one another, there is often a need to reevaluate the rules and procedures governing congressional communication.

In The News

Health

Voting

Congress

Biden Wants Infrastructure Deal, But GOP Doubts Persist
Congress
Biden Wants Infrastructure Deal, But GOP Doubts Persist

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden wants Congress to know he's sincere about cutting a deal on infrastructure, but Republican lawmakers have deep-seated doubts about the scope of his proposed package, its tax hikes and Biden's premise that this is an inflection point for the U.S.... Read More

House Ethics Panel to Investigate Gaetz
Congress
House Ethics Panel to Investigate Gaetz
April 9, 2021
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The House Ethics Committee has opened an investigation into the recent flood of allegations against Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., including that he broke sex trafficking laws, shared graphic images of women with lawmakers on the House floor, and misused campaign funds. In a brief... Read More

Biden Unveils $1.52 Trillion Budget Proposal
White House
Biden Unveils $1.52 Trillion Budget Proposal
April 9, 2021
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - President Joe Biden unveiled a $1.5 trillion budget proposal for the 2022 fiscal year, that among other things, includes a 16% increase in non-defense spending. In his first budget proposal as president, Biden is asking Congress for $753 billion for the Defense Department and... Read More

Alcee Hastings Dies of Cancer at 84
Congress
Alcee Hastings Dies of Cancer at 84
April 6, 2021
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - Rep. Alcee Hastings, the dean of Florida’s congressional delegation, died Tuesday after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 84. Hastings announced his cancer diagnosis just over two years ago, but he continued to press on with his work until near the very end... Read More

Biden's Big Infrastructure Plan Hits McConnell, GOP Blockade
Infrastructure
Biden's Big Infrastructure Plan Hits McConnell, GOP Blockade

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans in Congress are making the politically brazen bet that it's more advantageous to oppose President Joe Biden's ambitious rebuild America agenda  than to lend support for the costly $2.3 trillion undertaking for roads, bridges and other infrastructure investments. Much the way Republicans... Read More

Goldmine of New Resources for Railroads
Transportation
Goldmine of New Resources for Railroads
April 5, 2021
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Virginia’s plan for a $3.7 billion passenger rail expansion was revolutionary on Tuesday when the governor announced it but later in the week looked like the tip of the iceberg. The next day, President Joe Biden presented his plan for $2.2 trillion in infrastructure improvements,... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top