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House report tables remote voting by members of Congress

Katherine Tully-McManus, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

WASHINGTON -- Remote voting is not coming to the House anytime soon, according to a House Rules Committee report. But some advocates say the report didn't fully consider the options available and members are still pushing for emergency alternatives.

House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern is not recommending remote voting as the solution to avoid bringing lawmakers back to Washington to vote on the nearly $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package, but he is open to passing the bill by a voice vote or unanimous consent.

A public report and letter sent to lawmakers Monday night outlines the options for voting procedures during this unprecedented pandemic that is spreading across the country and even the Capitol.

"Clearly, the quickest and likely best path forward is for Congress to pass that measure by unanimous consent or by voice vote. Short of that, there are a few difficult options that we can consider utilizing," McGovern, D-Mass., wrote in a letter to his colleagues.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., endorsed the report's conclusion Tuesday morning on MSNBC.

"My hope that while we're in the red zone here that we get across the finish line and we can do so in a way that we can bring it to the floor under unanimous consent," Pelosi said, referring to the third installation of an economic stimulus package hashed out by Congress and the White House.

 

She said if they can't get unanimous consent, the House will need to return to Washington and either amend the Senate's bill or pass their own and go to conference.

Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois, the top Republican on the House Administration Committee, told CQ Roll Call in a statement that a unanimous consent vote could be possible if the package the House considers is bipartisan.

"Under existing House Rules, adopting a COVID-19 package under unanimous consent is the most realistic way to avoid members traveling back and forth to D.C. to vote," David said.

But he called provisions in the House Democrats' own stimulus bill a "liberal wish list," and warned that if Democrats don't drop some provisions, "we won't be able to pass this much-needed relief for Americans by UC or by any other voting method."

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