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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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  • Re:Why not? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ArsonSmith ( 13997 ) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @11:21AM (#43263083) Journal

    On the other hand those offices and corporations wouldn't have a single spot to send all their lobbyists too any more.

  • by Trepidity ( 597 ) <delirium-slashdot@nosPAM.hackish.org> on Sunday March 24, 2013 @11:29AM (#43263129)

    One justification for Congressional salaries is that they have to pay for a 2nd home in D.C. They also get taxpayer-funded travel between their home districts at DC, averaging >$2m per member of Congress. Are these expenses going to actually be cut if they move towards telecommuting?

  • Filibuster how? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pitawg ( 85077 ) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @12:06PM (#43263315)

    This will give the old ones in power a means of censoring or silencing unpopular (to them anyways,) rants from either the other side of the aisle or freshmen seats. "He is not following Majority Rules! Cut that guy's feed!" C-SPAN cannot even keep a feed coming during "public" events, and you think this will change?

    This is just adding a new power to those in charge that would directly effect our governing. A switch to silence instead of a gavel and pleading.

  • Re:Yes! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by camg188 ( 932324 ) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @01:07PM (#43263679)
    If it decreases the influence of lobbyists, then yes.
  • Absolutely NOT (Score:4, Interesting)

    by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @01:14PM (#43263731) Journal
    These ppl need to meet each other and learn to trust the other guy.
    In fact, 3 nights a week, these ppl should be required to dine with each other.
    It is the insane attitudes towards each other that is causing them to not compromise.
  • by Dr. Spork ( 142693 ) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @01:55PM (#43263925)

    One problem with our congress is that they don't like each other and they don't have much incentive to get to know each other. If they were to never actually meet one another, that would only make things worse.

    I would much rather have Congress work more like a game show, in which a congressional session lasts two months and takes place on a jungle island where the reps have to cooperate or die. When not in session, they could be in their home districts or whatever. For the same reason why juries can't produce just rulings if they're not sequestered together, Congress should be forced to hash out their business while sequestered. They could still have contact to their aids and research staff, but on the island, it would just be them, wild boars, and the occasional helicopter bringing food, beer and medicine.

    A telecommuting congress is pretty much exactly the opposite of what would help.

  • by penix1 ( 722987 ) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @04:25PM (#43264929) Homepage

    Everyone harps on about the Congressional budget. It is a document that means absolutely nothing. It doesn't have to be voted on by the house, signed by the president nothing. It is a wish list only. The House, Senate and Presidential budgets mean zilch. They are solely used to beat up the others with politically. It isn't like the budgets set around the kitchen table at home.

    And while we are on the subject, if you have any debt whatsoever, you are running at a deficit. I argue there isn't a household in America that isn't running a deficit. Mortgages, credit cards, bank loans, student loans, etc are all deficit spending. The only difference is the size of income vs. deficit and the fact that every 6 months Congress goes through the pain of having to couple the spending they already did with the artificial boundary they setup known as the debt ceiling.

    Today's Congress lives on crisis of their own making. And the effect on the very real economy is devastating. Everything from the current sequester to the debt ceiling is of their own doing. It is little wonder their popularity ratings are in the single digits.

  • Re: Yes! (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 24, 2013 @04:51PM (#43265071)

    The one thing they don't do is read the text they're voting on.

    This is the direct equivalent of a company lawyer giving a go/nogo on a contract he hasn't read. Except that it's actually worse since it applies to more people.

    Since no congrescritter can claim to do the minimal amount of work of actually reading what he's voting on (never mind actually researching/considering the issue and consequences), imho every congrescritter is criminally negligent.

    Lets jail them all, and throw out every bit of legislation thus approved (hey, we might actually get back to a time where it's is actually possible to 'know the law')

Bell Labs Unix -- Reach out and grep someone.