House Republicans Sue Speaker to Block Proxy Voting Rule

May 27, 2020 by Dan McCue
House Republicans Sue Speaker to Block Proxy Voting Rule
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) participates in a weekly press conference with Republican House leaders at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty Images/TNS)

WASHINGTON – House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, along with 20 other Republican lawmakers sued House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Tuesday night in a bid to block the first proxy votes in congressional history.

The House is returning to Washington Wednesday to vote on a bill to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which has already passed the Senate, along with a bill to change elements of the Paycheck Protection Program that was created to help small businesses during the pandemic.

But they will do so under a new rule that allows a lawmaker to designate a representative to cast a vote on his or her behalf while the country is gripped by the coronavirus pandemic.

The change, made earlier this month, means one member in the Capitol can cast proxy votes on behalf of as many as 10 members who have stayed home.


As of Tuesday night, 58 Democrats had sent a letter to the House Clerk announcing they intend to vote by proxy Wednesday and that they have authorized another member to vote on their behalf.

Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., told The Wall Street Journal ahead of the Memorial Day weekend that he intended to vote on behalf of eight of his fellow members.


Meanwhile, Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., told the newspaper that he planned to make a spreadsheet for the people he will be voting for and how they want him to vote. So far, he said, he’d said yes to serving as proxy for nine of his colleagues.

But in a lawsuit filed last night in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Minority Leader McCarthy and his fellow Republicans claim the new voting rules are unlawful because the Constitution requires a quorum of lawmakers to be physically present in order to conduct business.

“This week, House Democrats will break over 230 years of precedent and allow members of Congress to vote by proxy on the House floor,” McCarthy said in a written statement. “This is not simply arcane parliamentary procedure. It is a brazen violation of the Constitution, a dereliction of our duty as elected officials, and would silence the American people’s voice during a crisis.”

In a background call with reporters Tuesday afternoon, an aide to the House Republican leadership said, “each individual member of Congress has had their vote unconstitutionally diluted by this proxy vote and their constituents have had their representation in Congress diluted by this unconstitutional House Rule.”

“Voting by proxy — giving your vote, as a member of Congress, to another person — is just simply not allowed and not envisioned in the Constitution. It’s a non-delegable power and that proxy vote is prohibited,” the aide said.


Speaker Pelosi responded to the filing of the lawsuit, saying “the House made its will clear two weeks ago when it voted to implement remote voting by proxy and other necessary measures to ensure that Congress can continue to protect lives and livelihoods.

“The House’s position that remote voting by proxy during a pandemic is fully consistent with the Constitution is supported by expert legal analyses. Further, the Supreme Court made clear over a century ago that the Constitution empowers each chamber of Congress to set its own procedural rules,” she concluded.

A+
a-

In The News

Health

Voting

Congress

August 18, 2022
by Dan McCue
House Chief Administrative Officer Issues TikTok Advisory

WASHINGTON — The chief administrative officer of the House of Representatives has issued a cyberadvisory to Capitol Hill staff on... Read More

WASHINGTON — The chief administrative officer of the House of Representatives has issued a cyberadvisory to Capitol Hill staff on TikTok, labeling it a “high risk” due to the Chinese-owned platform’s lack of transparency in how it protects customer data, and other reasons, including its requirement... Read More

August 16, 2022
by Dan McCue
Biden Signs Inflation Reduction Act in Modest White House Ceremony

WASHINGTON — Looking fresh and relaxed from a week vacationing in Kiawah Island, South Carolina, President Joe Biden returned to... Read More

WASHINGTON — Looking fresh and relaxed from a week vacationing in Kiawah Island, South Carolina, President Joe Biden returned to the White House this afternoon to sign the so-called Inflation Reduction Act and deliver on what he’s called the “final piece” of his domestic agenda. Standing... Read More

August 16, 2022
by Dan McCue
Budget Hawk Fears Prescription Drug Rebate Will Become Fiscal Gimmick

WASHINGTON — A key compromise to ensure the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act could result in substantially less savings... Read More

WASHINGTON — A key compromise to ensure the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act could result in substantially less savings than was promised and may well wind up being nothing more than a “budget gimmick” in the hands of future lawmakers, a well-known Washington budget hawk... Read More

August 13, 2022
by Dan McCue
House Passes Inflation Reduction Act, Sends on to President

WASHINGTON — The House on Friday afternoon gave its approval to the Inflation Reduction Act, delivering a significant victory to... Read More

WASHINGTON — The House on Friday afternoon gave its approval to the Inflation Reduction Act, delivering a significant victory to President Joe Biden. The final vote was 220-207, along party lines. Four Republicans did not vote. In a tweet from Kiawah Island, South Carolina, where he... Read More

Dems Near Congressional Passage of Climate, Health Package

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats pushed their flagship climate change and health care bill toward House passage Friday, placing President Joe Biden on... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats pushed their flagship climate change and health care bill toward House passage Friday, placing President Joe Biden on the brink of a back-from-the-dead triumph on his leading domestic goals that could energize his party going into November’s elections. Democrats were poised to muscle the measure through the... Read More

August 9, 2022
by Dan McCue
Trump Can’t Keep Tax Returns From House Panel, DC Circuit Rules

WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump cannot block Congress from obtaining his tax returns as part of a House investigation... Read More

WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump cannot block Congress from obtaining his tax returns as part of a House investigation into audits of sitting presidents by the IRS, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday. The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top