McCarthy Lays Down the Law, Ends Pelosi’s Unconstitutional Proxy Vote Scheme

House Republicans have officially ended proxy voting, a practice started by Nancy Pelosi during COVID-19 to allow members of Congress to vote without being physically present.

 

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy

“No more proxy voting,” Recently elected House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced Thursday. “Effective immediately, Members of Congress have to show up to work if they want their vote to count.”

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Proxy voting started in 2020 as part of Nancy Pelosi’s COVID protocols. Instead of showing up in person for votes, a member of Congress could submit a letter to have a colleague announce their position on bills and amendments. Moreover, this letter would even authorize congress members to cast votes in the absent member’s name.

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Although some GOP lawmakers took advantage of this rule when it existed, according to Fox News, the general attitude towards the rule was negative. Republicans argued it was unconstitutional, allowed for abuse, and permitted lawmakers to neglect their duties.

In 2020, when the rule was first taking effect, McCarthy said as much.

“Whatever the Democrats propose to bring up cannot become law because it is unconstitutional. For more than 231 years, never have we seen a proxy vote on the floor of the House. This challenges the Constitution only to protect and empower a speaker. It violates the Constitution, it’s a dereliction of duty of its members.”

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Then GOP Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell argued something similar.

“The Constitution requires a physical quorum to do business. Any House member has a right to demand an in-person attendance check. The Democrats’ new rule says one person may mark himself and ten others present, even if they are nowhere in sight. A flat-out lie. There will be enormous Constitutional questions around anything the House does if they fail to demonstrate a real quorum, but plow ahead anyhow.”

But now, with McCarthy as Speaker, the rule has been officially abolished, requiring lawmakers to be physically present to participate in legislation, drawing praise from many on Twitter.

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