House Democrats are preparing to pass a resolution Friday that would set up a recess lasting until July 21.
Lawmakers returned to the Capitol for only the third time since mid-March, when the House recessed due to the threat of the coronavirus.
They will vote on a $3 trillion economic aid package as well as a resolution allowing virtual committee business and proxy voting for the next 45 days unless renewed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat.
The measure includes a provision “that allows the House to remain in recess until July 21,” a Republican leadership aide said.
The language is included in a resolution dictating the rules of debate. It allows Democrats “to declare the House adjourned to meet at a date and time to be announced by the Chair in declaring the adjournment,” from May 19 until July 21.
A top Democratic aide said the provision was needed to block lawmakers (likely Republicans, who oppose the recess) from calling up votes during the pro forma sessions held every three days.
Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern, a Massachusetts Democrat, pointed out that the coronavirus had killed nearly 90,000 people in the United States.
“This situation demands a whole-of-government response that matches the challenges we face,” he said Friday morning during debate on the rules change. “We must temporarily embrace technology during this unprecedented time so we can continue to legislate as safely as possible.”
Republicans oppose the rules change allowing remote work.
They want the House to return to work in four steps, beginning with subcommittee work.
“Even as the American people want to get back to work and for Congress to do its job in Washington, Speaker Pelosi is preparing the House for extended recess — even beyond the initial 45-day proxy voting period,” Mark Bednar, a spokesman for Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, said.
Author: Susan Ferrechio
Source: Washington Examiner: House Democrats signal they could recess until July 21