“Proxy voting is an unconstitutional attack on a functioning Congress – allowing members to shirk their responsibility to meet in Washington to do their jobs,” Roy said in a statement to POLITICO after Tuesday’s meeting, citing the news. rules that Democrats have implemented from the start. of the coronavirus pandemic.
“But even a number of my GOP colleagues are now accomplices and have given in to the recklessness of the Democrats,” he continued. “If, like me, you believe it is unconstitutional – and wrong – then you shouldn’t do it, even if it is difficult.” Roy added that he reminded Republicans “of their obligation to stay strong.”
Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.), While opposing the idea of proxy voting, argued later in the meeting that Republicans are putting themselves at a political disadvantage if they don’t not using the system, especially with a Democratic Majority in the House and a speaking schedule that changes often during the pandemic.
“I think it’s wrong, but it’s a fact of life,” said Bacon, who represents a key neighborhood in swing, in an interview. “We could win votes. You have to use it to your advantage. “
“We are rolled,” he added. “Waiting, [Speaker Nancy Pelosi] take the top.
But GOP House Leader Kevin McCarthy sided with Roy on Tuesday and expressed unhappiness with the proxy vote, noting that House Republicans had so far spent $ 500,000 on their vote. lawsuit, sources said. Over a dozen Republicans appealed to someone else to vote on their behalf while attending CPAC, including Reps Jim Banks (Ind.), Madison Cawthorn (North Carolina), Lauren Boebert ( Colorado) and Matt Gaetz (Florida).
Earlier this year, McCarthy gave its members permission to use proxy voting right after the Jan.6 riot on Capitol Hill, as some lawmakers were harassed at airports and other public spaces. However, he told GOP members who decided to vote by proxy to remove their names from the trial so as not to undermine the party’s legal efforts.
Democrats instituted the voting method to limit movement of lawmakers and step up security measures during the pandemic. The GOP immediately began to fight against the historic rule change, arguing that proxy voting was unconstitutional and could permanently damage the institution.
Yet, as Democrats have repeatedly extended the use of the system, Republicans’ desire to fight proxy voting has diminished dramatically. Now, there are only 21 Republicans left on trial – up from 160 GOP plaintiffs when it was originally filed last May. (Twenty-seven of those members have since left Congress.)
Republicans traveling to Florida for CPAC are just the latest example of lawmakers using the voting method for reasons not necessarily related to the pandemic or security. In May, Republicans blasted two House Democrats for voting by proxy on the same day the duo attempted to attend a SpaceX launch in Florida, though that event has been postponed.
Gaetz, for his part, has spoken publicly in favor of remote voting. He argued in a Washington Examiner Editorial in November that the practice curbs the influence of lobbyists and allows lawmakers to spend more time in their respective constituencies with their constituents.
“I am in favor of remote voting because we are better as public servants when we spend more time with the public for whom we are elected,” Gaetz wrote.