Apr 6, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Pelosi announces new system for submitting House bills electronically

Pelosi
Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Monday that the House is establishing a secure email system for lawmakers to electronically submit all floor documents, including "bills, resolutions, co-sponsors and extensions of remarks," in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Why it matters: Congressional leadership has been struggling for weeks with how to continue governing during the coronavirus pandemic while also protecting the health and safety of its members. Many lawmakers are over the age of 60 or have underlying health conditions that put them at a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus.  

The House's normal rules — which require in-person votes and floor debates — are not very conducive to working remotely. This newest policy is a signal that Congress is bracing for a longer period of having members work from their home districts as the virus persists. 

  • Other ideas that have been proposed include electronic voting and videoconferencing. 
  • The policy will be in effect from Tuesday through April 19, but it could be extended if necessary.

What to watch: The House is scheduled to return to session on April 20, at which point it could consider another round of legislation to stem the economic and public health impacts of the pandemic.

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