With the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) festival wrapping up its interactive sessions this week, House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) share their take on how to make our government more “open, responsive and transparent.”
“It’s important for lawmakers to take the time to hear from innovators,” they write. “If only Congress paid more attention, these same innovations could be applied to our government to make it smaller, more efficient, more transparent, and more accessible to the people it’s supposed to serve.”
Here are some of the highlights and excerpts from their op-ed in the Dallas Morning News:
On the Need for Innovation in Policymaking
“It’s not difficult to understand why Americans think of government as old, large and clunky — or why approval ratings across the board are so low. Between the scandal at the Department of Veterans of Affairs that left 307,000 of our nation’s heroes dying while they waited for care, the Department of Health and Human Services’ massive failure in launching Healthcare.gov, and the Office of Personnel Management’s hack that left more than 22 million Americans’ personal information compromised, examples of government failure are readily available and far too common.
“But what if lawmakers could learn from the tech industry how to implement new technologies that could help make these failures far less common and shape how Congress approaches policymaking?”
The Possibilities are Endless
“America is becoming the innovation capital of the world, and it’s something we all should revel in. It’s where transformative startups, companies like Uber and Airbnb that are changing the way services are delivered everywhere, are being born by the minute. And it’s exactly this type of positive disruption that we need more of in Washington, D.C.
“Our founders conceived the most innovative system of government the world has ever seen. A government close to the people — one that is open, responsive and transparent. But that isn’t how our government operates today.
“Veterans shouldn’t have to wait for a letter in the mail to schedule a health appointment when patients in the private sector can reach a doctor the very next day by using an app you can download in seconds on your phone and access anywhere, anytime. Citizens shouldn’t have to submit paperwork to find out how their government is spending taxpayer funds; it should be available with a click of a button.”