Press Release ● Congress
For Immediate Release: 
July 25, 2018
Contact Info: 
Mariel Saez 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) announced today a major upgrade to DemCom—the official intranet for House Democratic staff—including a new, modern, graphical design; first-time secure access via mobile devices; significantly improved performance and search due to a largely re-written code base; and a major new content type automatically posting and organizing all “Democratic LD” emails where much of the internal policy discussions occur. DemCom has been in use by House Democratic staff for nine years and is used regularly by over 2,000 House Democratic staffers. The Democratic Whip's office has developed DemCom 4.0 based on extensive feedback and interviews with staff.  

"I'm pleased to introduce a significantly revamped DemCom to House Democratic staff as a tool that they can use to be better informed, connected, and effective in advancing the interests of their constituents," Whip Hoyer said. "DemCom serves as a model for what is possible when we use the latest web technologies to increase efficiency and promote greater transparency.  For example, much of the content that was first made available to the public through the Whip Watch app was originally published on DemCom. I will continue to work to ensure that House Democrats, Congress, and the federal government adopt the latest technologies to best serve our constituents and the American public."
 
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DemCom 4.0’s major updates include:
  • New, modern, graphical design – DemCom’s thorough redesign uses Google’s Material Design language that uses whitespace, animations, light, and shadow to consistently convey structure. The design language also ensures the site is optimized for mobile.  
  • First-time secure access via mobile devices – When using the House-provided AirWatch browser on any House-connected iOS or Android device, Democratic staff can now access the full DemCom intranet in a mobile-optimized view.
  • Automatically posting and organizing all “Democratic LD” emails – The LD email list has long been the place where substantive and timely legislative information is shared between Democratic offices. But with high staff turnover and limited House email storage, much of this valuable information is inaccessible to many of the staffers who need it. DemCom 4.0 solves this problem by automatically posting every email sent to the list, and automatically organizing each post by the authoring office and any bill that happens to be mentioned anywhere in the email.
 
  • Significantly improved performance – All DemCom 4.0 pages load much more quickly than before thanks to a thorough code re-write—moving DemCom from a monolithic website to a modern, API-first platform. This makes all the data more re-usable for other purposes, like Whip Hoyer’s Whip Watch app. The new frontend code uses a JavaScript framework for the first time, allowing it to pull from the new API and other sources—like Congress.gov and Popvox.com—on the fly.
  • Significantly improved search – Unlike previous versions, DemCom 4.0 searches are nearly instant, provide significantly more options, and yield better results. The contents of files attachments like PDFs and DOCs are searchable for the first time. The site now utilizes the industry-leading Apache Solr platform.
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Today’s updates build upon DemCom’s existing major features:
  • Bill database – Democratic staffers can go to bill pages on DemCom for any of the 10,000+ bills before Congress and find a wealth of information from inside and outside of Congress. As the primary means of organizing all information, DemCom dynamically consumes all of the bulk legislative data provided by the GPO and LOC. DemCom also supplements Congressionally-provided data with 3rd party legislative data from sites like GovTrack.us and Popvox.com, and from intra-Caucus sources like LD emails.
     
  • Weekly-updated staff directory – The DemCom staff directory includes all current Congressional staff from both parties and both chambers. The directory includes the “issue areas covered” data that shows who in each office is responsible for each legislative issue area. DemCom uses KnowWho, the same data source that most advocacy and lobby firms rely upon. The data is updated weekly from KnowWho’s calling through offices and monitoring announcements.
     
  • Dynamic calendar – The Demcom calendar pulls and aggregates data from five different sources:
    • The official House voting schedule from DemocraticWhip.gov
       
    • A comprehensive list of outside group Congressional fly-ins and conferences, compiled annually by the Democratic Whip’s office
       
    • Major Member and staff meetings that are manually added on DemCom by Leadership offices
    • All House Committee schedules from Docs.house.gov, including all hearings and markups and all event documents like lists of amendments and witnesses and prepared testimonies
       
    • A comprehensive list of all press events compiled annually by the Democratic Leader’s office, including anniversaries of major events
       
  • Resume Bank – Paired with the public portal at DemocraticWhip.gov/resumes, all Democratic staff can search, browse, and leave recommendations on any of the thousands of recently submitted resumes. Since it was originally launched in 2012, over 7,000 resumes have been submitted and there have been over 5,000 unique visits by House Democratic staff viewing the resumes on DemCom (1,600 of which have used diversity filters when viewing resumes—a significant success in our ongoing effort to increase staff diversity).
     
  • LC letter library – A space for staffers who manage the large amounts of constituent correspondence to collaborate and share information.
     
  • Many others including the Job Announcements board, archives of Floor Updates and Daily Talking Points, Annual vendor surveys, and the annual Member Online All-Star competition.
The DemCom website is only accessible to current House Democratic staff.