Congress Needs More and Better-Paid Staff

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Media Outlet: Roll Call

Lee Drutman wrote for Roll Call about the need for Congress to pay their staff better:

Recently, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, announced a new project to re-invigorate the first branch of government. “The premise of the Article I Project is simple,” he explained in a statement. “The federal government is broken, and congressional weakness is to blame.”

Lee is among a growing number of conservatives who have come to see congressional dysfunction is a problem of Congress’s own making, and who wants to do something about it. Yet, for all the growing interest in “restoring congressional power,” there’s something fundamentally missing from these plans – the capacity to actually do it.

Congress relies on staff. And yet, over the last several decades, and particularly the last few years, Congress has steadily disinvested in staff. More than ever, congressional offices lack experienced people who have the institutional knowledge and policy know-how to do much more than react and play defense.

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Author:

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).