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Pelosi accuses McConnell of misleading public over House remote voting rules

Pelosi accuses McConnell of misleading public over House remote voting rules
© Greg Nash

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump seeks to freeze .4 billion of programs in final week of presidency Dozens on FBI's terrorist watchlist were in DC day of Capitol riot Porter loses seat on House panel overseeing financial sector MORE (D-Calif.) accused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump seeks to freeze .4 billion of programs in final week of presidency McConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time Murkowski blasts Trump's election claims, calls House impeachment appropriate MORE (R-Ky.) of “deliberately misleading” the public on Thursday about the remove voting rules approved for the House last week in a party-line vote. 

“Leader McConnell’s comments are deliberately misleading, as proxy voting has long been used by Senate committees," Pelosi said in a statement. "Simply and sadly, he is trying to find every excuse not to meet the needs of the American people.”

McConnell, in remarks on the Senate floor on Thursday, criticized Democrats for not returning to Washington and said their remove voting rules would allow one member to cast 10 "additional votes."

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“One person, 11 votes? Remember, these are the people who want to remake every state’s election laws," said McConnell, who argued this change would violate the Constitution. 

The rules changes approved by the House allow Pelosi to allow remote voting after receiving a notification from the sergeant-at-arms in consultation with the Capitol physician that there is a public health emergency due to the coronavirus. 

Lawmakers unable to travel to the Capitol to cast votes in person can now authorize a colleague to serve as a proxy to vote on their behalf. A single lawmaker can serve as a proxy for up to 10 colleagues.

The idea behind the move is to cut down on the number of House members who need to be in Washington, which remains under a stay-at-home order.

The House also has more than four times as many members as the Senate, making social distancing more difficult.

Republicans in the House opposed the rules changes, however, and argue members should vote in person. 

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McConnell warned the House will need a quorum, which requires a majority of members to be present, if they are to hold votes.

He also broadly criticized Democrats in the House for not being in Washington. 

“They’ve worked through a Civil War, two World Wars, terrorist threats, and a prior pandemic without trying to shirk this duty. The 12th Congress endured the War of 1812, including the occupation of Washington and the burning of this Capitol building, without abandoning in-person meetings,” he said.