House Republican introduces bill to hold up members’ pay if they vote by proxy
A group of House Republicans led by Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) on Thursday introduced legislation that would temporarily hold up pay for lawmakers who opt to vote by proxy.
The House passed a rules change along party lines earlier this month to allow for proxy voting, with members being permitted to file with the House Clerk to assign a colleague to cast their vote for them if they cannot make it to Washington, D.C., amid the pandemic.
While Democrats argue the move was necessary to protect members and staff during the health crisis, Republicans have been highly critical of the move, arguing they believe it’s unconstitutional, breaks precedent and places too much power in the hands of certain members.
Under the legislation spearheaded by Budd, for every day that a member opts to vote by proxy or have a proxy record their presence in the House for a quorum call, the House’s Chief Administrative Officer “will withhold a day’s worth of pay and deposit it into an escrow account.”
The number of days a lawmaker votes by proxy would impact the level of pay withheld per pay period. At the end of the Congress, the pay would be returned to the members, since under the 27th amendment it’s deemed unconstitutional to withhold members’ pay.
“Outsourcing the duty of a member of Congress is unconstitutional and wrong. House members should not be allowed to send someone else to do their jobs for them,” Budd said in a statement.
“In the real world, if you don’t show up for your job, you don’t get paid. The same principle should apply to our country’s representatives. If they don’t come to work, they shouldn’t receive their taxpayer-funded paycheck.”
GOP Reps. Dan Bishop (N.C.), David Rouzer (N.C.), Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Jack Bergman (Mich.), John Curtis (Utah) and Bill Posey (Fla.) cosigned the legislation.
Its introduction comes just two days after a group of GOP lawmakers filed a lawsuit against Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the House clerk and the sergeant-at-arms in an attempt to thwart the use of proxy voting.
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