Sending Office: Honorable Adam Smith
Rep. Babin (R-TX) and Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) request that your boss join them on this letter to House CAO Mr. Philip Kiko, urging him to prioritize the implementation of a digital signature function within the existing e-Dear Colleague system. This system
would allow Members to digitally add their official House signature to another Member’s proposed Dear Colleague using secure, House-approved technology. It would require verification from the both the signer’s and sender’s offices, and the approval authentication
for signatures would be limited to the Member and certain authorized staff within a personal or committee office – similar to the PeopleSoft voucher approval system.
This effort is not directly related to the ongoing debate about proxy voting and other matters related to proposed remote operating procedures. Rep. Babin and Rep. Adam Smith
wrote a letter to the leaders of the Select Committee on Modernization last year explaining in great detail the serious problems with this longstanding process and proposing this digital solution, and these recommendations were included in their H.Res.
759 modernization package. While we started working on this long before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, present circumstances make it more important than ever to replace this inauthentic and inefficient system as soon as possible.
Rep. Brian Babin
Rep. Adam Smith
Mr. Philip G. Kiko
Chief Administrative Officer
U.S. House of Representatives
HB-26, The Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Mr. Kiko,
As you know, the House recently passed H.Res. 756, the Moving our Democracy and Congressional Operations Towards Modernization Act with overwhelming bipartisan support. Included in the resolution is a commitment to the modernization and revitalization
of current House technology services, including the implementation of a verified digital signature option for Members on Dear Colleague letters and other joint correspondence.
In recent weeks, while we and our staff have been primarily working remotely, the current “pen and paper” system for obtaining signatures on routine joint correspondence has gone from inefficient and problematic to almost completely unmanageable. It is imperative
that we implement such measures that were already previously agreed upon by the House in H.Res. 756 in order to ensure prompt legislative business and constituent services.
Therefore, we respectfully request that you direct the appropriate members of the House Information Resources (HIR) staff to prioritize the implementation of a feature within the existing e-Dear Colleague system that will allow, upon verification and approval
from the office of a Member, for that Member’s digital signature to be inserted into joint correspondence. In addition to alleviating many of the issues presented by our current telework situation, such a system would repair what we all know was already an
extraordinarily inefficient, inauthentic and mistake-prone process.
Thank you for all your efforts to help us keep doing the people’s business in these extraordinarily challenging times. We look forward to hearing your feedback and suggestions about we can help you make this important improvement for this institution to
which we all belong.
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0