House approves $ 3 trillion dollars in Covid aid and historical rules change to allow for remote voting

House approves $3 trillion Covid-19 aid bill

The measure was approved with a vote of 208-199 despite opposition from Republicans and some moderate and progressive Democrats. Fourteen Democrats crossed the party lines to vote against it and one Republican voted in favor.

The legislation, which reflects democratic priorities and was not a product of the bipartisan negotiations, would represent the largest aid package in the history of the United States and leaders of the Democratic Chamber have argued that the package, which allocates funding for state and local governments, coronavirus tests and a new round of direct payments to Americans is urgently needed to deal with the crisis.

However, the Republicans made it clear that he died on arrival in the GOP-controlled Senate. Democrats also faced criticism and rejection by moderates troubled by the fact that the bill did not have broad bipartisan support and progressives who believe that the bill has not gone far enough to help Americans cope with the fallout from the pandemic.

As a sign of how serious that rejection was, House president Nancy Pelosi worked to block support for the bill before the final vote, with multiple sources involved in the vote-counting effort that told CNN that Pelosi worked hard behind the scenes to make sure he got the grades.

Asked before the vote on how hard he worked on the vote, Pelosi told CNN on Friday, “as usual” and said she was “confident” that the bill would pass.

Pelosi, a California Democrat, defended the bill Thursday against attacks that call him a partisan, saying: “We are putting our offer on the table. We are open to negotiations.”

But most Republicans rejected the aid package as a liberal wish list. They argued that it is too early to move forward with another far-reaching legislative response to the pandemic without first waiting to see the results of trillions of dollars in aid that has already been put in place.

Republicans have also criticized the proposed modification of the rules to allow remote voting and the work of the remote committee as a partisan takeover that will upset the institutional tradition. Democratic leaders say that proxy proxy voting will ensure that legislators can continue to legislate safely and effectively during the pandemic.

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The Democrats approved the change in the rules, which significantly alters the way the House conducts legislative affairs, on the Republican opposition with a vote of 217-189. The change will allow the camera to operate remotely for the first time in its 200-year history.

House officials went ahead with the bill despite the defections

A number of moderates came out in opposition to the $ 3 billion aid legislation before the final vote, including vulnerable lawmakers in competitive battle districts.

Freshman Democratic Reps. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia, Kendra Horn of Oklahoma, Ben McAdams of Utah, Joe Cunningham of South Carolina, Cindy Axne of Iowa and Elaine Luria of Virginia have all stated in advance on the vote that they opposed and have indicated that they intend to oppose voting against .

Democratic representative Haley Stevens, a freshman from Michigan’s swinging district who has been the subject of an intense lobbying campaign, announced not long before the final vote that she would support the bill. She was signaling to her leadership that she would vote against it, but had been under pressure all day, several sources told CNN.

The legislation has also raised complaints from some progressive legislators.

Representative Pramila Jayapal, co-president of the Caucus Progressive Chamber, said Friday that she was voting against the bill. She and a number of other progressives had been frustrated that their salary guarantee proposal was not included in the bill.

GOP representative Pete King also indicated in view of the final vote that he would cross the party lines and support the measure. The New York Republican planned to vote for the measure, his CNN spokesman said earlier in the week.

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The legislation presented earlier this week also did not include recurring monthly payments, which some progressives had pushed for.

The legislation would provide nearly $ 1 trillion dollars for state and local governments, a $ 200 billion fund for essential risk benefits for workers, an additional $ 75 billion for Covid-19 tests, tracking efforts and isolation and a new series of direct payments to Americans of up to $ 6,000 per family, according to the House Appropriations Committee.
States are facing severe tax revenue shortages in the wake of economic devastation and deficits could amount to $ 650 billion in three years, according to an estimate by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a left-wing think tank. Budget deficits are forcing states to consider layoffs and reduced funding for education, public colleges, health and human services, parks and recreational activities and even public safety.

With the four previous coronavirus relief measures, house Democrats have partnered with Senate Republicans and the Trump administration to negotiate bipartisan agreements. But it is unclear if and when a bipartisan consensus can be reached on another package, despite the fact that American public opinion and the American economy continue to feel the devastating impact of the disease.

How remote voting rules work

The change in the rules approved on Friday will authorize the temporary implementation of remote voting by proxy in the event of a public health emergency due to the coronavirus. It also allows remote committee proceedings during the pandemic.

Under the rule change, lawmakers who are unable or unwilling to travel during the pandemic will be allowed to designate delegates by sending letters to the House employee. Delegates will be required to “receive exact written instructions” from members who use them as delegates, according to the House Rules Committee.

Each member can only act as a proxy for up to 10 other legislators.

Once enacted, the authorization for remote voting and remote committee activities will remain in effect for a period of 45 days, after which it may be extended if the public health emergency persists.

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The resolution also highlights the more advanced technology options for remote voting in the future after a system has been developed and certified, directing the president of the House’s Administrative Committee to study the feasibility of using the technology to vote remotely at the Room. House majority leader Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, suggested that members may one day use technologies such as FaceTime to call House employees to cast their vote.

Members observed social withdrawal during Friday’s vows

As with previous House votes during the pandemic, lawmakers were asked to adhere to social removal protocols during Friday’s votes. Washington remains under a domicile order, which has recently been extended until June 8.

A notice sent to all members by the attending physician and by the sergeant of arms advised lawmakers to keep 6 feet of social distance whenever they are on Capitol Hill. The use of face coatings is “strongly recommended” for members and staff during “any process when it may not be possible to maintain” this amount of separation.

They also recommended that members avoid using elevators on Capitol Hill, which under normal circumstances become tight with legislators as members travel to and from the House to vote.

The vote was conducted in alphabetic groups of approximately 72 members each to minimize the number of people on the House floor at any given time. Members were also asked to leave parliament quickly after voting, to avoid large congregations and to allow votes to proceed as quickly as possible.

This story was updated to include additional reactions and background information on Friday.

Lauren Fox, Betsy Klein and Tami Luhby of CNN contributed to this report.


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