Lawmakers are showing an openness to operating remotely. But a potential partisan split on the issue could stall progress.
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On April 30, a Senate subcommittee held a roundtable discussion by videoconference on the viability and constitutionality of conducting Senate votes and other proceedings remotely.
House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern today unveiled a resolution that would authorize remote floor voting by proxy and digital committee hearings so that the House of Representatives can continue to legislate during the coronavirus pandemic. The resolution would allow an absent House member to authorize other members physically present in the chamber to cast votes on her behalf.
The Presidential Succession Act is a disaster waiting to happen.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi tasked House Rules Committee chairman James McGovern to produce a report on whether the House of Representatives should develop a system for remote voting in light of the COVID-19 crisis. In the report, McGovern concludes that such a change could not be implemented overnight and likely could not be accomplished in time to address the current crisis. The report finds that a rule change of this magnitude would require major changes to foundational House rules surrounding deliberation, voting, and attendance—which would likely have unintended consequences.
As more legislators become sick or are forced to quarantine, Congress needs to move fast to protect itself against a worst-case scenario.