Gluesenkamp Perez, Golden, Peltola Introduce Resolution to Allow for Remote Committee Witnesses

Feb 15, 2024
Press

Today, Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-03), Rep. Jared Golden (ME-02), and Rep. Mary Peltola (AK-AL) – Co-Chairs of the Blue Dog Coalition – introduced the Bringing Real Ideas, Data, and Genuine Experience (BRIDGE) to Congress Resolution. The resolution would amend House rules to allow for remote appearances of committee witnesses without approval of the chair of a committee.

This would help increase the diversity of viewpoints by removing obstacles for witnesses who may face difficulties taking time off work, finding childcare, or spending hundreds of dollars on airfare and lodging costs to travel to Washington, D.C.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress passed a resolution permitting hybrid committee hearings, allowing witnesses to appear remotely, but the policy was discontinued in January 2023.

“Most Americans don’t have the ability or resources to fly across the country with short notice if a Congressional committee wants to hear their perspectives – and it leads to a skewed witness pool that lacks geographic and economic diversity. If Congress wants to draft legislation that actually serves our communities, it’s critical we hear from normal people who can speak to the real issues affecting their lives,” said Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez.I’m excited to join my fellow Blue Dog Co-Chairs – who also represent communities in the far reaches of our country – to introduce a resolution to make these opportunities remotely accessible for our constituents.”

“Mainers expect and deserve to have access to their government, whether at Town Halls, in Augusta, or in Washington, D.C.,” said Rep. Golden. “I’m proud to co-sponsor this resolution to allow remote participation for congressional committee witnesses. In the 21st century, long distances and expensive travel costs should not be a barrier to participation in the democratic process.”

“Any Alaskan who’s been to D.C. can tell you that it’s a long journey,” said Rep. Peltola. “But even Anchorage and Juneau are not always accessible for rural Alaskans whose voices urgently need to be heard on a wide variety of issues. Remote participation for Congressional committee witnesses will go a long way towards making government more open, effective, and transparent, and I’m proud to cosponsor this resolution with my fellow Blue Dog caucus members.” 

Full text of the resolution can be found here.

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