This New Hack Keeps You Up to Date on House Floor Votes as if You Were There
House votes are hard enough for members of Congress to follow, let alone the general public — but a new app proposes to make it easier for people to stay abreast of action on Capitol Hill no matter where they are.
Called "Capitol Bells," the new tool attracted attention on Reddit through an AMA session with its creator, 29-year-old mechanical engineer and former Hill staffer Ted Henderson.
Congress can be confusing even for veteran lawmakers. Rep. Mark Sanford (R-N.C.), returning to Congress this year after a long absence, was caught by surprise yesterday by a rescheduled vote on the Defense Department appropriations bill and appeared on the House floor in shorts and a borrowed blazer to cast his vote.
Maybe that's partially because of the systems used to keep denizens of the Hill abreast of the goings-on. Capitol Bells' name alludes to a system of ringing bells and flashing lights that go off throughout House office buildings to indicate when and what kind of vote is about to take place when the House floor is due for action. The Clerk of the House now also notifies members of votes through BlackBerry alerts.
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