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House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy Asks Supreme Court to End Proxy Voting

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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion


House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is taking the fight against proxy voting in the U.S. House of Representatives to the Supreme Court.

“Today, we are asking the Supreme Court to uphold the Constitution by overturning Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi’s perpetual proxy voting power grab. Although the Constitution allows Congress to write its own rules, those rules cannot violate the Constitution itself, including the requirement to actually assemble in person,” McCarthy said in a statement.

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“Since its adoption 14 months ago, proxy voting has shattered 231 years of legislative precedent and shielded the majority from substantive policy debates and questions, effectively silencing the voices of millions of Americans,” he said. “It was a raw abuse of power … [and its] continuation is an insult to hard-working taxpayers who are back at work safely while members of Congress get a pass to skip work but still get paid.”

“The Founders wisely rejected proxy voting because they knew Congress cannot adequately ‘do the business’ of our chambers without deliberating, and we cannot adequately deliberate without assembling in person. The Senate has managed through the whole pandemic without proxy voting because they know, as we do, that it is unconstitutional.”

In July, a federal appeals court tossed a Republican lawsuit against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over House proxy voting.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled unanimously that courts did not have jurisdiction under the Constitution to get involved with rules and procedures implemented in Congress.

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Republicans filed the lawsuit to end Pelosi’s proxy voting system adopted by the House to allow for remote legislating because of the coronavirus.

During the pandemic, Pelosi has given representatives the option to vote on legislation in person or by proxy, meaning they don’t have to be physically present at the Capitol if they pick another lawmaker to vote on their behalf.

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Several Republican lawmakers have come out against proxy voting.

“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,” Texas GOP Rep. Chip Roy said back in March.

Wisconsin Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher issued a similar statement: “They sign a paper saying, ‘Due to the pandemic or the health emergency, I am unable to vote in person.’ But we know that they’re then going to other events,” he said. “We had a bunch of Republicans go to CPAC on Friday. Democrats have been abusing this. The numbers go up on fly-out days.”

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Gallagher added: “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.”

“Nearly a year ago to the day, you made the decision to close the Capitol to visitors and begin implementing new protocols to govern access and movement of the members and staff of the Capitol complex. But since that time, we have learned more about the virus and have made monumental strides in our scientific and technological endeavors,” McCarthy said earlier this year.

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