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Techies in New Congress Push Changes

Image: Glenn Fleishman

Don’t call Congress an archaic body of technological dinosaurs.

According to a report in Politico, the incoming class of legislators led by a new Republican majority, is looking to “claw its way into the 21st century,” with a host of new tech-friendly measures.

The proposed changes include: allowing iPads on the House floor; allowing candid shots and angles for the ever-present C-SPAN camera, which currently is limited to a stationary view; and reducing paper documents that flood the House floor by shifting to more online resources.

The changes certainly aren’t earth-shattering, but Politico puts them in context. Remember, this is an office still furnished with “brass spittoons and Ethernet-less wooden desks.

On the issue of C-SPAN, Steve Frantzich, U.S. Naval Academy professor and technology expert, said there have been moves in the past to increase openness through cameras.

“During the [past] few turnovers, there have been promises of more openness, and nothing has happened,” he told Politico. “[Incoming House Speaker John] Boehner certainly has the power and capacity to change that.”

There are currently no rules on the issue of iPads on the House floor, because the technology is so new, guidelines have not been created, Politico reports.

Still, there is the understanding that as long as they are not disruptive, a representative can smuggle in their favorite gadget.

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