House Democracy Partnership
In the U.S. Congress, FMC works closely with the House Democracy Partnership (HDP) to conduct legislative strengthening projects in emerging democracies. Former Members interact with legislators and senior staff of emerging democracies and engage in panels and presentations on such subjects as The Committee System or Working as Part of the Minority Party.
HDP was established in 2005 to strengthen democratic institutions by assisting parliaments in emerging democracies. 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 the Commission’s 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.
One of the objectives of HDP is to enable current and former Members of Congress, officers, and staff of the House of Representatives and Congressional support agencies to provide expert advice to members and staff of the parliaments of partner countries, including visits to the House and support agencies to observe their operations first-hand. Central to HDP’s work is the provision of technical expertise to enhance accountability, transparency, legislative independence, and government oversight in foreign parliaments.
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 Commission’s activities, Reps. David Price (D-NC) and David Dreier (R-CA) collaborated to revive and expand its mission. On March 14, 2005, the House of Representatives voted to establish the House Democracy Partnership with a mandate to work with emerging democracies throughout the world (H. Res. 135).
During its first two years, the Commission has worked with partner legislatures in 12 countries: Afghanistan, Colombia, East Timor, Georgia, Haiti, Indonesia, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Macedonia, Mongolia, and Ukraine.
The Commission was unanimously reauthorized to continue its work in the 110th Congress on January 29, 2007 (H. Res. 24). Having begun 12 partnerships, it is now continuing its work with partner legislatures and is continually assessing additional candidates for cooperation in the future.
HDP has partnered with FMC to expand its ability to provide direct peer-to-peer assistance to its partner parliaments. Former Members travel to several of the HDP countries to engage in workshops, seminars, dialogues, training and consultations with members and staff of the partner parliaments. These projects enhance the opportunities for members and staff of parliaments and legislatures that HDP assists to learn about the work and operation of the U.S. Congress. Specific areas on which former Member delegations focus include Legislative Strengthening, Legal Reform, Constituency Representation, Administrative Oversight, and Budget Capacity.