The upside to Congress’ decentralized nature is that innovation can come from anywhere. The downside is that coordinating those innovations is hard.
Current and former Hill staffers say technology can and has solved many common problems for members of Congress, but they want to see members tap into more commercial-friendly platforms and give centralized authority to bodies like the Bulk Data Task Force, or the House Digital Service.
Stephen Dwyer, senior adviser to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), pointed to solutions such as the Dome Watch and Dome Directory mobile apps, created by the office to help members of Congress, their staff and the public better track movements on the House floor. The 13-year-old private intranet DemCom for House Democratic staff was also redesigned last year with expanded access for Senate staff, mobile functionality and a bigger database of information.