When Boehner throws in the towel one of the candidates for his job should try something new. Campaign as a member friendly Speaker, who would push a rule allowing remote voting, and attendance. You could fly to D.C., get sworn in, set up your office, and go home — and stay home. When there’s a committee meeting you need to attend, you’d go to your local Congressional office and participate remotely. Your constituents could be in the room with you while you do your committee work. You might fly to D.C. once in a while for a floor vote.. Or not. It’s up to you. You could vote from your office if you want. Would your constituents rather have you home in the district, where they can keep an eye on you, and set you straight if necessary, or would they want you rubbing shoulders with all the fat cat lobbyists?
Most people would spend most of their time in D.C. You can be a more effective committee member if you’re physically present. But members should be given the choice. You could do week on, week off. You could do whatever you, and your constituents, wanted to do.
This would definitely make it harder to be Speaker, but it would be manageable. I think the members would want it, and vote for it. This is the 21st century. The technology’s there. Why not give it a try?
I’ve believed in this idea for a long time, and wait in vain for somebody to push it. What makes it relevant is San Diego. We may have 20, or 30, or even 40 people participating remotely. This will be a technical and a managerial problem, but it can be dealt with. We’ll show Congress how it’s done, and maybe they’ll be inspired to give it a try.
The first meeting of the Federal Assembly is a month away, and it’s time for the big push. I sent out around 65 emails to Presiding Officers (PO’s) in the last two days. We’re having a cc tomorrow and we’ll figure out who is going to work the 15 states I didn’t work on. Once we get fifteen or twenty commitments this thing should snowball, especially since remote participation is encouraged. Some of these people will probably call in for the hell of it. It’s something a little different. PO’s are generally pretty responsible people. I would argue they have a positive duty to take part in a meeting of this sort — dealing with their constitutional duties under Article V. They should, at the minimum, ask their Majority Leader to cover for them. It’s a Saturday, for God’s sake. There’s no excuse for a PO to blow this off.
Most of these PO’s that I’ve talked to don’t know that many of their peers from other states — but they know a few of them. If we can get these people talking to each other about this thing it will build the momentum. The next couple weeks will be critical.
My wife and I drive to Montana on Tuesday and Wednesday. Be there a month. By chance our route takes us through Idaho Falls, the home of Idaho Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis. He killed our bill, and wants to kill it again. I’ll be calling for an appointment to see him. I want to explain the Federal Assembly, and ask him to show up. He may not even see me. It’s worth a try.
Because it’s taking place at all, San Diego is a success. How great a success will be determined by how many participate. But there will be such a thing as the Federal Assembly. It’s a meeting of delegates from the states, exclusively devoted to discussing their duties under Article V, and, more specifically, one proposed Article V Amendment — the BBA. Nothing exactly like it has been done before. There’s a reason it’s happening now.
It’s the tide.