Are underqualified Congressional staff impeding oversight, wasting agencies’ time?
“This lack of internal capacity empowers lobbyists since they are who the staff turn to for policy expertise,” wrote the five signatories: Lee Drutman, senior fellow in New America’s political reform program; Meredith McGehee, policy director of the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center; Kevin Kosar, senior fellow and governance project director at the libertarian R Street Institute; Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution; and Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute.
“Congress has been doing government on the cheap for decades. And we get what we pay for,” the letter said. By failing to address the staffing and salary issues, “Congress has dangerously undermined its ability to be a check and a balance on the executive branch,” the letter stated. “Many members of Congress spend considerable time complaining about the expanding power of the executive branch. But without adequate capacity to perform comprehensive oversight, current Republican frustration over executive branch activity has largely been constrained to a handful of high-profile theatrics.”