Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Videoconferencing Congress

Bitter over at Shall Not Be Questioned points out that Rick Santorum seems to be now listing his residence as Fairfax County, Virginia--not Pennsylvania.  This is a long standing problem--many Congresscritters cease to be representatives from their home state, and become representatives from Washington to their home state.

I find myself thinking the time for a fully videoconferenced Congress has arrived.  No travel costs; no need for a second home near DC; perhaps fewer extramarital affairs because of separation from spouses (although for some politicians, that's a bug, not a feature).  Of course, there's a lot of stuff that would never be said over a video link that might get said after hours--but again, I think of that as a feature, not a bug.


  1. If Congress teleconferences, they'll eventually end up with some sort of back-channel to fill in the conversations that used to happen in the Lobby and in the proverbial "smoke-filled rooms".

    However, physical access to all Congress members (and Senators) will be harder to localize in one place, so traditional lobbying will suddenly become much more expensive.

    I don't think your idea is without does have merit, and will have lots of interesting repercussions.

    Of course, the entire concept of Congress (or the Senate) being 'in session' will be very different.

    I like it. What a way to bring government into the 21st Century.

  2. What's needed is session limits. Congress (and state legislatures) should be prohibited from meeting after July 1. (Make it July 4 for the symbolism.)

    The only exception should be emergency special sessions summoned by the executive, approved by a 2/3 vote of both houses before any business, and lasting no longer than seven days.

    If legislators went home for half the year, they'd continue to have lives outside politics.