mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
When Congress Phoning It In Is a Good Thing

A bill was introduced in the House of Representatives last week to allow Congressmen to work from home via the internet. How far we’ve come from this memorable 2006 outburst from the late Senator Ted Stevens:

[yframe url=’’]

As FCW reports, a Representative is pushing Congress towards the 21st century:

Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) introduced a resolution on March 21 that would direct the House Administration Committee to “identify the best practices for conducting the business of the House of Representatives in a virtual setting.” It’s the second time Pearce has introduced such a measure.

Pearce doesn’t envision members of Congress logging in from their Capitol Hill digs to avoid a slushy walk to the office. Instead, Pearce thinks elected representatives should spend more time in their home districts, and that staffers should do the same. His measure notes that “many Congressional staffers do not spend time in the district for which they were hired to work, and are less in touch with the needs of constituents.” He wants Congress to look into the possibility of holding hearings, conducting debates, and voting using secure electronic communications.

As always, there’s a middle ground to be sought in telework’s implementation. Working remotely has too many benefits (less pollution, better quality of life, higher productivity, and economic savings to name a few) to be dismissed out of hand. And getting politicians out of Washington more frequently sounds like a good idea too. But 100 percent remote work can alienate employees and, in Congress’s case, make it even more difficult for members to work together to get things done.

All the same, it’s good to see Congress trying to harness the power of that “series of tubes” the rest of us call the internet.

Features Icon
show comments
  • John Burke

    Baloney, I say. In my experience in politics, what legislators, conspicuously House members, call constituent service, working the district, etc. is all part of their perpetual campaigning for biennial reelection. Now, at least, they have to interrupt their campaigns every so often to actually attend committee hearings and sessions of the House.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service