The House Democracy Partnership: Stronger Legislatures for Stronger Democracies

Legislatures matter. Independent, effective legislatures are the backbone of democracy. They turn voters’ preferences into policy through legislation, provide oversight of the executive branch, and connect citizens with their government. A new report on from the House Democracy Partnership (HDP) outlines in detail how legislatures play such a key role in democracies and how HDP has supported that development.  

HDP is a bipartisan commission of the U.S. House of Representatives that partners with 22 parliaments across the world. HDP connects members and staff from the U.S. Congress with their counterparts in member and mentor legislatures. The goal is simple: to strengthen independent legislative institutions. HDP uses a peer-to-peer exchange model to share lessons and ideas that in turn strengthen legislative institutions.  

This report from the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) looks at the longer-term contribution of HDP to the strengthening of member parliaments. The report is a 15-year review of HDP’s impact – a year-long review process – the findings stem from more than 60 interviews with legislators, legislative staff, and HDP staff, reviewing survey responses from more than 100 HDP alums, and an extensive desk review of programmatic documents. The results informed what ways HDP programming is globally impactful, as well as how HDP can further refine and adjust future strategy and programming to continue to be supportive with partner legislatures in new and innovative ways.  

The report highlights the success of the Partnership in improving legislatures’ roles as advocates for constituents, writing new policies, pushing for transparency, promoting anti-corruption practices, and enhancing effective legislative processes.  

HDP focuses on legislatures, their elected members, and their staff – because they matter. A legislature is the most direct form of representation for individual citizens in a democratic system of government. HDP’s operating theory is simple: it is the people who work in legislatures who make them function, so an investment in them pays off for everyone.

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