House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) announced Thursday he will end proxy voting in the House when Republicans regain the majority.
“I look forward to the day that when Congress changes, that you have to show up to work to be paid. That will be one of the first things I will do. We will not vote by proxy,” he said.
Proxy voting was initiated in April 2020 as a method to handle travel limitations during the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 70 members of Congress submitted notice of using the proxy voting method at that time.
Texas Democratic Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, who has voted by proxy, defended the practice. “In times of crisis, our nation must adapt. It’s past time we modernized Congress’ voting system to allow for remote voting during national emergencies.”
Gonzalez added, “Proxy voting allows for Members of Congress to continue working for the people while following the advice of medical professionals to limit the spread of COVID-19. This solution allows me to represent the people of my district and vote on their behalf despite my recent injuries.”
The method is scheduled to end in May. It is uncertain whether the policy will be extended.
McCarthy noted he did not support the creation of proxy voting. He looks forward to House members voting once again in person as the norm.
“If we are essential through all the history of America, through war, through plagues, and others, even within the Civil War and the Capitol being burnt, we still showed up,” McCarthy said.