PPI Senior Fellow Anne Kim explains how to de-polarize Congress over at Roll Call:
In the last several months, the Washington policy world has begun a necessary and constructive debate over how to “de-polarize” the nation’s politics. Scholars Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein, for example, have made a compelling case for a suite of structural improvements to the political system, including redistricting and campaign finance reform.
But while most proposals have looked to fix the political system in the big picture, another place to look to reform might be Congress’ internal workings as well. In particular, Congress should consider scrapping seniority as the basis for deciding committee chairmanships, especially in the House where individual members have much less power than in the Senate.
Aside from leadership, committee chairs are among the most powerful members of Congress. They decide the legislative agenda, broker deals over major bills and shepherd them through Congress. They wield enormous influence over their colleagues and command prodigious fundraising ability.