The nonpartisan, nonprofit Partnership for Public Service today launched the Alliance for Congress, an ambitious new initiative dedicated to helping Congress become a more effective institution by investing in its own capacity to tackle big issues facing the nation and to better serve the public good.
The Alliance will build on the Partnership’s two decades of experience working with the executive branch in support of the federal workforce and to increase collaboration, accountability, efficiency and innovation. In working with Congress, the Alliance will promote the importance of public service and stewardship, and champion common sense, nonpartisan improvements to make Congress a more capable and effective institution.
Our vision is straightforward: To help build a Congress that can more effectively listen, lead and legislate, that productively works with the executive branch to tackle big problems, that fully represents our entire diverse nation and that delivers results on the issues that matter to the American public.
We believe that to maintain a strong democracy that meets all of our needs, our government, both the Congress and the executive branch—the most powerful institutions we have to drive change—must work better.
This initiative comes at a critical time. The political parties and the country are deeply divided, public trust in Congress and government as a whole are near all-time lows, and the nation continues to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, the recession, racial inequality and the aftermath of the violent January 6 attack on the Capitol.
The symptoms of polarization and the dysfunction in the House and Senate – from politically driven oversight to late budgets to politicians who run against Congress itself – are ubiquitous. This dynamic has made it extremely difficult for members of Congress to be effective stewards of the institution in which they serve, to invest in improving its capabilities or to even celebrate its successes beyond their own individual accomplishments.
Lesser known is the dedication and commitment of people inside and outside Congress who are devoted to making it work better, and we seek to join with those individuals and organizations to strengthen this central institution of our democracy.
To begin altering the current dynamic, the Alliance for Congress will focus on three key areas of work:
The Alliance for Congress is committed to creating an environment where a diverse and high-functioning Congress can emerge, thrive and invest its own capacity, culture and effectiveness. As the Partnership has learned through its work with the executive branch, healthy public sector organizations – with good leaders and engaged employees – are essential to serving the people.
We are excited to support those working to make Congress more functional and effective. We are guided by an optimism that through productive, pragmatic and positive engagement, Congress can better listen and respond to the needs of constituents, lead on the issues that they care about and rebuild trust with the American public.
Max Stier is the president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service