Lawmakers in PJs? ‘Virtual Congress’ proposed to limit influence of lobbyists; could it work?

New Mexico Republican Rep. Steve Pearce has an idea designed to keep members of Congress close to their constituents.

He introduced a resolution asking the House Administration Committee to examine ways Congresspersons could work virtually, from their home states, the Washington Examiner reported.

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“The biggest complaint that exists about Washington is that they seem to be out of touch with the voters,” he told the Examiner. “And so, the ultimate impact would be to put us extremely back in touch with our voters.”

But, Pearce said, it isn’t about allowing members of Congress to lounge around at home and work in their pajamas.

“I wouldn’t visualize us sitting at home,” the Congressman said.

What he envisions is travelling around his district and being surrounded by voters who can watch him debate and vote.

“If you were facing your constituents rather than the lobbyists, there would be a great accountability that would change the pulse of this place within hours,” Pearce, who has served in Congress since 1996, said.

“The lobbyists should have to work harder to see us, and our constituents should have to work easier,” he told the Examiner. “We’ve got it upside down.”

And, he said, there is no reason not to do it.

“All kinds of corporate boards meet like this already, and it saves time, saves energy,” he said.

He expressed that sentiment in a letter to the House Rules Committee this month.

“I think it’s something that the people will eventually insist on,” he wrote. “They get pretty furious when they elect folks and they come up here, and you know, pretty soon they’re part of the system up here.”

Response on social media varied.

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Carmine Sabia

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