Congressional leaders prepare to work from home if necessary to stop spread of coronavirus

Washington

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) – Congress isn’t immune to calls for workers to remain home if possible to stop the spread of the coronavirus. 

As Americans self-quarantine and work from home, their elected representatives in Washington are preparing to do the same. 

“It isn’t a requirement yet, but it is that we want people to be prepared,” Representative Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said. 

On Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended no public gatherings of 50 or more. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says lawmakers and congressional staff received regular briefings last week about working remotely. 

“We’re providing the technology, the training and all the rest to make sure everybody is up to par. Our writing of legislation, our exchange of ideas and all, that won’t stop the work of Congress,” Pelosi said.  

But even if Congress is working from home, when a bill comes up, the House and Senate must vote in person. 

The Speaker says while that may pose a risk, lawmakers need to carry on the work on the nation.

“The speaker said, I think very eloquently, we’re the last line. We can’t be abandoning ship when there’s a crisis in the country,” Representative Ro Khanna, D-California, said. 

Ro Khanna says as the crisis evolves, it’ll likely require Congress to be fluid and make adjustments. 

He says for Congress not to fulfill its duty would be irresponsible. 

“We have to keep the economy going. We have to get the country the equipment and materials they need,” Khanna said. 

Lawmakers say they’re listening to the recommendation of Congress’ in-house physician, Brian Monohan, who so far isn’t directing them to work from home. 

Our multiple interview requests to his office went unanswered.

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