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Republican rips GOP lawmakers for voting by proxy from CPAC

Republican rips GOP lawmakers for voting by proxy from CPAC
© Greg Nash

Rep. Mike GallagherMichael (Mike) John GallagherRepublicans see record fundraising in months after Capitol breach Bipartisan lawmakers signal support for Biden cybersecurity picks Republicans downplay military's extremism issue in hearing MORE (R-Wis.) on Monday criticized lawmakers for using the proxy voting system implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic to skip floor votes for reasons unrelated to their health, including fellow House Republicans who attended the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Friday.

Many Republicans have warmed to proxy voting in the last few months after previously launching a lawsuit last year that challenged it as unconstitutional and arguing that members of Congress should show up to work in person like other essential workers on the front lines of the pandemic.

Those Republicans included 13 who voted by proxy on Friday on the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package and filed letters with the House clerk stating that they were unable to attend floor proceedings "due to the ongoing public health emergency" — but were actually attending CPAC in Orlando, Fla.

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Gallagher said in a video posted to Twitter that proxy voting is "destroying Congress" and questioned the need to continue allowing the system — which was implemented so that lawmakers could vote remotely if they were sick, quarantining or otherwise unable to travel due to the pandemic — now that many members of Congress are vaccinated.

"We had a bunch of Republicans go to CPAC on Friday. Democrats have been abusing this. The numbers go up on fly-out days. It totally undermines any legitimate need for proxy voting. More to the point, I would like to see how many members who are proxy voting have already been vaccinated," Gallagher said.

Gallagher expressed concern that proxy voting would result in House members spending even less time on Capitol Hill building relationships with one another to facilitate the basic responsibilities of legislating.

"I am seriously concerned that proxy voting is now going to become a permanent feature of Congress, meaning that Congress is going to be permanently dysfunctional and fake in many ways. People can pretend they're actually doing their job while flying all over the country raising money and raising their social media profile. It is long past time to end proxy voting, which I believe is unconstitutional. Let's get back to the basics of legislating and oversight in Congress, which requires you to be there in person. Stop the proxy voting. Stop the insanity," Gallagher said.

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Democrats maintained that the proxy voting system would be in place only for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic when they voted to establish it last May.

But some lawmakers have been voting by proxy for reasons unrelated to the pandemic, such as the Republicans who attended CPAC on Friday and two Florida Democrats, Reps. Charlie CristCharles (Charlie) Joseph CristThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - All US adults now eligible for COVID vaccines The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - All US adults can get vaccine; decision Friday on J&J vax Biden to hold second meeting with bipartisan lawmakers on infrastructure MORE and Darren SotoDarren Michael SotoDemocrats battle over best path for Puerto Rico Top academics slam Puerto Rico Self-Determination Act Where to, Puerto Rico? MORE, who attended a SpaceX rocket launch in their home state.

House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseRepublicans who backed Trump impeachment see fundraising boost Wall Street spent .9B on campaigns, lobbying in 2020 election: study Scalise: House would 'take action' against Gaetz if DOJ filed charges MORE (R-La.) accused the two Florida Democrats at the time of using proxy voting to "play hooky."

Former Rep. Francis RooneyLaurence (Francis) Francis RooneyRepublican rips GOP lawmakers for voting by proxy from CPAC A party of ideas, not a cult of personality Growing number of House Republicans warm to proxy voting MORE (R-Fla.), who retired at the end of last year, was the first Republican to use the proxy voting system last July.

By December, four other Republicans — most of whom, like Rooney, were leaving Congress — had also adopted proxy voting.

The only returning Republican using proxy voting at the time was Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzGOP struggles to rein in nativism 'Real Housewives of the GOP' — Wannabe reality show narcissists commandeer the party Boehner: 'America First Caucus is one of the nuttiest things I've ever seen' MORE (Fla.), who argued in a Washington Examiner op-ed in November that "I'm convinced that time in Washington doesn’t make any of us better. Time at home reminds us of our priorities and our purpose."

Then in January, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyWhite House readies for Chauvin verdict McCarthy to introduce resolution to censure Waters House GOP's McClain responds to Pelosi calling her 'that woman' MORE (R-Calif.) gave Republicans the green light to use proxy voting given security concerns in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol by a mob of former President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse votes to condemn Chinese government over Hong Kong Former Vice President Walter Mondale dies at age 93 White House readies for Chauvin verdict MORE's supporters who tried to stop Congress from certifying the presidential election results.

Since then, dozens of Republicans have been voting by proxy in recent weeks.

The 13 Republicans scheduled to speak at CPAC who voted by proxy on Friday were Reps. Gaetz, Lauren Boebert (Colo.), Ted BuddTheodore (Ted) Paul BuddFormer Gov. Pat McCrory enters GOP Senate race in North Carolina 14 Republicans vote against resolution condemning Myanmar military coup Republican rips GOP lawmakers for voting by proxy from CPAC MORE (N.C.), Jim Banks (Ind.), Madison Cawthorn (N.C.), Mark GreenMark GreenOn The Money: COVID-19 relief bill on track for House passage, Biden signature Wednesday | First new checks to go out starting next week GOP lawmaker renews push for balanced budget amendment Republican rips GOP lawmakers for voting by proxy from CPAC MORE (Tenn.), Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarGOP struggles to rein in nativism Former GOP lawmaker calls idea of 'America First' caucus 'racism in a jar' Republicans fret over divisive candidates MORE (Ariz.), Darrell IssaDarrell Edward IssaRepublicans need to stop Joe Biden's progressive assault on America Mellman: Biden's smart bipartisan message Companies sidestep self-imposed bans on GOP donations MORE (Calif.), Ronny Jackson (Texas), Mike KellyGeorge (Mike) Joseph KellyGOP lawmakers raise concerns about child tax credit expansion Republican rips GOP lawmakers for voting by proxy from CPAC Supreme Court won't review Pennsylvania GOP election lawsuits MORE (Pa.), Ralph NormanRalph Warren NormanOvernight Energy: EPA pledges new focus on environmental justice | Republicans probe EPA firing of Trump-appointed science advisers | Biden administration asks court to toss kids' climate lawsuit Republicans probe EPA firing of Trump-appointed science advisers Republican rips GOP lawmakers for voting by proxy from CPAC MORE (S.C.), Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesFormer GOP operative installed as NSA top lawyer resigns Sunday shows preview: Russia, US exchange sanctions; tensions over policing rise; vaccination campaign continues Overnight Defense: Administration says 'low to moderate confidence' Russia behind Afghanistan troop bounties | 'Low to medium risk' of Russia invading Ukraine in next few weeks | Intelligence leaders face sharp questions during House worldwide threats he MORE (Calif.) and Greg SteubeWilliam (Greg) Gregory SteubeHouse Republicans ask Pelosi to reschedule Biden's address to Congress Republican rips GOP lawmakers for voting by proxy from CPAC Biden faces deadline pressure on Iran deal MORE (Fla.).