Invest in Smarter Government

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Media Outlet: Cato Institute Online Forum

Here’s what I would do with my wave of the magic wand. I would triple the amount the Congress spends on staff (keeping it still at just under 0.1% of the total federal budget). I’d also concentrate that spending in the policy committees. I’d give those committees the resources to be leading institutions for expertise on the issues on which they deal. I’d also give these committees the resources to hire their own experts — economists, lawyers, consultants, etc.12 But I’d also make sure that these committees were not explicitly partisan. Rather than Republicans and Democrats having separate committee staffs, have one committee staff of professionals and experts. Staff could be a mix of political leanings. But let them be one team, where they argue and hash out ideas together.

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Lee Drutman is a senior fellow in the program on political reform at New America. He is the author of The Business of America is Lobbying (Oxford University Press, 2015).