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Soren Dayton and Anthony Marcum arugue, "Members of the Rules Committee have taken the important first step of setting the model for other members and committees."

Some good news from the Hill: Congress is standing up for itself, together

Dayton is a former House GOP aide and a policy advocate at Protect Democracy, a nonprofit that works "to prevent our democracy from declining into a more authoritarian form of government." Marcum is a governance fellow at the R Street Institute, a pro-free-market public policy research organization.

It is rare these days that people have happy news to share in the nation's capital. But we are here to do just that.

Last week, the House Rules Committee held an extraordinary hearing on ways Congress could reassert authorities it has long ceded to the executive branch. It was extraordinary for its form, its substance and its energy. (And yes, we're still talking about a Rules Committee hearing.)

First, the form. The hearing used principles that were first developed by the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. Established just last year, part of the purpose of this rarely discussed Modernization Committee is to "help Congress help itself" with new processes that make it more effective and less polarized.

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