U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor

SHELTON — U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, is the new chairman Select Committee of the Modernization of Congress, which he said is intended to make congress work better.

Kilmer talked about the newfound committee’s purposes in an interview with Jeff Slakey’s Daybreak show on iFIBER One News Radio KMAS.

The Select Committee was created in a package of House rules changes that was spearheaded by U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass. Kilmer and members of the New Democrat Coalition, a group Kilmer chairs, worked closely with McGovern to comment on the final House rules package that created the Select Committee.

The House rules package includes the following changes for which Kilmer and the New Democrat Coalition advocated

• Require bills that go through the Rules Committee to have a hearing and a markup before they go to the floor. 

• Require committees to hold a Member Day hearing, where all Members—regardless of their tenure or position—are provided the opportunity to publicly present their legislative ideas and proposals in an open hearing.

• Establish a bipartisan select committee to study ways to improve and modernize the operation of Congress.

Require bill text to be available for 72 hours before the bill can proceed to the House Floor for a vote. This will ensure Members have adequate time to read and understand legislation before casting their votes.

• Reform the motion to vacate the chair to a more thoughtful process to prevent the speaker from being held hostage by a single member.

• Allow discharge petitions to be considered under a three-day notice process similar to privileged resolutions, to facilitate their use and effectiveness, while still requiring 218 signatures.

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