Last week news broke that the United States had the most confirmed coronavirus cases of any nation worldwide. Now, as experts have stated, this doesn’t mean that we have all that many more actual cases than most other countries similar in size, it just means we have tested more. And as much as we have already tested and done to combat the spread of the disease, there is more that can be done.
One such possibility is to pass a law that allows our congressional members to vote remotely while staying at home or in quarantine. President Donald Trump has mentioned this as a possible solution to fight the spread further into or government and the communities these lawmakers live in. This would also allow our Congress to carry on making and amending laws, and leading our nation into a better future.
The idea, which seems like a no brainer to most, has even already been put into motion, with Republican Senator Rob Portman from Ohio and Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois introducing a bipartisan resolution. If passed, it would allow the Senate to vote remotely during times of national crisis or emergencies, such as the current pandemic.
Portman said in a statement, “In times of a national emergency, the Senate must be able to convene and act expeditiously even if we can’t be together in person. It’s during times like this when we have a pandemic affecting every corner of society and we are asking people to stay in their homes, that we should have the ability to convene the Senate and get our work done even if we can’t be in the Capitol.”
And he most certainly has a point.
Portman added, “While I know there is resistance to changing a Senate tradition to allow for remote voting during national emergencies, I believe this is an important issue and worthy of robust discussion amongst our Senate colleagues.”
Already, at least five members of the House of Representatives and one senator have been positively diagnosed with the virus. These, as well as quite a few other members of Congress, have self-quarantined, as is expected, but work is still needed to be done.
Senator Durbin says, “We live in an age where national emergencies, public health crises, and terrorism can threaten the ordinary course of Senate business. We need to bring voting in the Senate into the 21st century so that our important work can continue even under extraordinary circumstances. Bob Dylan was right: ‘the times they are a-changing.’”
And Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina agrees. He tweeted on Monday, “I totally support the idea of remote voting so the Senate can continue to operate during the crisis.”
But not everyone is as so supportive.
Take House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, for instance.
On Monday, she told PBC Correspondent Lisa Desjardins that she didn’t even want to talk about it. she said, “let’s not waste time,” discussing “something that’s not going to happen.” The speaker added that if it ever happened, it would be far into the future.
But I have to ask why she thinks it will never happen. After all, everyone is concerned about their own health at the moment, and no one wants to put themselves in danger. You would Pelosi, at her age, would understand that more than most.
Not only is she in the most “at-risk” group in the world, but she was known to have a private conversation just a few days ago with the most recent member of Congress to have tested positive for COVID-19. Representative Nydia Velazquez reported on Monday that the Office of the Attending Physician had diagnosed her with the virus the night before.
But on Friday, during and after the vote for the new stimulus package, she was near Pelosi, according to Roll Call.
All of those Congress members who met that day could now be infected, Pelosi included. And if Congress continues to meet in person, it could mean devastation.
To put this in perspective, our Congress is made up of 535 sitting members, with 435 in the House of Representatives and 100 in the Senate. And each of those has entire office staff, most with families of their own.
Pelosi not wanting to even discuss the idea is not only dangerous to herself but could also be deadly to thousands more.
What an entirely selfish person…