Swalwell, Pearce, and Crawford Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Modernize Congress

April 27, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representatives Eric Swalwell (CA-15), Steve Pearce (NM-02), and Rick Crawford (AR-01) on Tuesday reintroduced a resolution aimed at modernizing congressional committee and voting procedures to bring Congress into the 21st Century and allow Members more time to connect with their constituents. The bipartisan H. Res. 278, Members Operating to Be Innovative and Link Everyone (MOBILE) Resolution, would strengthen the ability of Members to participate virtually in committee hearings and vote remotely on suspension bills.

“Across the nation we see the development of new, innovative ways of conducting business to improve communication and connectedness. It’s time for Congress to learn to be more mobile and adapt to the times in which we live,” said Swalwell. “The American people want to see an efficient Congress that works directly for the people. Letting Members of Congress participate in committee hearings and vote on some items remotely is an essential step toward giving constituents more time with their elected representatives and forcing Congress to work more efficiently on consequential legislation.”

“Over the years, we have heard a rising call for Members of Congress and the entire government to become more transparent and accountable.  Often, Members are only allocated few days between legislative session weeks to go back to their congressional districts,” said Pearce.  “Thanks to the progress and developments we’ve made in new, innovative technologies, we now have the tools to debate, vote, and carry out our congressional duties without having to leave our respective districts.  This allows Members of Congress to work closer to the people they represent and allows constituents to see, first-hand their government at work.”

“In addition to potentially lowering current government operating costs, this resolution allows Congressmen to spend more time in their districts listening to the people they represent,” said Crawford. “Businesses, organizations, and families employ communications technology to stay productive and in touch while physically apart, so the same should be true for Congress.”

The MOBILE Resolution would require that Members and invited witnesses be allowed to participate in committee hearings remotely, via video conferencing or related technologies, which would count toward rules on quorum. It also would direct the creation of a secure voting system that would allow Members to vote remotely on suspension bills, which are generally less-controversial legislation requiring a two-thirds vote to pass.   

Swalwell, Pearce, and Crawford also Tuesday reintroduced a resolution directing the House Administration Committee to investigate best practices and establish procedures and rules for conducting House of Representatives business, such as the consideration of legislation, in a virtual setting.