WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A top U.S. House of Representatives Democrat recommended measures on Tuesday to allow members to vote and do committee work remotely, even when they are back in Washington, to comply with social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

House Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer wrote to the leaders of the House Rules and Administration committees urging them to update congressional rules to allow votes using videoconferencing technology.

Members of the House may be called back to Washington this week to vote in person for the first time in weeks on a nearly $500 billion relief package to help Americans deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

Following calls by President Donald Trump for states to reopen despite the rising death toll, a handful of Trump’s fellow Republicans in Congress have been calling for lawmakers to return to Washington sooner rather than later.

The House is expected to vote on a rule change when it returns that would allow voting by proxy, but Hoyer’s proposal would take it further to allow remote votes and committee work.

“Our goal remains reopening the Capitol complex safely, but even after the Capitol has reopened and Members have returned, there will likely still be a need to make accommodations for the Floor and in committees for some time to maintain the necessary social distancing,” Hoyer wrote.

The coronavirus outbreak has killed more than 42,000 Americans, according to a Reuters tally, the highest number in the world, and there are more than 750,000 cases.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; editing by Jonathan Oatis

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

As Trump leaves office weakened, Republicans wonder if his wounds are fatal

Whether President Trump is forced from office or serves out the remaining days of his term, he is now destined to slink out of the White House considerably diminished from the strapping, fearsome force he and his advisers imagined he…

She came to the U.S. from Mexico 44 years ago. On Tuesday, she voted for the first time.

Forty-four years since emigrating from Mexico for a farming job, Rutilia Ornelas decided to apply for citizenship this year for one purpose: To vote for the Democratic presidential nominee on behalf of the immigrant community. She didn’t hear back about…

Top health official says states need about $6 billion from Congress to distribute coronavirus vaccine

The Washington Post is providing this important information about the coronavirus for free. For more free coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, sign up for our Coronavirus Updates newsletter where all stories are free to read. Trump administration officials released a…

Trump campaign paying to repair damage to White House grounds from RNC events

The Trump campaign is footing the bill for sod replacement needed on the White House grounds after various Republican National Convention events last month damaged parts of the South Lawn and the Rose Garden, a senior campaign official said Tuesday.…