Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) ripped House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's attempt to change the voting rules at the eleventh hour. Or, rather, at the 2 o'clock in the morning hour. The Democrat wanted to introduce proxy voting for their upcoming vote on the Payment Protection Program to protect the health of lawmakers during the coronavirus, she claimed. But Republicans weren't having it.
"You saw an effort yesterday, by Nancy Pelosi—in secret at 2:30 in the morning—to drop a document to literally change the way Congress has voted for over 200 years. To go to some proxy system that had never been vetted," Scalise said. "Was not a bipartisan effort.”
Scalise accuses Pelosi of "dropping at 2:30 in the morning" the proxy voting system. Says it was a process "which has never been vetted. "They literally dropped a bill in the dark of night."— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) April 22, 2020
"Any changes of this magnitude must be done in a thoughtful, bipartisan manner through regular order and with input from all members of the House," Scalise's office said. "Instead, the Speaker is choosing to capitalize on the crisis and jam through a rules change that could have serious constitutional and institutional repercussions."
GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy added the idea was not well thought out and could result in some funny business.
McCarthy says proxy vote system proposed by the House is wrong. Says it needs to be "thought out." Says one member could hold as many as 30 proxy votes— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) April 22, 2020
After some debate, Pelosi finally gave up the stunt.
"We strongly urged against it," Scalise added. "We whipped against it yesterday. And I'm glad that Speaker Pelosi pulled that bad idea today."
The House plans to move forward with a previously scheduled vote on Thursday on additional funding for the Payment Protection Program, but they'll proceed with caution. It will be staggered voting, with lawmakers entering the House chamber in nine different groups based on their time slots. The measure, which passed the Senate on Tuesday, will provide an additional $310 billion for small businesses impacted by the coronavirus.
Pelosi and McCarthy are currently working on a plan to reopen Congress in phases.
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