Rep. Katie Porter: Congress should be 'leading by example' and allowing remote voting

Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) said Thursday that Congress should be “leading by example” and allowing remote voting during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The California representative told MSNBC’s “MTP Daily” that Congress should follow in the lead of the schools and organizations it’s instructing to “be creative” and to “adapt” to a new environment without meeting in person.

“It’s really important that we show the American people the work that we’re doing right now, and we can use technology to do that,” she said. “We need to be leading by example."

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Porter said she’s been calling for remote voting for almost six weeks, but congressional leaders of both parties are holding up efforts to do that. She said she gave a letter to Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Justice Department says Trump's tax returns should be released | Democrats fall short of votes for extending eviction ban House adjourns for recess without passing bill to extend federal eviction ban Photos of the Week: Olympic sabre semi-finals, COVID-19 vigil and a loris MORE (D-Calif.) when the House adjourned in March signed by 50 bipartisan representatives. 

The California lawmaker said she has participated in House Financial Services Committee briefings in the past couple of months, but the committee rules forbid the representatives from swearing in witnesses and holding official hearings.    

“I flew here from California yesterday in anticipation of being able to make those kinds of rule changes, and it’s disappointing to me that we’re not doing it,” she said. “I think we need to treat this as a long-term challenge, and we in Congress need to rise to the challenge.”

The House delayed plans to vote this week on a rule change to permit remote voting during the pandemic after Republicans condemned the proposed rules. A bipartisan group of representatives is now designated to study the possibility of remote voting. 

Businesses across the country have closed or moved to remote working environments as the coronavirus pandemic led governors to implement stay-at-home orders. The U.S. has counted at least 867,459 cases of the virus and 49,804 fatalities, according to data from Johns Hopkins University