FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 2, 2021
Americans Overwhelmingly Support House Modernization Committee’s Recommendations
Tonight the National Institute for Civil Discourse (NICD) announced that an overwhelming majority of Americans support the recommendations made by the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress to foster greater bipartisanship and productivity. Joined by Select Committee Chair Congressman Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Vice-Chair Congressman William Timmons (R-SC), Executive Director Keith Allred announced the results from NICD’s CommonSense American program. More than 1,200 Americans spent at least 90 minutes each reviewing a brief describing the Select Committee’s recommendations before indicating whether they support or oppose those recommendations.
“Every one of the Select Committee recommendations received more than 65% support,” Allred reported. “The vast majority received more than three-quarters support.”
Two categories of recommendations received nearly unanimous support:
- Make Congress More Effective, Efficient, and Transparent—These six specific recommendations described in Chapter 1 of the Select Committee’s 2020 Final Report received 99% support.
- Foster Bipartisanship and Civility—These 13 specific recommendations received 98% support.
Other highlights from the results:
- Changing the Congressional Calendar—97% supported the Select Committee’s recommendation to change the congressional calendar to create more workdays and less travel time. At 89% support, the specific calendar change receiving the broadest support was moving to a two-full-work-weeks-in-session, with one-full-work-week back in their districts schedule.
- Senate Modernization Work—Members of CommonSense American also supported having the Senate create a similar modernization committee by margin of 94% to 6%.
The results were announced tonight at an America’s Public Forum virtual event that was attended by over 240 guests. This Wednesday evening series features panelists with critical perspectives to share how we can depolarize and engage our differences more constructively. NICD is a co-host of America’s Public Forum with Braver Angels.
In addition to announcing the results from CommonSense American’s review of the Select Committee’s work, Allred interviewed Chair Kilmer and Vice Chair Timmons about the committee’s recommendations and how they have achieved an effective bipartisan climate within the committee. Kilmer and Timmons then responded to the CommonSense American results and took questions from the online audience.
“One of the things that excites me about this effort is that figuring out how we connect citizens and their lawmakers is part of how we fix a system where, for far too many Americans, they don’t feel a sense of efficacy and they don’t feel like anyone’s listening,” said Congressman Kilmer, addressing the many participants surveyed by CommonSense American. “I think there’s real value in this model. So I really appreciate your engagement.”
Congressman Timmons concluded the program, saying, “I can’t thank you enough for the opportunity to engage in a productive manner and talk about policy because that’s how we’re going to solve these problems. We’re not going to solve them by yelling at each other on Twitter.”
“Amidst the partisan battles, the Select Committee has been a real bright spot of practical, bipartisan problem solving,” Allred said. “We applaud Chair Kilmer’s, Vice Chair Timmons’ and the other ten committee members’ effective leadership in engaging our differences constructively to identify commonsense, bipartisan solutions.”
More than 28,000 have joined the CommonSense American program since NICD launched in January 2019. Members come from across the political spectrum—25% are Republicans, 47% are Independents, and 24% are Democrats—and from every state in the country.
About NICD, the National Institute for Civil Discourse
NICD works to build the nation’s capacity to engage our differences constructively. In 2011, the University of Arizona created NICD after the Tucson shooting that killed six people and wounded another thirteen, including former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. In the weeks prior to the shooting, Congresswoman Giffords was already in discussion with the University of Arizona about creating a center that would focus on improving the quality of discourse. The galvanizing power of that event brought together founding honorary co-chairs George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton and an impressive bipartisan group of other leaders to honor Congresswoman Giffords’ vision.
NICD offers Americans a variety of opportunities and resources to engage differences constructively at nicd.arizona.edu.
About Braver Angels
Launched in 2016, Braver Angels is a national citizens’ movement to bring liberals, conservatives and others together at the grassroots level – not to find centrist compromise, but to find one another as citizens. Through workshops, debates, and campus engagement, Braver Angels helps Americans understand each other beyond stereotypes, form community alliances, and reduce the vitriol that poisons our civic culture.
Braver Angels offers Americans opportunities to become involved in depolarizing our country at braverangels.org.