March 23, 2020
Report Examining Voting Options During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Last week, Speaker Pelosi asked me to issue a report on the House Rules concerning Member voting during the COVID-19 pandemic. This request came at a time when many Members on both sides of the aisle have expressed concerns regarding traveling and congregating en masse as this pandemic continues to spread across the country.
Although some Members are able to come back to Washington and vote in person, I know we are all balancing extremely tough decisions including quarantines, treatment for this virus, caring for loved ones diagnosed with COVID-19, social distancing guidelines, and public health concerns.
Regardless, every Member is committed to helping our nation combat the impacts of this pandemic. The question isn’t whether we act, it is how.
Congress has already passed two measures to address the economic and health impacts caused by COVID-19. I hope that Democrats and Republicans on both sides of the Capitol can come together once again on the third package that is currently under discussion. Clearly, the quickest and likely best path forward is for Congress to pass that measure by unanimous consent or by voice vote. Short of that, there are a few difficult options that we can consider utilizing as outlined in the enclosed report.
This is a moment of national emergency. The COVID-19 pandemic is already causing significant health and economic hardships across the country. It is imperative that we act swiftly in the weeks and months ahead in a way that preserves the integrity of the institution so that we can continue to respond not just to this crisis, but future emergencies as well.
Please find the text of the report here for a review of options available to the House in order to continue the business of the people. While I have concluded this report, I am still available to discuss your ideas. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me or my staff regarding any questions you may have. Together, we will get through these difficult times.
James P. McGovern
Committee on Rules