Congress Grappling with Its Voting Mechanics

House has no confidence in system security.

In the current era of social distancing and while Congress is at work on a massive relief bill to stem the toll of the coronavirus pandemic, members are grappling with how the chambers can continue to function since some members in both houses have either been sickened or are self-isolating.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi had a commission look at the idea of remote voting, and their report said they did not have confidence in the security systems that could allow its members to vote from outside the Capitol building.

The report said remote voting “would raise serious security, logistical, and constitutional challenges.”

Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have both publicly dismissed the idea of remote voting. But a growing number of lawmakers have urged them to rethink it, noting the dangers of jumping on planes to congregate in large numbers goes against current national health guidelines.

The Senate is currently in session but the House is not, and its members are scattered across the United States. But the House will be required to vote on the coronavirus stimulus package when it passes the Senate. The House report said the likely best way to do this would be by voice vote or “unanimous consent,” a procedure usually reserved for non-controversial proposals. That step was used during the 1918 Spanish Influenza outbreak.

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For lawmakers to come to a determination on how voting can be undertaken when members are forced to be absent.
  • About the concerns that the House commission had over system security in the Capitol, and how that should be resolved no matter what they determine to do for voting.

Sources: Reuters, The Hill


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