Congress must change its rules to temporarily enable Members to vote remotely to ensure continuity of Congress.
Where Does Each Member Stand Two Weeks Later?
(Update, 04/10/20 11:48am): Two weeks ago, our team compiled a database to keep track of Members in the House and Senate who support emergency remote voting.
Support for remote voting measures has grown significantly over the past two weeks. On April 2, the New Democrat Coalition Caucus wrote a letter to leadership urging them to engage in new remote measures. Then, on April 7, the Problem Solvers Caucus sent a bipartisan letter to leadership imploring the House to consider measures to enable Members to work remotely, including voting by phone or videoconference, or having voting machines installed in district offices.
Despite this bipartisan push by Rank and File Members and various caucuses, leadership is still against making any changes to the rules to enable remote voting in Congress. Speaker Pelosi indicated that the House most likely will not come back on its originally planned date of April 20, further disabling Congress’ ability to conduct regular business, schedule for its next round of appropriations, and conduct oversight of the executive branch.
Here are the key findings after two weeks:
- 42 additional Representatives support remote voting. (23 Democrats and 19 Republicans).
- In total, 111 Representatives support remote voting (88 Democrats and 23 Republicans).
- No additional support in the Senate (18 total: 10 Democrats and 8 Republicans).
For weeks, our team has been encouraging the House and Senate to implement rule changes to allow for remote voting — the ability to hold hearings and markups in committees and to pass legislation on the floor. During a time when it is dangerous for lawmakers, staff, and support staff to congregate in person, implementation of temporary rule changes can enable Congress to continue functioning.
Members in both the House and Senate on both sides of the aisle are in support of the rule changes. In the House, CA Reps. Porter and Swalwell wrote a bipartisan letter with almost 70 other House Members to Rules Chairman McGovern urging the House to change its rules. In the Senate, Sens. Portman and Durbin have introduced a resolution with 16 cosponsors to change the rules to allow for remote voting capabilities.
Momentum is still growing, with more Members taking to social media and television to voice their opinions. To help keep track of Members in the House and Senate who support emergency remote voting, we created a database and will continue to update it as more information comes in.
Here are the key finding from our database so far:
- 18 Senators support remote voting (10 Democrats and 8 Republicans)
- 69 Representatives support remote voting (65 Democrats and 4 Republicans)