WASHINGTON — The House passed a bill Tuesday that would reform the federal hiring process to include a skills-based evaluation system. According to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), H.R. 159 would improve a process she called “archaic.”

“Every hardworking taxpayer in America deserves a federal government that is built upon a solid foundation that breathes efficiency and filled by people with appropriate skills, not necessarily degrees,” Foxx said.

The bill, which passed almost unanimously, would largely ban federal agencies from reviewing resumes solely on applicants’ education levels. Instead, the bill, called the Chance to Compete Act of 2023, would require agencies to implement position-specific technical assessments. It would also create an online resource for agencies to share, rate and customize the assessments they use. 

Unlike most of the other bills brought before Congress so far this session, H.R. 159 has bipartisan support.

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) praised Foxx for introducing the bill, saying it would “expand opportunities to candidates with more diverse backgrounds.” 

In the first few weeks of the congressional session, the GOP-led House has prioritized key partisan issues, including law enforcement and abortion. Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) has promised to bring to the floor in the first two weeks  a controversial immigration bill that could grant the Department of Homeland Security authority to halt all border crossings.

However, the shift away from Republicans’ stated priorities and toward bipartisan, bureaucratic legislation demonstrate House leadership’s attempt to balance both conservative and moderate wings of the party.