Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress

House Report | Background Information

As the 102nd Congress was drawing to a close in 1992, the House and Senate overwhelmingly adopted H.Con.Res. 192, which established the Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress.

The Joint Committee began its work in 1993. It consisted of 28 members, 14 from each chamber equally divided between Republicans and Democrats. Congressman Lee Hamilton (D-IN) and Senator David Boren (D-OK served as co-chairmen. Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) and Congressman David Dreier (R-CA) served as the co-vice chairmen. The committee's mandate was to study the operations of Congress and to provide recommendations for reform no later than December 31, 1993.

It had been 47 years since the Congress undertook its first comprehensive and bipartisan examination of the institution which led to significant reforms. Over the first six months of 1993, the Joint Committee held 36 hearings and took testimony from 243 witnesses -- including 133 House Members, 37 Senators, 14 former Members, 15 current and former staff members, and 44 outside witnesses, including Ross Perot and Vice President Walter Mondale. The Committee organized symposia, conducted surveys, contracted outside studies, and consulted with anybody who had anything to say about how to reform Congress.

In the end, the Joint Committee compiled the largest information data base ever assembled on the problems with the institution and options for reforming the Congress. Many of the proposals discussed in the Joint Committee became the basis for the sweeping reforms enacted by the House on January 4, 1995.

However technically challenging the endeavor may be, a number of the studies and reports that were published by the Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress will be made available on this site in the coming months.