Way to Make Congress More Efficient: Send Them All Away?

A New Mexico congressman has an idea to make the legislative branch operate more efficiently: keep them out of town.

Rep. Steve Pearce (R) introduced legislation to allow Congress to conduct business in a virtual setting.

H.Res. 137 is a bill "recognizing the security challenges of convening government officials in one specific place and directing the House of Representatives to take appropriate steps so that the House of Representatives can meet in a virtual setting."

“Thanks to modern technology, members of Congress can debate, vote, and carry out their constitutional duties without having to leave the accountability and personal contact of their congressional districts,” said Pearce. “Keeping legislators closer to the people we represent would pull back Washington's curtain and allow constituents to see and feel, first-hand, their government at work. Corporations and government agencies use remote work technology; it’s time that Congress does the same. This is the type of representation that people deserve."

His bill cites post-9/11 security concerns about an attack on the Capitol along with travel and operating costs as reasons why the Committee on House Administration should develop rules for virtual voting and debate.

“This legislation is a longstanding priority,” Pearce continued. “Elected officials should be in their districts, where they are easily accessible to constituents. Congress’ top priority should be constituents in our home states and districts, not the lobbyists and bureaucrats in Washington.”

The resolution says "electronic voting, video conferencing, secure telephones and internet connections, and biometric cyber security" can be employed to make Congress virtual.