Earlier this week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted for legislation that would require federal agencies to write policies to encourage their workers to telecommute. The vote was 290 to 131 and mostly fell along partisan lines.

Despite the well-documented fact that telecommuting saves companies a lot of money — one study found savings in the range of $10,000 per telecommuting worker per year — Republicans objected to the bill because it would cost $30 million from 2010 to 2015. Republicans seem to have no problem voting for expensive bills when there is killing involved, especially if it benefits their friends in the defense industry.

Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California made changes to the bill that would bar any employees caught viewing or sharing porn at work or with a history of absenteeism from participating in the program. Employees would also be restricted from participating in union actives while working from home.

One agency that already allows telecommuting, the Defense Information Systems Agency, saw the benefits of having a work-at-home workforce during the February snowstorms that struck Washington, D.C. While the rest of the federal government shut down and went outside to go sledding and build snow forts, 1,200 agency employees worked from home.

The Senate passed a similar bill earlier in the year, and a conference committee expects to have a bill on President Obama's desk before Congress breaks for its August recess.

Also on MNN: Learn more about the bill

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