- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 21, 2020

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday defended the Democrats’ historic proxy voting resolution as the chamber is set to put the new rules to the test next week.

Mrs. Pelosi said she isn’t sure how many members will take advantage of the new rules, but she said leadership is ready for the historic new procedures.

“If some people should stay home because of a health issue — thank you for not sharing. We’d rather you do stay home. And if transportation is difficult in that regard we want their voices to be heard,” she said. “The planning that has gone into it has been very smart.”

The historic rules change passed on a 217-189 vote, with Republican leadership arguing the measure was a tradition-breaking power grab.

The temporary 45-day emergency rule change would officially allow members to do committee work virtually and vote by designating certain proxies to cast their vote for them. Members can only proxy for up to 10 members at a time, and the instructions must be recorded in writing.

Mrs. Pelosi officially authorized proxy voting for next week, when the House is expected to vote on the Senate-amended FISA reauthorization bill.

She told reporters she’s not sure when the House will be ready to come back in person, noting that it isn’t just lawmakers that she’s concerned about but members of the press, security and staff, as well.

“We will be back in full force when we are able to,” Mrs. Pelosi said. “We are constantly preparing for that time.”

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