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Floating virtual lawmaker pauses relief meeting

Floating virtual lawmaker pauses relief meeting


‘Mr. Emmer, are you okay?’

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Like plenty of other congressional committees this week, the House Financial Services Committee met Wednesday to press forward on the latest pandemic relief package. Unlike those other committees, however, this one had the floating head of an upside-down congressman.

It’s not unusual for lawmakers to appear virtually for committee hearings much anymore due to the coronavirus pandemic. But it is unusual for them to stream in as a bodiless apparition. Asking to speak during Wednesday’s hearing, Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) appeared flipped upside-down while making a standard statement on the underlying measure.

“Mr. Emmer, are you okay?” Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) asked.

“I am,” Emmer responded. “I don’t know what happened. It just came out this way. I turned it off and turned it back on and I’m still... okay.”

With everything moving online — from birthday parties to congressional hearings — the learning curve has proven steep for some users. Just yesterday, a Zoom filter trapped a lawyer as an adorable cat during a live court hearing that went viral after the judge tweeted out a clip. Rod Ponton, cat lawyer, couldn’t figure out how to remove the filter before streaming into the hearing and even suggested continuing with the cat face on. But it didn’t take very long for Ponton to figure out how to remove it, and the hearing proceeded without further incident.

“At least he’s not a cat!” one lawmaker shouted, referencing Tuesday’s lawyer cat flub.

“You’re going viral, Tom!” another lawmaker informed him.