May 14, 2020

New Democrat Coalition Chair Statement on H.Res 965

Today, New Democrat Coalition (NDC) Chair Derek Kilmer (WA-06) released the following statement before the vote on legislation to allow temporary changes for remote voting on the House Floor and virtual committee proceedings during the coronavirus pandemic. NDC Members strongly support the House and Committees returning to regular order facilitated by remote or virtual options, and have pushed for these changes for weeks.

“The public health crisis at hand—which has turned things upside down for families, students, frontline workers, and small businesses alike—is simply too big of a challenge to wait for action. Like so many businesses across our country, Congress is adapting to the new safety measures dictated by this crisis. With these new changes instituted, Congress can continue to make progress for the people and respond to this crisis.” 

Specifically, H.Res. 965 authorizes remote voting by proxy in the House of Representatives and provides the framework for official remote committee proceedings during a public health emergency. The temporary changes would allow Members to vote remotely on the House Floor and enable committees to engage in full virtual hearings and markups in order to conduct essential oversight and advance legislation as our nation confronts the health and economic crises posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. These changes are temporary and can only be used during this coronavirus pandemic. More on the resolution. 

The NDC was the first ideological caucus to send a letter to House Democratic Leadership and Chairs of the Standing House Committees urging that they engage new tools to return to regular order despite the challenges of remote work. More recently, NDC Leadership Members, led by NDC Chair Derek Kilmer (WA-06), sent a letter to House Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Hoyer, House Rules Committee Chairman McGovern, and House Administration Committee Chairperson Lofgren requesting a vote to temporarily implement remote voting and authorize virtual committee proceedings until public health officials provide guidance that it would be safe for all Members and staff to physically return to the House full time.