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King, Golden Call For Congress To Allow Remote Voting And Virtual Meetings

Patrick Semansky
AP Photo
Police officers stand outside the U.S. Senate steps on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, March 16, 2020

Both U.S. Sen. Angus King and U.S. Rep. Jared Golden want Congress to change the rules to allow remote voting and virtual meetings.

“To bring one hundred people into the same room to say thumbs up or thumbs down just doesn’t make any sense to me,” King says.

King says it’s time for some common sense rule changes in the Senate, including allowing senators to vote electronically from wherever they are.

“We have a hearing on the Pentagon’s response to the coronavirus crisis that would be open to the press, why wouldn’t a conference call or a zoom conference be open to the press," says King. "We are in uncharted territory here.”

Golden says committee hearings and meetings could also be conducted over various electronic platforms where the public could listen. He says too many members fear change.

“Point at House rules and say ‘well we can’t do that,’ but the truth is we can,” Golden says. “We can figure out a way.”

Both say with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and the possibility of other diseases that could disrupt government, the time to establish options for governing is now.

“If we can’t figure out how to do it remotely in the 21st century with new technology, then we should be here in our place of duty serving the country and doing this important work of legislating and doing oversight,” says Golden.