WASHINGTON - The Committee on House Administration held a Full Committee Hearing today titled, "Looking Ahead Series: Oversight of the Office of the Clerk." 

Witness included: 

  • Kevin F. McCumber, Acting Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives 

In case you missed it, here are the top takeaways:

1. The Clerk's Office Successfully Meets House Deadlines

Chairman Bryan Steil (WI-01): Congress time and time again seems to push right up to deadlines, not a surprise to anybodyThe institution has challenges; you have to navigate that.

You commented a little bit about the late nights. 

Could you just add a little more color about what's going on behind the scenes when legislation comes right up to that deadline? And then there's a push to get that legislation either over to the Senate, or if it's from the Senate to us, over to the White House for signature. 

What that looks like, provide a little color there.   

Mr. McCumber: There are a lot of, especially recent legislation, going right up to the deadline. So we are in regular communication with the leadership staff and committee staff, tracking the progress not only through the House Chamber but through the Senate Chamber, trying to prepare enrollments. 

The enrollment is on parchment to head down to the White House, assuming it doesn't get amended over in the Senate. And so there's just a lot of tracking involved outside of the regular day-to-day legislative processing of regular introduced bills and co-sponsors. 

Once the enrollment happens we get the papers back from the Senate that it's passed clean, the enrollment is prepared and we've sent it around for signature.  
Click the image or here to view Chairman Steil's Q&A. 

2. The Clerk's AI Use Cases are Thoroughly Tested

Rep. Stephanie Bice (OK-05): I want to talk a little about AI and data governance, which is something I know that your office has been looking into. We both agree that we need some sort of formal governance framework.

You mentioned the potential use case for AI with legislative drafting and management of some data sets. Can you share more about testing that should be taking place before the implementation of that technology?

Mr. McCumber: We would want to make sure that everything is thoroughly tested before it's introduced into the legislative process. 

Certainly we don't want any damage to be done based on any sort of tool. So, like everything, we would make sure it fits into the legislative ecosystem appropriately and has gone through vetting and testing that's necessary for it to be able to be used by everybody.

Click the image or here to view Congresswoman Bice's Q&A. 
3. New Tools Make it Easier for Members to Introduce Legislation

Rep. Barry Loudermilk (GA-11):  It's been since 2019 that the Clerk's Office has come and testified to us.

And since then, I know your team has been very busy and active on several of the Select Committee recommendations and added new tools to help Member offices upgrade systems used by the House community. 

Can you briefly just touch on some of the more significant changes that's been made to improve the legislative capacity of your office?

Mr. McCumber:  The E-Hopper has been, I think, the biggest achievement, also the biggest change to the way the legislative process works in the House. It was designed over a weekend at the start of April 2020, those of us who are used to working full time in the office five days a week, we suddenly found ourselves having to learn how to use Teams and laptops that were recently provided.

But we came up with the E-Hopper as it was originally designed to help meet the needs of Congress to ensure that bills or cosponsors could be introduced when the Members wanted them.

So I think the E-Hopper is the biggest change that we've seen and certainly is a contributor to the amount of bills that we see introduced. 
Click the image or here to view Congressman Loudermilk's full Q&A.