House introduces bill to allow members to attend hearings remotely

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The House Rule Committee will review a bill that would permit absent members of Congress to participate in committee hearings using video conferencing.

The bill (H.R. 287) would also establish a remote voting system that absent members could use to cast votes in the House on motions to suspend the rules.

Under the proposed legislation, each committee would permit any member of the committee who is absent from the site of a hearing, as well as any other individual who is invited to participate in the hearing, to use video conferencing and related technologies in order to participate in the hearing to the same extent as members of the committee who are present at the site of the meeting, the bill says.

The bill would also amend the rules of determining a quorum, by adding that a member who participates in a hearing remotely shall be included in determining the number of members constituting a quorum at the hearing.

The House clerk, chief administrative office and sergeant at arms would also be tasked to develop and implement a secure remote voting system under which any absent member would be permitted to cast a vote remotely on a motion to suspend rules.

A member who casts a vote remotely would be treated as present for purposes of determining the existence of a quorum for considering the motion, the bill says.

For more:
- go to the THOMAS page for H.R. 287

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