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Should Congress Telecommute? 213

schwit1 writes "Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) wants to create a 'virtual Congress,' where lawmakers would leverage videoconferencing and other remote work technology to conduct their daily duties in Washington from their home districts. Under a resolution Pearce introduced on Thursday, lawmakers would be able to hold hearings, debate and vote on legislation virtually from their district offices. The big loser would be the DC area and K Street in particular. The change would also be a double-edged sword for security."
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Should Congress Telecommute?

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  • Why not? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Das Auge ( 597142 ) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @11:19AM (#43263069)
    Sure... Why not? They can work from the offices of the corporations and special interest groups that actually fund their decisions.
  • Re:Why not? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 24, 2013 @11:26AM (#43263115)

    I wasn't real thrilled with the idea at first due to concerns around the integrity of the system, but then I imagined them working from a remote town hall and surrounded by their constituants instead of their peers and lobbyies. I think it could do great things for establishing accountability.

  • by smpoole7 ( 1467717 ) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @11:44AM (#43263205) Homepage

    I've got mod points, but I don't care. This is one of my hot buttons. :)

    1. Senators and representatives would be closer to their actual constituents. There's at least a slightly improved chance that they'll actually vote the way the people who elected them want.

    2. It wouldn't save a lot of money on the grand scale, but it would be a useful symbol to cut the costs (heating, cooling, transportation) of clustering all the morons in Washington.

    2-1/2 - it would make it more difficult for lobbyists to buy an entire block of votes. This would force the LOBBYISTS to sink tons of money into travel to visit each Congresscritter. It's a beautiful thing. :)

    2-3/4: LOCAL news media would have better access to the Congresscritters, and if we're really lucky, they could watch the 'critter's local headquarters and report on who came and left that day -- including the aforementioned lobbyists. No large parking lots or hallways to more easily become "lost" in.

    3. We have the technology to make it secure. Video conferencing could replace endless meetings. AND SPEECHES. Man, getting rid of the speeches alone would be worth it.

    4. The really dumb ones wouldn't know how to vote electronically or attend the video conferences, acting as a natural selection effect on dumb votes!

    Who knows? We might actually (OK, I'm dreaming now) elect people with brains, who would at least be required to know how to write and operate a computer, instead of blowhards who are elected simply because they know how to speak well in front of a camera.

    Do it. I'm all for it.

  • Videoconferencing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MpVpRb ( 1423381 ) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @11:45AM (#43263213)
    Anybody who thinks videoconferencing is good must not have spent much time videoconferencing
  • No way (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @12:16PM (#43263375)

    They already spend too much time in their home districts. Jet air travel allows them to constantly return to their home base, where they get constant earfuls of whining from their gerrymandered constituents (whatever the political slant of the particular district). So they pop back briefly into DC to work with colleagues who they now barely know, and with no motivation to compromise on *anything*.

    Hence, nothing gets accomplished, least of all steering this country away from financial crises.

    Presumably, this country was set up as a republic for a reason. One of those would be for the members of congress to actually spend time working together, for the good of the country as a whole.

    Now, if they want to improve how congress works, it would be better to pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting *lobbyists* from interacting with members of congress in person. Trackable email and video calls only.

  • Re:Why not? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @03:31PM (#43264621)
    If you don't have to show up, it removes most of the logistical issues that prevent regular people from serving. So the "fix" to government is to have a senate that looks like the house, and a house that is made up of 1,000,000 Americans representing local areas of 300-400 people each. The legislation from the house can be written like drunken ramblings, and the "bill" would be re-written in the Senate to resemble the existing laws. The Senate would be a sanity check on the mob, but reduced in power. 3/5 majority for anything to pass out of the house, and anyone with a 0% pass rate after 10 submissions loses the right to submit for the remainder of his term, but the people he represents can hold a re-election to fill the seat.

    If we are going to move to the information age, we might as well continue this "great experiment" as an experiment.

If it's not in the computer, it doesn't exist.