Heard on the Hill

Congress, Working It

Want to solve congressional inaction on Capitol Hill? Maybe lawmakers should work five days a week like most Americans.

Interested in easing partisan gridlock? Try being open-minded about other ideas and allow input from both parties in the legislative process. And how can members educate their constituents about what’s going on in Washington? Well, they could begin by educating their constituents about what’s going on in Washington.

These are just some of the suggestions congressional scholar Donald Wolfensberger makes in his 27-page report, “Getting Back to Legislation: Reflections of a Congressional Working Group.”

“The problem runs much deeper than partisan divisions. There are clearly cultural changes that have taken place that have profoundly affected how the institution operates,” Wolfensberger, a contributing writer for Roll Call, writes, synthesizing the conclusions of the several dozen Capitol Hill veterans on his panel.

Of course, it might take members of Congress less time to watch an episode of “Sesame Street” for valuable guidance on how to play well with others than read a lengthy tome.

But for those who would eschew federal funding for public television programming, Wolfensberger’s research provides one unsubsidized window into what could be a more productive governing body.

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