(NewsReady.com) – On April 22, House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (D-MA) introduced a measure to temporarily allow Congress to vote remotely. The idea was to help protect lawmakers from the spread of COVID-19 and not require all of them to attend physical meetings for another 60 days. Under this policy, members of Congress would’ve been able to vote by proxy. Lawmakers, however, weren’t so sure about it and there was considerable division along partisan lines.
I agree with the @GOPLeader, the American people must see the People's House at work. Undoing 200 years of precedent by proxy voting sends the wrong message. There needs to be an honest, bipartisan discussion on safe and secure measures so we can return to work and fully operate
— Virginia Foxx (@virginiafoxx) April 22, 2020
Democrats wanted to reduce the number of lawmakers required to be present to pass legislation. Members of Congress not attending sessions would’ve had to arrange proxy voting in advance. While this proposal may have helped shield representatives from the virus, Republicans worried that it could set a dangerous precedent.
Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) said, “We‘ve operated for 200-plus years without having proxy voting on the floor of the House.” That included the 1918 influenza pandemic and the Civil War.
Ultimately, the measure was scrapped.
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