Together with data from the 2017 CCS, the purpose of the 2019 CCS is to create the most comprehensive study of congressional staffers’ professional backgrounds, career paths, policy views, technical knowledge, substantive expertise, and job experiences ever conducted. Legislative scholarship in recent years has begun to turn its attention to the operations and staff capacity of Congress to explain why the legislature appears to be dysfunctional regardless of which party leads either or both chambers. Political scientists, political reform advocates, and civil society organizations have invested significant resources and civic capital into improving how the national legislature functions, and our work represents the largest academic survey to date of staffers. This will shed light on how elected officials and their politically appointed staffers represent citizens’ interest and make critical policy decisions on behalf of 330 million Americans.
Moreover, in its very first week of the current 116th Congress, the United States House of Representatives created the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. The Select Committee is charged with investigating, among other items, “…policies to develop the next generation of leaders; staff recruitment, diversity, retention, and compensation and benefits; administrative efficiencies; technology and innovation.” The findings of the CCS will directly inform the bipartisan committee on how congressional staff do their jobs.