In the short time since its founding, the National Institute for Civil Discourse has made significant progress in outreach toward changing the way Congress does business. An “off the record” meeting in March 2012 attracted current and former Members of the House of Representatives to identify areas of change to create incentives for constructive engagement and improvements to the political environment. The overwhelming consensus was the importance of shifting power back to the committee structure from party leadership.
Reps. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri) and Kay Granger (R-Texas) have agreed to co-lead a House working group, the first meeting of which was held in April of 2013. The working group will provide guidance for a series of off-site working sessions in the 113th Congress. These sessions will engage specific House Committees providing venues for bipartisan interaction while giving Committee members the chance to get to know each other better, hear common briefings and agree on a baseline of common facts.
The Institute will lead the planning and implementation of these working sessions in collaboration with:
- The Aspen Institute
- Bipartisan Policy Center
- Congressional Institute
- Congressional Management Foundation
- Harvard’s Institute of Politics
- Faith & Politics Institute
- U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress
Examples of kinds of agreements that we hope to achieve in the working sessions:
- How can Committee members work with one another?
- How can the Committee be more productive?
The Working Group is led by the following Republican and Democrat elected offiicals:
- Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK)
- Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO)
- Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL)
- Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)
- Rep. Al Green (D-TX)
- Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA)
- Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ)
- Rep. James Lankford (R-OK)
- Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN)