About the National Archives

Welcome Remarks for "Can Congress Reform Itself Again?"

Greetings from the National Archives’ flagship building in Washington, DC, which sits on the ancestral lands of the Nacotchtank peoples. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and it's my pleasure to welcome you to today’s program, which asks the question, “Can Congress Reform Itself Again?”

This is our 13th year as a partner with the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress. We are proud of our annual collaboration with the Association.  

Before we begin, though, I’d like to tell you about two upcoming programs you can view on our YouTube channel.

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On Tuesday, June 15, at noon, historian Michael Burlingame will be here to talk about his new book, An American Marriage. Based on 30 years of research, Burlingame describes and analyzes the marriage between Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd.

And in the evening on June 15, at 6:30 p.m., Scott Borchert, author of Republic of Detours, will discuss the story of the Federal Writers’ Project during the Great Depression.

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Today’s panel, made up of former and current Members of Congress, will explore the question of how Congress governs itself as an institution. At different points in its history, Congress has questioned its processes and made changes to respond to changing times.

The Center for Legislative Archives in the National Archives preserves the historical records of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Within those pages are stories of legislative struggles, compromises, and routines.

The committee records that detail the rich history of the legislative process make our holdings unique. Through them we can see the daily work of House and Senate committees and subcommittees.

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Today’s moderator is Dr. Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress. She will guide the conversation among our panelists. They are:

Derek Kilmer, Congressman from the State of Washington, and Chairman of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress;

Will Timmons, Congressman from the state of South Carolina, and Vice Chairman of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress;

Former member of Congress from the state of Michigan, James Blanchard; and

Former Member of Congress from the state of Pennsylvania, Bob Walker.


Now let’s hear from Carla Hayden and our panelists. Thank you for joining us today.