All Members of Congress and Staff in DC and District Offices Should Telecommute During the Coronavirus Emergency
Where Congressional Offices Stand One Week Later
(Update, 3/23/2020 2:18pm): Early last week, our team created a database with every congressional offices’ telework policy. Despite strong support from both lawmakers and staff to work from home, leadership in both chambers still do not have a universal policy for teleworking.
One week later, findings from the database are grim to say the least. So far, Senate offices have been more publicly responsive regarding their telework policies. Informally, we have heard that a large majority of offices in both chambers are working from home. Our team plans to leave the database up, but will no longer be actively updating it.
Here are the key findings from our database after one week:
- Most offices still do not have any official statements on their current work policy.
- 89 DC offices have opted to fully telework (21 Senate, 68 House).
- 14 DC Offices are staying open (All House)
Members of Congress and their staff are at high risk for coronavirus due to the high number of Hill visitors, meetings, and constant traveling to home districts throughout the US. ALL congressional offices in DC and districts should immediately impose a mandatory telework policy. Each office has authority to do so. The House has provided some guidance but has failed to implement a policy that applies to the entire chamber (nor has the Senate).
We are creating a list that shows which congressional offices have moved to remote work during the coronavirus emergency and known coronavirus exposures. The public needs to know that Members are taking precautions and not putting staff or the public at risk. Staff in the House and Senate have tested positive for the coronavirus.
The House occupies 3 buildings – Cannon, Longworth and Rayburn. A staffer in Longworth tested positive on March 15. Longworth has about 250 House offices.
The Senate occupies 3 buildings – Russell, Dirksen and Hart A staffer in Hart tested positive on March 11. Hart has about 50 Senate offices.
If Congress is unable to do its job, our ability to prepare and react is severely limited. Members and their staff can easily run their offices remotely with modern technology (see our proposal for rules changes to permit a “TeleCongress”).
For the sake of Members, staff, the public, and the very operation of our government, contact your representative. Tell them to telecommute and change the rules to allow for a TeleCongress.
Then please let us know by the form below or via twitter with the hashtag #TeleCongress. We are tracking who is protecting the institution and staff in a continuously updating chart online here (also embedded at the end of this article). There is currently no central database that tracks telework status in Congress. Some offices have announced via press release or social media. We’ve heard rumors of other offices telecommuting but have no way to confirm.
We will update this article with numbers of offices telecommuting as we get the data.
Submit info here on status of your representative’s DC or District office.
Thanks for your help! We will post results online and update the chart as we get more information.
Edited March 18, 2020 at 4:15pm to include Senate information.
Edited March 23, 2020 at 2:18pm to include an update