The urgent 21st century upgrades Congress needs to do its job

Kevin R Kosar
Nov 14, 2023

An organization can only do as much as its capacity permits.

Demands on Congress have been escalating for 40 years. The number of voters has gone up 45 percent since 1980, leaving the average member of the House of Representatives with 760,000 constituents to serve. The amount of federal spending recently hit $6.5 trillion dollars, and we expect Congress to oversee how all of those dollars are spent. Interest groups have proliferated, all of whom knock on Congress’s door and shower it with communications demanding attention.

Meanwhile, Congress has not significantly upgraded its capacity since the early 1970s. Today, Congress has fewer staff (10,000) than it did in 1980 (11,000). Congressional committees, which are supposed to be the engines for policymaking and oversight, also have fewer staff (3,100 in 1980 and 2,300 today)…. (Read more)

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Kevin R Kosar

Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute, Washington, DC. My books: Congress Overwhelmed (2020) and… See http://kevinrkosar.com