McCarthy Ends Proxy Voting: ‘Members Of Congress Have To Show Up To Work If They Want Their Vote To Count’
Just like that, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has ended proxy voting.
No more proxy voting. Effective immediately, Members of Congress have to show up to work if they want their vote to count.
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) January 19, 2023
Proxy voting, which has given members of the House of Representatives the privilege to vote on legislation without being in the Capitol, was put in place in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
It was established by former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in May 2020.
Now, “members of Congress have to show up to work if they want their vote to count,” McCarthy wrote on Twitter.
Proxy voting was meant to allow Congress to operate under Covid-19 pandemic protocols. But Republicans have long argued this policy “enabled abuse.” Not to mention it being “unconstitutional.”
“For more than 231 years, never have we seen a proxy vote on the floor of the House,” McCarthy said to Fox News back in May 2020.
“This challenges the Constitution only to protect and empower a speaker. It violates the Constitution, it’s a dereliction of duty of its members,” he added.
Back in December, McCarthy said “the Senate has managed to maintain in-person Floor voting for the entirety of the past two years — with a much older population and a 50-50 makeup, no less.”
“From the get-go, we warned that proxy voting would be misused as a means of convenience rather than as a precaution for health — and it has been, by members of both parties,” he added.
From Fox News:
In 2020, 160 Republicans signed on to a lawsuit brought by McCarthy challenging the practice that was rejected by the Supreme Court. But by the end of 2021, roughly 70% of the original Republican plaintiffs had voted by proxy, according to a study by the Brookings Institute.
While proxy voting was intended as a “public health emergency” policy, lawmakers in both parties have pawned off their votes to attend campaign events and other functions entirely unrelated to their health concerns with voting in-person.
Up until today, the process for conducting a proxy vote was simple; members of Congress could submit a letter to have a colleague announce their position on bills and amendments.
The letter would also give powers to the colleague to cast votes in a Congress member’s name.
Since its establishment, McCarthy had vowed to end the proxy vote practice when Republicans finally took back the House.
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