Some Republicans say proxy voting gives advantage to Democrats
A handful of House Republicans are voicing concerns that proxy voting is giving Democrats a political advantage as they look to take back the majority in 2022.
The topic was raised during a GOP conference meeting on Tuesday when Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), who does not agree with proxy voting, noted multiple Republican lawmakers voted via proxy citing the pandemic while speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Fla., on Friday.
Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.), who represents a swing district, then made the case that changes by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to the floor schedule had caused problems for GOP lawmakers, who face more pressure to vote in person.
As a result, he said the party should revisit its opposition to proxy voting.
“She’s [Pelosi] changed the schedule so many times, so if we’re trying to hold true to not proxy voting, people have to cancel their weekend plans, their home week, they have to cancel everything and this has happened four or five times,” he said. “Whereas they can do proxy voting, and it doesn’t bother them.”
“So I think we should relook at it, and once we’re the majority we should ensure that we get rid of it but in the meantime, it’s causing very little havoc on them and a lot of havoc on us and we need to have 100 percent voting in my view,” he said.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) previously wrote an op-ed in defense of proxy voting, arguing members should be spending more time in their districts.
One GOP lawmaker argued if late GOP Rep. Ron Wright (Texas), who recently died due to complications with COVID-19, could make it to votes, members should be present in the chamber.
According to multiple sources in the room, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) defended in-person voting, noting the GOP has used $500,000 in political funds in a lawsuit against the use of proxy voting.
“Proxy voting is an unconstitutional attack on a functional Congress — allowing members to avoid their responsibility to meet in DC to do their jobs,” Roy told The Hill.
“Democrats, in particular, are destroying the institution by doing this — we don’t meet, we don’t debate, we don’t amend … but even a number of my GOP colleagues are now complicit and have given in to the Democrats’ recklessness. If, as I do, you believe it’s unconstitutional — and wrong — then you shouldn’t do it, even if it’s hard,” he said.
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