The U.S. House of Representatives is now looking "very closely" at the possibility of congresscritters going to their home districts, and voting remotely from outside the Capitol as the coronavirus-forced recess continues.
This is new. In recent weeks, as coronavirus outbreaks spread throughout America, both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi [D-CA] and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell [R-Moscow] have dismissed calls for remote voting in Congress.
From reporting by Susan Cornwell at Reuters:
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said none of the leaders of Congress want remote voting to be routine.
"But in an emergency situation … we ought to have an alternative," he told reporters on a conference call. "I want to assure you and the American people, it's being worked on very hard."
Leaders are looking at some of the technological ways remote voting could be done, Hoyer said.
But none of the approaches could be done immediately, because congressional rules would have to be modified and there would have to be agreement between Republicans and Democrats, Hoyer said. He noted lawmakers would also have to vote to bring about the rule changes necessary for remote voting. This would require more than 500 members to return to the Capitol, if both House and Senate took the step.
Congress has not met in regular session since last month. Lawmakers in late March passed a $2.3 trillion relief bill on a voice vote. Congressional leaders decided this week to extend on ongoing recess until at least May 4.
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