House Democratic leaders indefinitely postpone return to Washington

Just days ago, Pelosi rejected the idea of having her congressional colleagues leave Washington to avoid the coronavirus.

Per the Hill, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) immediately quashed the idea, according to multiple sources in the room.

“We are the captains of the ship. We are the last to leave,” she told her caucus, borrowing a line uttered moments earlier by Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.), a Navy veteran.

Now, House Democrat leaders are postponing their return to Washington.

TheHill reports House Democratic leaders will indefinitely postpone their return to Washington as a precautionary measure amid rising anxieties over the fast-moving coronavirus.

The House was scheduled to return to the Capitol on March 23, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told rank-and-file Democrats on a conference call Monday that they’ll postpone that date, according to several aides familiar with the leadership message.

“Hoyer said for sure not Monday, and he will update them about the rest of the week,” one aide said, noting that potential cancellations of domestic flights may also play a role. “This is all pending domestic travel situation too.”

While discussing the need for more relief packages, leaders also explored the possibility of staggering future votes so all 435 members are not on the House floor at the same time.

The message arrives as Washington policymakers are scrambling for an appropriate response to the coronavirus outbreak, which has killed thousands of people around the globe — more than 60 in the United States — and hammered global economies.