Vic Fazio Writes for Politico on How to Save Congress

Akin Gump senior advisor and former Calif. congressman Vic Fazio has contributed an article to Politico’s ongoing series on “How to Save Congress.”  Fazio, in his article, “How to Save Congress: Bring Back the Old Bulls,” posits a return to the work ethic of an earlier time on the part of lawmakers, who, he believes, need to “to spend more time in Washington, doing the work in congressional committees that used to be the hallmark of the House and Senate.”

Fazio notes that committee work is not only the foundation for lawmaking but also the ground on which congressmen and –women can meet to establish rapport and relationships across party lines.  He recognizes that behavioral and attitudinal change needs to occur among members who “have been allowed to build a lifestyle that allows them to remain at home and do periodic ‘drop-bys’ for short stays in the Capitol.”  But, he believes, “unless Congress finds a way to re-emphasize the legislative role of a representative, the institution will continue to lose influence and power to the executive branch.”

Among the ills he identifies is the “constant governing by crisis,” an example of which is the use of continuing resolutions as “an annual way of funding the government.”  The remedy he prescribes is a recommitment the part of both parties “to resolving differences between the House and Senate in conference committees, where meetings actually occur and differences get resolved in a reasonable amount of time.”