September 17, 2021

Pelosi extends controversial proxy voting rule to October

The coronavirus pandemic gave cover for many subversive and damaging practices. One of the most egregious will continue thanks to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi has extended proxy voting, allowing House lawmakers to vote in absentia through Oct. 1, Breitbart reported. This measure was only supposed to last 45 days when enacted in May of 2020. 

Pelosi announced her intention in a letter to lawmakers Friday. “In light of the attached notification by the Sergeant-at-Arms, in consultation with the Office of Attending Physician, that a public health emergency is in effect due to a novel coronavirus, I am hereby extending the ‘covered period’ designated on January 4, 2021, pursuant to section 3(s) of House Resolution 8, until October 1, 2021,” she wrote.

However, like many pandemic accommodations, this practice is fraught with opportunistic abuse by many lawmakers.  While claiming this exemption to not show up for their duties in Washington, D.C., several lawmakers have turned up other places that would be equally as risky if that were the reason they were truly voting by proxy.

For instance, Democratic Reps. Elissa Slotkin, Haley Stevens, and Dan Kildee from the Michigan delegation all utilized proxy voting due to the “ongoing public health emergency.” However, they all showed up to an appearance by President Joe Biden in their state.

Other abuses include members of Wisconsin’s Democrat Congressional delegation like Reps. Mark Pocan, Ron Kind, and Gwen Moore who were knocking off for a long weekend by using proxy voting. Then there was Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL) who couldn’t be bothered to make his way to vote in Congress but attended the space launch without fear.

Meanwhile, Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-NY) did so simply to be home with his family. Similarly, Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME) promised not to use proxy voting but flip-flopped in order to support Pelosi’s pet legislation while also using the “family responsibilities” excuse.

There’s no excuse for these lawmakers not to do their job in Washington, D.C. as stipulated by the rules. If they can travel to events or can’t come up with better excuses than needing to spend time with family — after all, who doesn’t? — they have no business remaining in office.

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