USINDO’s Second Legislative Partnership Program “LPP” Enhances DPR Staff Capacity in Economics, Finance, Banking, Trade, and Legislative Process
USINDO announces the successful completion of its second “Legislative Partnership Program ” (LPP) November 2016. LPP is USINDO’s initiative to strengthen the legislative-to-legislative dimension of the US-Indonesia Strategic Partnership. It was conducted in cooperation with the U.S. House Democracy Partnership (HDP), the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC), and the Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR),
USINDO, together with the US Embassy Jakarta and partner NGOs, competitively selected eight top Indonesian parliamentary staff members to come to Washington to enhance their skills in the substantive issues of economics, finance, banking, and trade, as well as in legislative drafting, research, and Congressional processes.
The Indonesian participants learned practical knowledge and insights directly from their U.S. counterparts. Topics included U.S. Congressional Committee functioning, how professional staff assists the Members using the Congressional Research Service, the Congressional Budget Office, and the General Accountability Office, and how the U.S. system engages stakeholders for inclusive policy-making. Methods included lectures, interactive discussions, workshops with assignments, and direct observation of committee hearings and floor proceedings.
The program exposed participants to the importance of coordination and communication between committee, personal, and support system staff in enhancing the quality of Congressional work. The program imparted the importance of professionalism, transparency, accountability, effectiveness and a systematic process, while maintaining flexibility needed to achieve the intended objectives.
In addition to learning U.S. legislative processes, the participants gained substantive knowledge on finance, fiscal and monetary, trade and banking issues such as the U.S. budget deficit, TPP, Dodd-Frank Act, and U.S. financial reform policy. As the program took place a week after the U.S. Presidential election, the participants gained impressions of the election and its implications as seen by the U.S. Congress.
The participants were privileged to gain invaluable insight on the role of members and staff through an interactive discussion with Representative David Price, Ranking Member of the House Democracy Partnership and Member of the Appropriations Committee. Congressman Price stressed the value of strengthening the legislative partnership between the U.S. and Indonesia, and his high regard for the role of legislative support staff. He said as a former Congressional political staffer himself, he recognizes the unique set of skills that staff bring to enhance Representatives’ knowledge, helping the members make their final decisions.
To stretch and apply their learning from Capitol Hill, USINDO organized a workshop day for the participants. Experienced practitioners from the government and non-government sectors shared practical skills, including how to effectively write memos, briefing papers and other products for a legislative clientele, how to inform parliament members on topical issues related to trade, finance and banking, how to effectively conduct advocacy and lobbying, and strategies for engaging with the media, private sector, and NGOs.
This was capped with a practical work assignment requiring the participants to draw on their experience and information acquired on substantive topics and support resources, and apply it to the context of their work in Indonesia. They wrote sample briefing papers for their committees in their areas of interest, and presented them orally to the group for comment.
This LPP also provided three broader outcomes:
(1) American presenters learned more about Indonesia and had the chance to compare and reflect on their own legislation;
(2) The program raised awareness on the Hill about Indonesia and its different legislative system.
(3) Participants developed contacts with Members and Staffers of the U.S. Congress from both parties, U.S. and Indonesian Executive Branch officials, and NGOs and CSOs, which may lead to further collaboration and cooperation in the future.
The participants are anticipating to continue in Jakarta to work on more specific issues on policy research, legislative drafting, budget analysis, and institution building.
For more photos of the “Legislative Partnership Program,” please click here.