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Pelosi Drops Plan for Proxy Voting

Social distancing will be 'strictly enforced' during Thursday vote
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2020 8:43 AM CDT

(Newser) – House members are returning to Washington Thursday to vote on the $483 billion coronavirus relief bill—but they will no longer be voting on a controversial measure to allow voting by proxy for the first time in the chamber's history. The measure faced strong opposition from Republicans, and while the Democrats had enough votes to pass it, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday that the proposed rule change is being dropped for now, Politico reports. She said the issue would be looked at by a bipartisan task force. On Wednesday night the House Rules Committee instead voted in favor of establishing a coronavirus oversight committee. The measure, which was also opposed by Republicans, will go to a House vote Thursday.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy asked Pelosi Tuesday to work with Republicans on establishing a "clear, safe, and effective plan for reopening Congress." The AP reports that on proxy voting, he asked: "What are the details of this proposal, how will it avoid potential abuses of power, and when do you expect this proposal to be made public for the necessary scrutiny and member input that changing 200 years of House precedent would merit?" On Thursday, groups of around 60 lawmakers, organized alphabetically, will take turns voting in one of 8 time slots, the Hill reports. Guidance issued by the House's attending physician states that social distancing guidelines will be strictly enforced. (Read more House of Representatives stories.)

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