With legislation, freshman Democrat urges Congress to go mobile

According to Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., it’s time for Congress to “upgrade to the 21st century.”

That’s why the freshman from a district just north of Silicon Valley, known for his tech savvy, put forward the Members Operating to Be Innovative and Link Everyone resolution, or MOBILE, for short.

The resolution would allow for absent members of Congress to participate in committee hearings via videoconferencing technologies, and also creating remote voting capabilities.

“Companies and families across the country are using technology to communicate remotely,” Swalwell said in a statement. “There is no reason that the legislative branch of the world’s oldest democracy cannot do the same.”


Using this technology will allow elected officials to spend more time in their home states and with their constituents, and congressmen and -women won’t have to fly into Washington as frequently for votes or hearings.

“Our bill will allow members of Congress to work more efficiently and stay better connected to our constituents,” Swalwell said. “It’s time to upgrade Congress to the 21st century.”

If passed, the resolution would amend House rules, requiring the clerk, sergeant at arms and chief administrative officer to develop a secure system through which absent members of Congress may vote remotely on motions to suspend the rules. It would also enable committee members to participate in committee hearings from their district office or wherever they may be, using videoconferencing technology.

Reps. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., and Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., introduced the legislation with Swalwell.

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