Apr 6, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Pelosi announces new system for submitting House bills electronically

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.

Go deeper

The EU makes its move on a green coronavirus recovery

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The European Commission this morning proposed a $825 billion package of economic responses to the coronavirus pandemic that includes financing for renewable energy, electric vehicle charging and other emissions-friendly projects.

Why it matters: The energy components of the "Next Generation EU" plan, part of a wider multi-year budget proposal, appear to be the most substantial attempt yet to stitch low-carbon investments into economic recovery plans.

Zipline drones deliver masks to hospitals; vaccines could be next

Zipline's drone drops medical supplies via parachute. Image courtesy of Zipline.

Zipline, a California drone company, has made its U.S. debut by delivering medical supplies to hospitals in North Carolina under a pilot program honed in Africa.

Why it matters: The effort, made possible by a waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration to Novant Health, is the nation's longest-range drone delivery operation and could demonstrate how drones could be used in future pandemics, Zipline officials said.

NHL unveils 24-team playoff plan to return from coronavirus hiatus

Data: NHL; Table: Axios Visuals

The NHL unveiled its return-to-play plan on Tuesday, formally announcing that 24 of its 31 teams will return for a playoff tournament in two hub cities, if and when medically cleared.

Why it matters: Hockey is the first major North American sports league to sketch out its plans to return from a coronavirus-driven hiatus in such detail, and it's also the first one to officially pull the plug on its regular season, which will trigger ticket refunds.