Congress is officially embracing the 21st century.
When Republicans take control of the House next month, they plan to lift a ban on the use of gadgets like the iPad, iPhone or Blackerry while conducting business on the floor, The New York Times reported this week.
Under the proposed rule, members can use an electronic device on the House floor as long as it doesn't "impair decorum," the newspaper reported.
Members still won't be able to talk on the phone in the lower chamber and are supposed to use the devices for official business only, a spokesman for incoming House Speaker John Boeher told The New York Times. But lawmakers will be free to tap away as long as the mute switch is on.
"Mr. Boehner has deep respect for the institution and its traditions," Republican spokesman Brendan Buck told the newspaper. "This is not free license to Skype or pay bills online. But we recognize that people consume information electronically these days. It's just silly that the House wouldn't accommodate that."
A Senate leadership aide told the newspaper that no changes were planned in the upper chamber but that the rules committee might look into relaxing the rules down the road.
The new House rules will be clarified early next month in a document called the Speaker's Announced Policies, the newspaper reported.