GOP weighs changes in how the House runs
By: Susan Ferrechio 11/24/10 9:05 PM
Chief Congressional Correspondent
While Republican leaders spent the last three weeks preparing an agenda for their Jan. 5 takeover of the House, a separate group of about two dozen GOP lawmakers have been scrutinizing the day-to-day operation of the House and are planning potentially significant changes aimed at cutting costs and improving efficiency, including a longer work week.
The House Republican transition team, headed by Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., held a conference call Tuesday to discuss the potential changes and review responses to a survey, sent to all members earlier this month, that asked lawmakers and staff to rate their satisfaction with everything from the House information technology office to whether the House "modular furniture program has been a success."
The transition team also held two days of listening sessions with current and incoming members and on Tuesday discussed "suggestions that particularly resonated," according to a GOP aide.
Walden signaled that the GOP is considering reducing the size and jurisdiction of the 23 House permanent and select committees and examining whether it makes more sense for lawmakers to have a longer work week in Washington, instead of spending fewer than three days at the Capitol each week as they do now. Walden's team will also examine whether the House spends too much time debating seemingly superfluous measures like those renaming post offices and congratulating sports teams.
Walden told reporters he is looking for ways to cut the House's operating costs, which could place programs created under current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on the chopping block, including her four-year-long effort to make the Capitol more environmentally friendly.
"When you're borrowing 43 cents or 41 cents on every dollar, we're going to have to find savings," Walden said earlier this month.