Rep. Katie Porter Calls on Congress to Allow Remote Voting During Coronavirus Pandemic
Democratic Rep. Katie Porter (CA) called on Congress to set up temporary procedures so that Members of Congress could vote remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During her appearance with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, Porter began by discussing provisions of the House Democrats’ coronavirus response bill. Porter helped lead the fight to include free coronavirus testing in the legislation, after publicly browbeating the CDC Director into endorsing the idea, as well as paid sick leave benefits. But she then pivoted to pointing out how Congress should also adopt flexibility in doing its job while also adhering to new health guidelines around social distancing.
“I think the big battle here was around paid sick leave, which is incredibly important in fighting this virus,” Porter said. “We’re asking the American people to adopt public-health measures, and it’s really important that Congress, not only pass this bill but that Congress, adopt public health measures itself.”
“I am calling on Congress tonight, on leaders of both parties, to adopt a remote-voting procedure to ensure that if we’re not able to travel, if this public-health crisis worsens, that we are still able to have a quorum and we are still able to take votes,” Porter continued.
“You’re the law professor. What’s going to be the pushback about why they don’t usually allow remote votes?” Cuomo asked. “You know, we have seen that in the past. People are sick: ‘Will he or she be able to make it back in time?’ What’s going to be the legal pushback? And how do you overcome it?”
“There is no legal barrier, that I am aware of, to remote voting,” Porter claimed. “It could be adopted tonight, this evening, as part of an updated rules package in the house. And then could be invoked if necessary. I represent the state of California. People are are worried. We have had outbreaks there. I answered the phone in my office this morning and talked, firsthand, to constituents about what’s going on. But those constituents are also counting on me to cast those votes.”
“You’ve seen the house floor, Chris,” Porter added. “It’s a scrum of people: 435 members and 150 staff in close quarters, using the same voting machines. Look. We’re asking American businesses, schools, nonprofits, local governments, to be flexible and to obey public health guidelines. Congress should be no exception. We should be willing here to be flexible and adopt a remote-voting procedure that can be invoked, if necessary.”
Watch the video above, via CNN.
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]