Americans widely believe that Congress is not working because it does not want to work. Conventional wisdom holds that the blame for any democratic dysfunction lies primarily with current occupants of Capitol Hill. Congress may not be working well because it does not currently have the capacity to work well. The Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) offers an alternative perspective in a new report, State of the Congress: Staff Perspectives on Institutional Capacity in the House and Senate. The CMF worked with VOP and other organizations to facilitate information-sharing and collaboration for positive institutional change in Congress.

In campaign ads, television shows, movies, and the news, Congress is portrayed as lavish, profligate and corrupt, but this is not the case. The reality is that most of the 541 Senators, Representatives, and Delegates in Congress are honorable, dedicated individuals trying to represent their constituents and the country as best they can. However, the processes, rules, practices, and external forces that influence our democracy have changed in ways that are making it very difficult for legislators to effectively fulfill their mission.

Download the Report (PDF)