WASHINGTON (UPI) — Members of the House of Representatives will not return to Washington before May 4, House Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer said Monday.
Lawmakers in the chamber were expected to return from their districts on April 20 after an extended absence due to the global COVID-19 pandemic but Hoyer’s office said that they will not be required to return “absent an emergency” in a letter to representatives.
The letter stated that lawmakers would also receive sufficient notice if they would be required to return to the Capitol to vote on legislation related to the coronavirus before that date.
Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., told C-SPAN she does not think it possible that representatives would return next week.
“I have no interest in going back now. How do you get there? Train? Plane? Last time I got there, I drove for about five hours. People across the country are not going to take a chance,” she said. “Unless it’s safe, I think we are better off doing our work, as we have been doing, passing bills by unanimous consent.”
Hoyer’s letter came as the Senate postponed action on additional coronavirus relief proposals to at least Thursday.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the Senate would also delay its return to the Capitol scheduled for April 20.
In March, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, introduced a proposal to change the Senate’s rules to allow senators to vote remotely during a national crisis such as the coronavirus outbreak.
Reporting by Daniel Uria
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