Hoyer, Lofgren, McGovern Statement on Proposal Put Forward by Republicans on the Virtual Congress Task Force

WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD), Committee on House Administration Chairperson Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and Rules Committee Chairman James P. McGovern (D-MA) released the following statement in response to a proposal made by Republicans on the Virtual Congress Task Force:

“On substance, the proposal made by Leader McCarthy, Ranking Member Cole, and Ranking Member Davis falls woefully short of reopening the House for legislative business. Their proposal only covers hearings, and even then wouldn’t enable fully-remote proceedings. We need rules that allow the House to conduct oversight of the COVID-19 response, mark up critical legislation, and take votes on the House Floor without needlessly putting countless Capitol Police, staff, press, and non-partisan support staff at additional risk. While our work is essential, getting our work done during this pandemic in the twenty-first century should not endanger the health of hundreds of Members and potentially thousands of people convening in the Capitol, especially as COVID-19 cases in the National Capital Region continue to rise. 
“This is a difficult time, but there are solutions to the problems we face. House committees have already been holding public meetings online successfully.  Legislatures around the world and in our states have been able to carry out their business without sacrificing public safety. We can too, and we must be ready for the next wave of infections until a vaccine is available.
“We intend to keep working with Minority Leader McCarthy and Reps. Cole and Davis on how, in light of the extraordinary circumstances caused by COVID-19, to ensure that the Congress can fully function and exercise its constitutional duties and responsibilities.  We strongly believe that technology will allow us to do that without ‘fundamentally altering how the House operates,’ about which they expressed concerns.
“We are hopeful that the House in the near future will be able to go back to its traditional meeting practices.  But, until that time, it will be our objective to use the technologies now available to us to do the people’s work.  We will do so in a way, as our Republican colleagues suggested, that ‘preserves enduring institutional rules while prioritizing Member health’ – and, we would add, to the health of staff, press, and visitors.”

May 5, 2020