July 8, 2004 Thursday
HEADLINE: HEARING OF THE HOUSE GOVERNMENT REFORM COMMITTEE SUBJECT: BENEFICIAL OR CRITICAL? THE HEIGHTENED NEED FOR TELEWORK OPPORTUNITIES IN THE POST-9/11 WORLD
CHAIRED BY: REPRESENTATIVE TOM DAVIS (R-VA)
LOCATION: 2154 RAYBURN HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING, WASHINGTON, D.C.
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REP. HENRY WAXMAN (D-CA): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I'd like to thank you for holding this hearing and I also want to welcome the distinguished group of witnesses that we have testifying.
Today's hearing focuses on the federal government's effort to increase the use of telecommuting. According to experts, telework can help the government in its recruitment and retention of employees, while also reducing the need for office space. Telework can also have a major impact on traffic congestion, an issue of great importance in my own hometown, Los Angeles.
For employees, telework can allow them to structure their work schedules around the need to care for elderly parents or young children. Telework can also provide disabled employees with greater access to federal employment. Just as importantly, greater use of telework can allow the federal government to function in the event of an emergency whether it be a fire or a terrorist attack, God forbid, or a natural disaster. In recent years, for example, congressional offices have been closed because of anthrax contamination and Hurricane Isabel. Had there been a greater use of telework, there would have been much less disruption in our ability to serve our constituents.
Representative Danny Davis, the ranking member of the Civil Service Subcommittee, is working on a bill to ensure that telework is better integrated into emergency planning. And I know well of the leadership that Representative Frank Wolf has been providing on this issue as well. I fully support them in their efforts and I hope the committee will move quickly on legislation.
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