Congress can’t agree on how to vote remotely during pandemic

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) – To keep lawmakers and their staff safe during this pandemic, Congress is considering ways to vote remotely but party leaders can’t agree on how to get it done. 

Congress agrees, it’s time to find a way to work and vote from home but Republicans say Democrats are rushing into an important decision.

“Why would you bring people back, jam through a proxy vote without having worked with both parties,” Representative Kevin McCarthy, R-California, said. 

The Democratic plan would allow some lawmakers to stay home and choose another lawmaker in Washington to cast votes for them. 

McCarthy says that’s not what voters expect from their elected representatives.

“They lend their voice to a person they hold accountable every two years. In a proxy, the constituents did not lend their voice,” McCarthy said. 

“What’s this going to be like even after we relax social distancing, congress is going to change,” Representative Nanette Barragan, D-California, said. 

Congresswoman Nanette Barragan says proxy voting isn’t a drastic measure despite Republican claims. 

“You have committee hearing rooms where they’re so small, you can’t have the six feet separation,” Barragan said. 

House Republicans say they’re open to other measures that allow lawmakers to vote remotely but Democrats say they haven’t discussed alternatives, they were all in on proxy voting.

House rules committee chairman Jim McGovern says proxy voting was an easy solution that could be implemented quickly and he says Congress can’t ignore the issue.

“It’s not just a danger to us and our families, it’s a danger to other people we’re coming into contact with. It’s a danger to our staff,” Representative Jim McGovern, D-Massachusetts, said. 

Republicans and Democrats say they will talk and try to come up with a telecommuting plan both parties can support.

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