House Leadership, Ranking Members Request Pelosi Follow Science, Reopen Congress
May 18, 2021
Today, House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK) joined Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-AR) on a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), calling on her to cease remote voting measures and return the House of Representatives to regular order. Every committee ranking member and member of Republican leadership joined the letter as signatories. In part, the members wrote:
"We write today to request that you cease all proxy voting measures and all remote committee proceedings in the House of Representatives for the remainder of the 117th Congress. It is time we follow the science, lead by example, and fully return to work to serve the American people. More than 272 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered and at least 75 percent of members of Congress have been fully vaccinated, with all members and congressional staff having access to the vaccine. Most recently, on May 13, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued updated guidance that recommends 'fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting.' Additionally, the Office of the Attending Physician (OAP) has issued guidance that fully vaccinated members and staff 'can resume activities that [they] did prior to the pandemic.' Ineffective remote procedures have hindered congressional operations for too long and should not continue for the duration of the 117th Congress.
"On May 15, 2020, the House of Representatives passed a resolution to allow proxy voting and remote committee proceedings. All members of the Republican party and even three Democrats voted against this measure; however, since its passage and continuation in the House Rules for the 117th Congress, members have voted by proxy countless times and no fully in-person public committee meetings have occurred. The flawed system of proxy voting and extended vote times has led to exorbitant delays on the House floor. In addition, burdensome virtual committee hearings permeated with technical difficulties have failed to deliver timely debate and quality legislation on behalf of the American people. While we appreciate that the COVID-19 crisis yielded unprecedented circumstances, there is simply no scientific or public health need to continue entertaining these restrictive practices. We have accomplished an incredible milestone in defeating the virus, now we must serve as a model for our nation to restore, rebuild, renew, and resume America."
House Leadership Signatories: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), House Republican Conference Vice Chair Mike Johnson (R-La.), House Republican Policy Committee Chair Gary Palmer (R-Ala.), National Republican Congressional Committee Chair Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), House Republican Conference Secretary Richard Hudson (R-N.C.), and House Republican Chief Deputy Whip Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.).
House Committee Signatories: House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), Committee on House Administration Ranking Member Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), House Committee on Agriculture Ranking Member Glenn 'GT' Thompson (R-Penn.), House Committee on Appropriations Ranking Member Kay Granger (R-Texas), House Committee on Armed Services Ranking Member Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), House Committee on Budget Ranking Member Jason Smith (R-Mo.), House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Ranking Member Garret Graves (R-La.), House Committee on Education and Labor Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), House Committee on Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), House Committee on Ethics Ranking Member Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), House Committee on Financial Services Ranking Member Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), House Committee on Foreign Affairs Ranking Member Michael McCaul (R-Texas), House Committee on Homeland Security Ranking Member John Katko (R-N.Y.), House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), House Committee on the Judiciary Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress Ranking Member William Timmons (R-S.C.), House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.), House Committee on Rules Ranking Member Tom Cole (R-Okla.), House Committee on Science, Space and Technology Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), House Committee on Small Business Ranking Member Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-Mo.), House Committee on Veterans Affairs Ranking Member Mike Bost (R-Ill.) and House Committee on Ways and Means Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-Texas).