Many contemporary and urgent issues require nuance, deliberative analysis and expert judgment. Unfortunately, in many policy contexts, the U.S. Congress appears to lack adequate organizational capacity for these purposes due to its antiquated systems of referral, sorting, communicating and convening. These system-wide obstacles, combined with reduced staffing, has created a branch of government that struggles to make policy on complex issues, especially those with global and technological implications. This event is the first of our Smart Congress exploratory panels. It will provide an overview of the “noise problem” on Capitol Hill and look at how information sharing might be modernized to enhance the policy-making processes in Congress.
Keeping with the institutional theme of this panel, here are the questions that our guests will address:
How is the institution experiencing today's communications revolution?
What are some pathways forward? Is your organization looking at ways to help Congress update and modernize the way it hears the outside world?
Can you think of any specific issue examples that demonstrate the ways technology is impacting policymaking processes? In your expert judgment, does this make the outcome better?
Currently, personal staffs get most of the heated sentiment from the public, whereas committees often receive expert information from a narrow set of stakeholders. Should Congress create a more symmetrical information environment so that expert knowledge is more widely distributed? What should suppliers of expert knowledge, such as universities, and experts outside of DC do?