COVID and Congressional Procedure

Over the last couple of years, there have been times when the Democratic legislative agenda was hampered, not by Co-Chairman of All Senate Committees Joe Manchin and Manic Pixie Dream Senator Krysten Sinema, but by members being unable to attend votes because they had COVID. With that as prelude, we bring you this observation (boldface mine):

Until then, attendance is critical for Republicans, with every vote needed to pass legislation. But Democrats need to show up too. Absences give McCarthy more wiggle room, lowering the threshold to reach a majority. Perhaps that’s why members on both sides of the aisle are lamenting the end of proxy voting—a Covid era perk that allowed Marjorie Taylor Greene to vacation in Costa Rica while the omnibus was being voted on.

One freshman Democrat recalled to me with disgust the number of members who are voting while Covid-positive (ostensibly just Democrats since Republicans test less frequently) just to keep the roll call as tight as possible so that the margins will be impossible for McCarthy. This member described the hallway outside of the House floor as a veritable hospital waiting area, filled with masked members coughing.

One hopes that my rough estimate of 1-2 percent of vaccinated and boosted people will develop long COVID is incorrect (Or maybe one doesn’t? YMMV). This is also another reason why we can’t have nice (COVID-related) things.

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