[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/20/art.skype.gi.jpg caption ="House Republican leaders are asking in a letter sent to Democrats that rules governing the use of Skype be re-examined."]Washington (CNN) – House Republican leaders sent a letter Monday House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Pennsylvania Rep. Robert Brady asking that House rules restricting the use of video conferencing be eased.
Currently, House rules prohibit members of Congress from using video-conferencing software applications such as Skype.
The letter, released Tuesday afternoon, was signed by House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio, Eric Cantor of Virginia, Mike Pence of Indiana, Cathy McMorris Rogers of Washington, and Dan Lungren of California is the result of an effort led by Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California to find more effective ways of engaging constituents.
"[T]he House remains tied to outdated rules that make video conferencing difficult and expensive. The fact is we don't need to sacrifice cyber security to open new lines of communication, like with Skype and other similar technology," McCarthy said in a statement. "If members of the House are to effectively represent the will of the people, we must keep pace with secure 21st century communications tools."
Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill says that the current rules governing video conferencing were designed following a network breach involving a peer-to-peer network. Following the incident, Pelosi and Boehner issued a joint directive asking the House Administration Committee to limit use of peer-to-peer networks on Capitol Hill. Brady, a Pennsylvania Democrat, is chairman of the House Administration panel.
But now Hammill says the issue will be re-examined.
"We want to be able to allow members to use the latest technology to communicate with their constituents, and Skype is one way to do that. We are thankful they raised the issue," Hammill told CNN.