C-SPAN to air video statements from lawmakers on coronavirus response bill

C-SPAN to air video statements from lawmakers on coronavirus response bill
© Greg Nash

At the request of House leadership, C-SPAN said Thursday that it plans to air "brief video statements" from lawmakers explaining their positions on the $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill since they are unable to travel to the Capitol for the floor vote.

The House is set to convene Friday morning after the Senate voted 96-0 on legislation late Wednesday night.

The Senate bill would provide individual checks of up to $1,200 to individual Americans, boost unemployment insurance payments and and offer loans to businesses hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

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House leaders in both parties plan to pass the bill by voice vote to avoid forcing all members to return to the Capitol and potentially expose themselves and others to the coronavirus.

But the videos aired by C-SPAN will allow lawmakers a way to state their positions on the bill in the absence of being able to participate in House floor debate that would be broadcast by the public affairs network.

"With many members unable to travel to Washington for Friday's vote, C-SPAN is working with congressional leadership of both parties to dedicate airtime to House members' brief video statements explaining their positions on the emergency coronavirus relief legislation," C-SPAN said in a statement.

C-SPAN said it expects the lawmakers' statements will air in blocks during prime time next week.

A spokeswoman for House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerLobbying world Procedural politics: What just happened with the coronavirus bill? DC argues it is shortchanged by coronavirus relief bill MORE (D-Md.) confirmed that he is "encouraging Members who will not be on the House Floor during debate to record video statements, so that they can express their views on the legislation remotely."

The video statements will also appear on a website being created by Hoyer's office, the spokeswoman added.

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A handful of House members are indicating that they plan to show up to the House chamber on Friday to express their positions on the bill.

It's possible that one lawmaker could demand a roll call vote, but Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi calls for investigation into reports of mistreatment of pregnant women in DHS custody Wisconsin highlights why states need a bipartisan plan that doesn't include Democrats federalizing elections Pelosi defends push for mail-in voting: GOP 'afraid' to let people vote MORE (D-Calif.) expressed confidence that the bill will pass on Friday "one way or another."

"Our members want to come back in order to have the debate, and we expect to have a voice vote on it. But if we don't, we'll be prepared for whatever it is. One way or another, with losing no time with [unanimous consent] or anything else, we will be passing the bill tomorrow," Pelosi said at a press conference Thursday.

Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving and Brian Monahan, the House attending physician, issued a memo Thursday outlining procedures to enforce social distancing in and around the House chamber. Those rules will include limiting access to the House floor during debate on the coronavirus relief bill to lawmakers who are scheduled to speak.

Lawmakers will also be required to use hand sanitizer before entering and exiting the House chamber.

"Members should use extreme care and deliberation when making the determination to travel to Washington, D.C.," they wrote. "Please note that throughout the vote, we will be monitoring the number of Members in the Capitol and on the Floor to ensure we maintain safe social distancing at all times. Members who are ill with respiratory symptoms or fever are discouraged from attending."