Members of the House of Representatives will not return to Washington, D.C., before May 4, House Democratic leader Steny Hoyer said Monday.
Lawmakers in the lower 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 in a letter to representatives they won’t be required to return “absent an emergency.”
The letter said lawmakers will receive sufficient notice if they’re required to return to the Capitol to vote on additional coronavirus aid legislation before that date.
Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., told C-SPAN she doesn’t think it possible that representatives will 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 on Monday postponed action on coronavirus relief proposals until at least Thursday. It wasn’t immediately clear if the Senate will also delay its return, scheduled for April 20.
Last month, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, introduced a proposal to change rules to allow senators to vote remotely during a national crisis like the coronavirus outbreak.
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