House committee advances new rules that would let members vote remotely to avoid COVID-19 exposure
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in 2019. Image: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

On Thursday, NBC News' Alex Moe reported that House Rules Committee chairman Jim McGovern (D-MA) has issued a series of recommended rule changes that would allow members of the House to vote by proxy.

Under the rule change, which would be on a temporary basis to prevent the spread of COVID-19, members can cast votes on behalf of other members who are absent, minimizing the number of representatives who would need to physically be at the Capitol. The rules would require absent members issue an "exact instruction" to a present member, and transmit a digital letter to the house clerk authorizing the present member to vote on their behalf.

These rules would need to be adopted by a House resolution.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have for weeks resisted calls to implement such a system, believing that pandemic precautions can be taken without a dramatic deviation from congressional tradition.