Grumet suggests return to regular order to rebuild trust

Jason Grumet, a political scientist and president of the Bipartisan Policy Center, recently wrote in the Ripon Forum an article on the lack of trust the American people have in their elected leaders and how that trust might be restored.

“Of late, many leading politicians are calling for a return to regular order,” Grumet said. “For the majority of Congress, regular order dictates whether they will have a meaningful role in debating and influencing legislation. For the country, regular order largely determines whether our government will be capable of solving problems.”

But what is regular order and how can restoring it make a difference in Washington?

“(It’s) Congress doing the basic work of legislating,” Grumet said. “It includes deliberating in committees, engaging with stakeholders, offering and voting on amendments and ultimately passing or rejecting legislative proposals. These cornerstones of the democratic process have not been the hallmarks of the 113th Congress.”

As Grumet explains it, the last Congress did very little work in Washington.

“Committees were largely sidelined and worst of all, the Congress hardly ever engaged in actual debate,” Grumet said. “Not surprisingly, the result was a caustic and unproductive session. In fact, the current Congress is on track to produce the least legislation in the last 60 years.”

But Grumet also believes that faith and effectiveness can be restored by following some simple rules.

“The key steps are to spend more time with colleagues, restore the authority of legislative committees, and let votes (take place),” Grumet said. “These rules and traditions are the regular order that newly elected congressional leadership has committed to restore. The good news is that both houses of Congress have expressed the desire to get the legislative process back on track. A return to the basic processes that have enabled progress despite partisanship is key to a productive 2015.”

Grumet recently published a book on the lack of productivity in Washington, D.C. The book, titled “City of Rivals: Restoring the Glorious Mess of American Democracy,” outlines the reasons behind today’s ineffective politicians.