Rep. Gallagher Discusses Congressional Reform at Hoover Institution

June 7, 2019
Press Release

This week Rep. Mike Gallagher visited the Hoover Institution to talk about the structural problems facing Congress, and his ideas on how we can fix them. The discussion was based off the article he published in The Atlantic last November, where he posed the question, "How did an institution that was once admired around the world become so toothless?"

You can watch the full discussion above, or catch some highlights below. (Bonus content: Make sure you read why Rep. Gallagher thinks Congress is kind of like the movie Monsters Inc.)

On the problem:

"Well I see two problems. One, really for the last five decades...Congress, through a series of actions, has surrendered most of its Constitutional authority to the Executive Branch, and we’ve put most of the government on auto-pilot. But I think the less understood phenomena is that power within the increasingly powerless institution has gone from the committees and the individual members and has been tightly concentrated at the top."

On the role of Congress:

"I would say Congress is really the only body that we have at the federal level that is supposed to adjudicate disagreement. So you want Congress to be some sort of deliberative body that is debating with an eye towards arriving at legislative fixes to problems that need to be fixed...but I don't think it's doing that effectively right now."

On Congress and Monsters Inc:

"I have a niece and nephew that are 5 and 7 respectively. And I use them as an excuse to watch Pixar movies that I secretly like. And I was watching Monsters Inc. with them at one point and I had this realization that Congress was like Monsters Inc...You know, all you see is when the scary monsters are on TV trying to scare you and affect you emotionally one way, but behind the scenes, you know, its like Mike and Sully at the water cooler just talking about their job. And what you see on TV is not actually the conversations Members are having on the House and Senate floor.”

Background: Rep. Gallagher has been a leading advocate for Congressional Reform. He has introduced multiple pieces of legislation to help drain the swamp, and has been a strong voice for changing the Congressional calendar, amending the ways Congress selects committee chairs, and reforming our budget process.

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