With Move to Remote Voting, House Alters What It Means for Congress to Meet
When the House of Representatives acted on Friday to allow remote voting and virtual hearings, the coronavirus pandemic officially succeeded in doing what Philadelphia’s yellow fever outbreak of 1793, the Spanish influenza of 1918, the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and generations of agitators for institutional change never could: untethering Congress from its mandate to come together physically.
Those earlier crises prompted novel contingency plans and prolonged recesses. But for 231 years, since the founding members of the body first laid out their rules in 1789, to cast a vote or fully participate in a hearing, lawmakers were required to be present, notwithstanding the state of the nation. To be a Congress, as the word suggests, people had to come together.
“No member shall vote on any questions,” the rules …continued .
[Source: New York Times]