The House on Friday may vote on the massive, $2-trillion coronavirus relief package, the final step before it goes to President Donald Trump for his signature.
A number of members, however, are likely to absent, as many are still in their home districts this week. Some are self-quarantining. Some are in states with stay-at-home orders. Two members have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Instead, C-SPAN said that it is working with the leadership of both parties to gather brief video statements from members that will be aired in blocks during primetime next week. That will be a first for the public affairs network, which is financed by the cable industry.
As of now, the plan is to vote on the legislation by voice vote, as opposed to a roll call vote, but those plans could be stymied if there are objections.
The House’s sergeant-at-arms, Paul Irving, and attending physician, Brian Monahan, sent a note to House members on Thursday setting out a number of social distancing restrictions designed to prevent lawmakers from gathering in groups. Among other things, they are limiting access to the floor to members who are scheduled to speak during the debate. Then, when the vote takes place, they will notify members from their offices to come to the floor, where they will required to wash their hands with sanitizer before entering and departing the chamber.
If there is a call for a recorded vote, which is entirely possible, the members will be called to the floor alphabetically in groups.
The House also is advising members who are still out of D.C. to think carefully about making the trip. “Members should use extreme care and deliberation when making the determination to travel to Washington, D.C.,” Irving and Monahan wrote.
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