Pelosi Slams McConnell for Comments on House Remote Voting Rules

May 22, 2020 by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., accused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday of “deliberately misleading” the public about House remote voting rules adopted by the chamber last week.

Speaking on the floor of the Senate on Thursday, McConnell said Democrats have “jammed through” the rules change which had passed on a party line vote last Friday, and said it would allow “one member to cast 10 additional votes.”

“There are several problems with this,” he said. “One of them happens to be Article 1, Section 5 of the US Constitution, which says a majority of each house shall constitute a quorum to do business.”

McConnell warned “there will be enormous constitutional questions around anything the House does if they fail to demonstrate a real quorum, but plow ahead anyhow.

The Constitution, he said, “requires a physical quorum.”

Pelosi pushed back a short time later, telling reporters that “remote voting by proxy is fully consistent with the Constitution and more than a century of legal precedent, including Supreme Court cases, that make clear that the House can determine its own rules.

“As legal scholars have concluded, the ‘Constitution bestows on each House of Congress broad discretion to determine the rules for its own proceedings. This authority is expansive and would include the ability to adopt a rule to permit proxy voting.'”

She calls McConnell’s comments “deliberately misleading,” adding. “Simply and sadly, he is trying to find every excuse not to meet the needs of the American people.”

Under the new proxy and remote voting rules, the speaker can trigger the processes only after receiving notification from the sergeant-at-arms in consultation with the Capitol physician that there is a public health emergency due to the coronavirus.

Lawmakers unable to travel to the Capitol to cast votes in person could then authorize a colleague to serve as a proxy to vote on their behalf.

Also rising to defend the new emergency procedures was House Rules Committee chairman Rep. James McGovern, D-Ma., who bluntly said McConnell was “flat out wrong” in his assertions on the Senate floor

“The House has the authority to determine its own rules. Leader McConnell should get his own house in order instead of worrying about the procedure used on the other side of the Capitol,” McGovern said. “It’s a disgrace that he is telling struggling Americans to hurry up and wait as the Senate refuses to take up additional coronavirus relief in the middle of a global health and economic emergency.”

Earlier this week, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said despite the new rules, House Democrats expect a good turnout of members on both sides of the aisle when the body meets.

“We do know, however, there are members who [may not be here] for health reasons — either their own health or the health of one of their family members — or transportation issues, which, as you know, are more difficult now with the pandemic going on,” he said. “But our expectation is there will be a good number of members. We do not expect there to be 20 members here. We expect there to be many more.”

“When asked to come to the House to pass critically important legislation, members on both sides of the aisle have been here in large numbers,” Hoyer said.

Congress

Rep. Neal Eyes Massive Coronavirus Relief, Climate and Infrastructure Package
Congress
Rep. Neal Eyes Massive Coronavirus Relief, Climate and Infrastructure Package

WASHINGTON — House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal's attitude toward legislating under a Democratic-led White House might aptly be described as "never let a crisis go to waste." The Massachusetts Democrat wants to take a page from his party's 2009 playbook, when the Obama administration took office amid the wreckage of... Read More

Opening of 117th Congress Will be Different Due to Pandemic
Congress
Opening of 117th Congress Will be Different Due to Pandemic

WASHINGTON — When the 117th Congress convenes in January, COVID-19 precautions will prevent the 435 House members from gathering in the chamber together, so opening day festivities of swearing in members and electing the speaker will look a little different. House leaders have begun discussing how to carry out... Read More

Lawmakers a Step Closer to Averting Dec. 11 Government Shutdown
Congress
Lawmakers a Step Closer to Averting Dec. 11 Government Shutdown

WASHINGTON — Top appropriators reached bipartisan agreement Tuesday on a framework for an omnibus spending package that would avoid a partial government shutdown next month. The compromise forged between the leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations committees sets spending allocations for the dozen bills that fund federal agencies... Read More

Uncalled House Race in Iowa Grows Ever Tighter
2020 Elections
Uncalled House Race in Iowa Grows Ever Tighter
November 25, 2020
by Dan McCue

Throughout the 2020 election cycle a persistent narrative was just how divided the United States has become. But an as-yet uncalled House race in Iowa is taking the concept of a nation equally divided between Republicans and Democrats to a whole new level. Since Monday, the... Read More

Espaillat-Rooney Bill Boosts Funding and Cooperation in the Caribbean
Drugs
Espaillat-Rooney Bill Boosts Funding and Cooperation in the Caribbean
November 24, 2020
by Sean Trambley

WASHINGTON – Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bipartisan measure increasing funding to the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative to help combat corruption and illicit drug trafficking between the United States and Caribbean nations. Introduced by Reps. Adriano Espaillat, D-N.Y., and Francis Rooney, R-Fla.,... Read More

Feinstein Won't Seek Top Democrat Spot on Judiciary Committee
U.S. Senate
Feinstein Won't Seek Top Democrat Spot on Judiciary Committee
November 24, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said Monday she will step down as the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee when the 117th Congress convenes in January, apparently bowing to critics who believe she wasn't aggressive enough in her handling of Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top