Accountability in Congress

Sep 1, 2017 Issues: Ways & Means

On the Ways and Means Committee, I have the opportunity to work directly on growing our economy, creating jobs, and reforming our tax code.  I am eager to continue this work, especially as we take on tax reform this fall.  At the start of this Congress, I was selected for an additional committee assignment on the Committee on House Administration (CHA), where I can help improve the operations and accountability of the House of Representatives. 

The focus of CHA is making government work for the people.  CHA’s principal functions include oversight of the daily workings of the U.S. House of Representatives as well as federal elections.  I am grateful to serve on this important panel to ensure efficient and responsible operations in the House and help preserve the integrity of our election system.

CHA ensures congressional offices have the resources they need to allow Members to pass effective legislation and interact with constituents.  At the same time, we must ensure taxpayer funds are spent wisely and judiciously, a responsibility CHA takes seriously.

In recent years, CHA has also focused on security, both physical and cyber.  The June shooting at the Republicans’ congressional baseball practice, from which Majority Whip Steve Scalise is still recovering, was a sobering reminder of how important it is to address growing safety concerns.  CHA works closely with the Capitol Police in this effort, and we are grateful to these vigilant men and women who protect the U.S. Capitol complex each day.

Cybersecurity is another major CHA initiative.  With the dangers posed by hackers and other malicious actors to organizations around the world, we must ensure Members and staff have the tools and education needed to protect the sensitive information entrusted to our offices.

In addition to House operations, CHA also oversees the Library of Congress, the House Library, the U.S. Botanic Garden, and the Smithsonian Institution.  We hold frequent hearings with representatives of these government entities to examine their management plans and ongoing needs.  By doing so, we can better determine how funding can be most efficiently utilized to protect our national treasures while ensuring these institutions remain free and open to the public.  

During our June hearing with Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, she discussed numerous ways the Library of Congress makes its resources available to schools, local libraries, and anyone interested in learning more about our country’s history.  Still, many Americans are not aware of the countless free collections the Library of Congress offers.

I encourage Nebraskans to visit LOC.gov to explore the largest library in the world.  Millions of American artifacts, including books, recordings, photographs, newspapers, maps, and manuscripts, have been preserved in the Library’s collections, and a large portion of these resources are available online. 

To Nebraskans planning a trip to Washington, D.C., I hope you will take advantage of free admission to the Library of Congress, U.S. Botanic Garden, and Smithsonian Institution.  The Smithsonian has 11 museums located right on the National Mall, with six additional museums in the D.C. area plus the National Zoo. 

If you need assistance with booking tours or information on navigating the nation’s capital, my office is here to help.  Please visit my website at AdrianSmith.house.gov to submit your travel details and request tours, or you can call my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 225-6435.

It is an honor to serve on both the Ways and Means Committee and the Committee on House Administration.  Ensuring the House of Representatives operates effectively is crucial to enacting meaningful legislation which can positively impact the lives of Americans.