Could Congress work from home?
- By Adam Mazmanian
- Mar 25, 2013
Rep. Steve Pearce would like to see members of Congress working from their home districts more, Washington less.
Telecommuting is an increasingly popular option for federal workers looking to avoid marathon commutes and inclement weather. Now a congressman is looking to add members of the House and Senate to the list of government employees eligible to do their jobs from home.
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.
In a statement provided to The Hill, Pearce said that, "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 Congress does the same."
Earlier this month, more than 120,000 federal workers logged into their jobs for the third annual Telework Week, sponsored by the Mobile Work Exchange.
Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.
Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy, health IT and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mr. Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian started his career as an arts reporter and critic, and has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, Architect magazine, and other publications. He was an editorial assistant and staff writer at the now-defunct New York Press and arts editor at the About.com online network in the 1990s, and was a weekly contributor of music and film reviews to the Washington Times from 2007 to 2014.
Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.