This resolution would change the rules of the House of Representatives until 45 days after the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency ends to allow members to cast their vote remotely by proxy and committees to conduct hearings remotely. It would also allow members to cast their vote remotely using technology if a determination is made that the technology is operable and secure.
Remote voting by proxy would be permitted on the House floor during the public health emergency, and all members voting remotely would be counted toward a quorum. Members would be required to send a letter to the House Clerk to designate a proxy, and proxies could be empowered to vote on any vote before the House whether its procedural, on an amendment, or final passage. Members voting remotely would be given 24-hours notice before any final passage vote to ensure that they can secure a proxy if they haven’t yet designated one.
Proxies would have to receive exact written instruction from the member voting by proxy for each vote and would be required to follow that instruction precisely. Members couldn’t serve as a proxy for more than ten members. For the purpose of transparency, a list of designated proxies would be posted on the House Clerk’s website and a list of members voting remotely would be printed in the Congressional Record following each vote. Additionally, members’ votes will be read aloud during the vote.
Committees would be authorized to hold virtual hearings, markups, and depositions so that members can carry out oversight, fact-finding, and prepare legislation for the floor. Committee chairs could choose to hold entirely virtual hearings with members participating from any location, or they can hold proceedings in a hearing room with some members participating remotely. Members participating remotely would count towards a quorum and be able to vote. Committees would be required to use technology approved by the House Administration Committee for remote participation.
The House Administration Committee would be directed to study the feasibility of using technology to vote remotely in the House and certify that there is an operable and secure technology for remote voting. After the certification, the Rules Committee would be directed to issue regulations on the implementation of remote voting. The House Speaker would then be authorized to notify the House that members could cast votes remotely during the public health emergency.