Republican Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and Democratic Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin on Thursday introduced a resolution that would allow senators to vote remotely during national emergencies.
The two senators introduced the bi-partisan resolution “to Maintain Senate’s Constitutional Responsibilities & Allow Remote Voting During National Emergencies” which would allow senators to vote remotely, as the coronavirus continues to spread throughout the U.S.
In times of extraordinary national crisis, the Senate must be able to convene and act expeditiously even if we can’t be together in person.
That is why today @SenatorDurbin and I will introduce legislation to allow senators to vote remotely during a national crisis.
— Rob Portman (@senrobportman) March 19, 2020
“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,” Portman said in a statement.
“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,” he continued
A number of members of Congress in both the House and the Senate have announced they are self-quarantining as coronavirus continues to spread throughout the U.S. Many Republican Congressmen decided to self-quarantine after meeting the individual who attended the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) while infected with coronavirus. (RELATED: Here Are All The Members Of Congress Who Have Self-Quarantined Due To Coronavirus)
“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-changin’,” Durbin said.
Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was the first to announce the self-quarantine, saying that he will be staying home in Texas for the week after he was informed that he met the individual who attended CPAC who is infected with coronavirus. (RELATED: Ted Cruz To Stay Home In Texas For One Week After Saying He Met Person With Coronavirus At CPAC)
Cruz made it clear in a statement that he has not had any symptoms since the interaction at the conference and that it was a quick conversation and a handshake, but he said in order to be safe he will be staying home instead of returning back to Washington D.C. Cruz also said he has spoken with health officials across the board.
A number of members of Congress have received tests for coronavirus. President Donald Trump received a test for the virus, which came back negative. Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham on Sunday also announced that he tested negative for coronavirus.