The events of September 11, 2001, and the subsequent anthrax incidents have prompted some observers to suggest creating a capability for a virtual or electronic Congress (e-Congress) that could function in the event of an emergency. Currently, it is unclear exactly how an e-Congress would be constituted and operated; however, a proposal (H.R. 3481) has been introduced to require the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to investigate the feasibility and costs of implementing a computer system for remote voting and communication for Congress to ensure business continuity for congressional operations. The Committee on House Administration held hearings on e-Congress initiatives and other issues surrounding the continuity of congressional operations on May 1, 2002. Some observers have offered broad suggestions involving the establishment of a Web site that Members of Congress could access from any location beyond the Capitol complex.
CRS Report for Congress, RS21140