The mission of the House Democracy Partnership is to promote responsive, effective government and strengthen democratic institutions by assisting legislatures in emerging democracies. Central to our work is peer-to-peer cooperation to build technical expertise in partner legislatures that will enhance accountability, transparency, legislative independence, access to information, and government oversight.
The House Democracy Partnership is the indirect successor to the Frost-Solomon Task Force, which provided assistance to the legislatures of 10 new democracies in Central and Eastern Europe from 1990-1996. Inspired by their participation in the Frost-Solomon Task Force's activities, Representatives David Dreier and David Price collaborated to revive and expand its mission. On March 14, 2005, the House of Representatives voted to establish the House Democracy Assistance Commission with a mandate to work with emerging democracies throughout the world (H. Res. 135).
The Commission works with partner legislatures in 16 countries: Afghanistan, Colombia, Georgia, Haiti, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Macedonia, Mongolia, Pakistan, Peru, and Timor-Leste.
The Commission was reauthorized to continue its work in the 113th Congress on January 3, 2013 (H. Res. 5) under the name "House Democracy Partnership."
- Budgetary Issues: House Members, staff, and Congressional Budget Office experts work with partners to improve the capacity of legislatures to scrutinize the government's budget and amend it to reflect the priorities of the legislature.
- Committee Operations: Members and staff of various House committees advise legislative committee chairmen and clerks on structuring staff and activities to ensure effective oversight, such as organizing public hearings.
- Constituent Services: House Members and staff advise Members of partner legislatures and their constituency office staff on responding to constituent inquiries and concerns and handling casework.
- Defense Oversight: Defense is among the most difficult areas for legislatures to exercise effective oversight, as expertise is often hard to acquire. House Members and staff can work with their counterparts to improve scrutiny of the government's defense plans.
- Ethics: House Members and staff, including those of the House Ethics Committee, advise their counterparts in partner legislatures on the establishment and implementation of legislative codes of ethics.
- Information Services: Congressional information technology experts advise legislative staff on the use of information technology to set up a legislative information service or other systems that disseminate information about the legislature's work and improve legislators' access to information.
- Legislative Procedure: Members and staff from the House Rules Committee, legislative counsel, House Parliamentarian's office and Congressional Research Service advise Members and staff of partner legislatures on bill drafting and parliamentary procedure.
- Libraries and Research Services: Library and research specialists from the Congressional Research Service and Library of Congress collaborate in establishing and improving legislative libraries and research services.
- Material Assistance: The Commission's limited budget for discrete material assistance has been used for projects such as the establishment of a legislative library for the Constituent Assembly of East Timor and the development of an IT server for the Macedonian Assembly.
- Specialized Legislation and Oversight: House Members and staff with specific expertise can assist Members and staff of partner legislatures in drafting and amending specialized legislation, such as HIV/AIDS programs or a package of laws to counter terrorism, or in oversight of key ministries, such as an oil ministry.