House Republicans are urging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to end proxy voting, which is in effect due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Pelosi announced on Monday evening that she is “hereby extending the ‘covered period’ designated on January 4, 2021 … until July 3, 2021.” This comes after the acting sergeant-at-arms wrote that “the public health emergency” due to COVID-19 “remains in effect.”
In response, several Republican lawmakers penned a letter to the House speaker, writing, “It is time we follow the science, lead by example, and fully return to work to serve the American people.”
After noting that at least 75% of Congressmembers are fully vaccinated, the lawmakers added, “Ineffective remote procedures have hindered Congressional operations for too long and should not continue for the duration of the 117th Congress.”
Those who signed the letter include House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), among others.
Proxy voting and remote committee proceedings began after the House passed a resolution in May of 2020.
“The flawed system of proxy voting and extended vote times has led to exorbitant delays on the House floor,” the lawmakers wrote. “In addition, burdensome virtual committee hearings permeated with technical difficulties have failed to deliver timely debate and quality legislation on behalf of the American people.”
“While we appreciate that the COVID-19 crisis yielded unprecedented circumstances, there is simply no scientific or public health need to continue entertaining these restrictive practices. We have accomplished an incredible milestone in defeating the virus, now we must serve as a model for our nation to restore, rebuild, renew, and resume America.”
The lawmakers also cited U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance issued last week recommending “fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting.”
So far this week in the Senate, senators have largely shed their masks, The Hill reports.
The U.S. continues to see a decline in positive COVID-19 cases reported, as well as deaths related to the coronavirus. COVID-19-related deaths are at the lowest levels since July and new COVID-19 cases are at their lowest since September, according to The New York Times.
More than 274 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the U.S., as of Monday morning. Roughly 37% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated and about 48% have received at least one dose, according to the Times.
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