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Fixing the House means more staff pay and member budget sway, panel concludes

Its nickname has been the Fix Congress Committee, an unusually bipartisan effort by House members to make their workplace a bit more functional. On Thursday it wrapped up work by endorsing 40 more ideas — including on such politically dicey topics as Capitol Hill's spending on itself and lawmakers steering federal spending toward home.

The panel has been something of a pet project for good-government groups inside the Beltway, who engineered its creation two years ago, pelted it with ideas and prodded it toward consensus.

For these democracy reform advocates, the formula for quelling Washington gridlock and poisoned partisanship includes boosting a legislative branch that's fallen way behind in balance-of-power struggles — and that won't happen until Capitol Hill is a place where politicians and their aides actually want to work for more than a few years and have realistic hope of getting something done.

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Rep. James Clyburn, along with other Democrats on the House subcommittee, led an investigation into election preparedness in four states.

Hill Democrats focus voting concerns on four big battlegrounds

Congressional Democrats this week moved to focus heightened concern about election preparedness on four of the biggest battlegrounds: Texas, Florida, Georgia and Wisconsin.

The majority of a special House committee, created this spring to oversee the government's response to the coronavirus pandemic, issued a report Wednesday focusing their apprehension on the limits of mail-in voting, poll worker shortages and safety of polling places in those states — with a combined 93 electoral votes central to the campaign strategies of both President Trump and Joe Biden.

The report by the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, which no Republicans signed, urged the states to spend quickly and generously to fix the problems — something they are unlikely to be able to do without a cash infusion from Congress itself, which looks less likely every day.

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Jim Risch pose with interns after a July hearing. It is essential internships — even remote positions — remain available, according to Harris and Bhatia.

How to keep internships vital to a functioning Congress during Covid

Harris, a former congressional intern and aide, is CEO of Popvox Inc., an information and resources platform for civic engagement and legislating. Bhatia is a legislative correspondent for Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts and founder of the Modernization Staff Association.
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The postmaster general being sworn in before he testified at a virtual Senate hearing.

Election mail will be delivered 'fully and on time,' DeJoy vows

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy promised on Friday that the Postal Service would fulfill its "sacred duty" to deliver election mail this fall and said he was "extremely highly confident" that even mail-in ballots sent close to Election Day would be delivered on time.

In the first of his two appearances before Congress this month, the embattled postmaster sought to tamp down public outcry over cutbacks and to rebut allegations by Democrats and voting rights groups that he's collaborating with President Trump in an extraordinary effort to undermine the integrity of the election.

DeJoy, a major Trump donor who became the nation's top postal official 10 weeks ago, testified to a Republican-majority Senate committee that he is not working on behalf of the White House. And "the insinuation is quite frankly outrageous," he declared, that he is out to ruin the central exercise of American democracy with policy changes rendering impossible the timely delivery and return of an unprecedented tens of millions of absentee ballots sure to be cast because of the pandemic.

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