Members of the U.S. House of Representatives will be able to continue voting by proxy – rather than inside the Capitol – at least until Nov. 16.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the extension Wednesday, the Washington Examiner reported.
The temporary policy, which Pelosi has now extended three times since it was implemented in May because of the coronavirus, had been set to expire Friday, the report said.
The policy lets a House member present in the Capitol submit votes on behalf of as many as 10 colleagues who are not in attendance.
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When the policy first took effect in May, it ended a 231-year requirement that each lawmaker be present in order to cast a vote on legislation, according to the Examiner.
But the unusual circumstance of the coronavirus prompted House Democrats to vote in favor of the policy as part of efforts to reduce the spread of the virus, which has now killed more than 207,000 Americans, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The vote in May was 217-189, largely along party lines.
Republicans blasted the move as an “unconstitutional power grab” by Pelosi, with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., arguing that lawmakers shouldn’t be paid to stay home.
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“A virtual Congress would be a Congress that is connected to the Internet, but disconnected from the American people,” McCarthy said at the time.
Democrats noted that Washington was a virus hotspot at the time and noted that some lawmakers and staff on Capitol Hill had already caught the virus.