MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Alabama Representative Jo Bonner will leave Congress at 12:01AM on August 3, but that doesn't mean his Washington office will shut down.
According to Bonner's Communications Director, Mike Lewis, whenever a House seat is vacant, the Clerk of the House assumes administrative control over that office until a duly-elected Member is sworn in. Staff who choose to remain will continue their duties under the oversight of the Clerk of the House until a new Member is elected. Congressman Bonner's office will become "The Office of the First Congressional District of Alabama" on August 3 and staff will provide casework and legislative informative services.
The description below from the Clerk of the House web site explains the process:
The Interim Vacant Office Status:
By federal law and the Rules of the House of Representatives, the employees of the former Representative continue to staff the offices of the congressional district under the supervision of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. This interim vacant status continues until a new Representative is elected to fill the unexpired term. The congressional district does not have voting representation. Although the scope of the vacant congressional office is limited, constituents of the district are invited to contact this interim office for information and assistance as indicated below.
Until a new Representative is elected, the vacant congressional office cannot take or advocate positions of public policy. Constituents may choose to express opinions on legislation or issues to your elected Senators or wait until a new Representative is elected and takes office. Mail received by the vacant office will be acknowledged. The staff of the vacant office can assist constituents with general information concerning the status of legislation, but cannot provide analysis of issues or render opinions.
Assistance with Federal Government Agencies (Casework):
The staff of the vacant office will continue to assist constituents who have cases pending with the office. These constituents will receive a letter from the Clerk requesting whether the staff should continue assistance or not. Constituents who do not have pending cases but require assistance in matters relating to federal government agencies are invited to contact the nearest district office for further information and assistance.
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