- More than a dozen members of the Republican Party voted for proxy while speaking at a large conservative conference.
- All of his proxy notices cited the “ongoing public health emergency.”
- A group of Republican lawmakers sued over the power system in 2020.
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More than a dozen members of Congress who spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, this weekend appointed other members to vote on their behalf while they are away while citing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Active proxy letters filed with the House Clerk show that 13 Republican representatives who spoke on Friday or who are scheduled to speak on Saturday or Sunday appointed representatives to vote on their behalf.
In all the power of attorney, first reported by CNN, the members who are scheduled to speak at the CPAC in Orlando, Florida, testify that they are “unable to physically attend the proceedings in the House of the House due to the ongoing public health emergency. ”
Members include high-profile Republicans such as Representatives Devin Nuñes and Darrel Issa of California, Representatives Greg Steube and Matt Gaetz of Florida, Representative Jim Banks of California, and Representative Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina.
In particular, the United States House of Representatives is set to vote on the American Rescue Act, President Joe Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus aid package, on Friday night.
The proxy voting process, designated in House Resolution 8, was created at the start of the pandemic primarily to allow members who were sick with COVID-19, quarantined after exposure to COVID-19, or who otherwise they couldn’t travel, they could vote. through a current colleague.
Some of the Republicans who showed up to vote by proxy have previously criticized the system for giving Congress permission not to work.
North Carolina Representative Ted Budd, who spoke at CPAC on Friday and appointed a colleague as his representative, has previously criticized proxy voting as “unconstitutional and incorrect” and even introduced a piece of legislation, the Non-Payment Act. by proxy vote, which would have removed the payment from legislators who used the power system.
“After Democrats rearranged the House calendar with very late notice, Representative Budd was forced to vote by proxy for the first time.” Budd’s office said in a statement to ABC News. “Representative Budd remains philosophically opposed to proxy voting, which is why he already donated his Congressional salary for the days he voted by proxy to the North Carolina Restaurant Worker Relief Fund to support restaurants that were closed during the pandemic. “
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and a group of House Republicans also filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the proxy system as unconstitutional.
A federal judge in Washington, DC, dismissed the lawsuit in August 2020, finding that the courts have no authority to rule on the internal functions of Congress protected by the speech and debate clause. The Republicans later appealed the lawsuit to the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.