House GOP Set to Torpedo Dem Policy That Let Members Be Slackers

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

The jig is up for House members who have become accustomed to staying at home in their districts and casting their floor votes via proxy. With Republicans set to take control of the House next week, they have indicated they will do away with the COVID-era Nancy Pelosi rule that allowed members to have a colleague cast a vote in their name.


Kevin McCarthy, presumed next Speaker of the House and part of a select group that have never voted by proxy, tweeted his intentions last week after the omnibus monstrosity was passed without a quorum of members being present on the floor for the vote:

Less than half of lawmakers were present on the floor for the omnibus vote, with 134 Democrats and 92 Republicans opting to vote via proxy. House members have enjoyed the privilege of staying home and phoning it in for nearly three years, with Pelosi enacting the proxy measure back in March of 2020, citing health concerns around COVID-19. She recently extended the proxy vote option through the end of of the 117th Congress.

The decision by Republicans to have the House join the rest of America in going back to work is sure to rankle some lawmakers who have enjoyed the luxury of not showing up to do their job. Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), whose northern Virginia congressional district is a stone’s throw from DC, seemed to have been kept quite busy by some of his Democrat colleagues, having bragged earlier this year that he had cast proxy votes 2,252 times and voted to impeach Donald Trump six times. Beyer told Insider, “It’s been an honor. I think I could say I voted more than any other member of the House in the last eight years.” Also this:


“I like being able to brag to my grandchildren, I got to vote to impeach Donald Trump six times,” he said.

Christmas dinner at the Beyer house sounds like a barrel of laughs, with Granddaddy regaling the little ones with stories of proxy voting run amok. Here’s where Beyer and his Democrat colleagues’ embrace of the proxy starts to fall apart, with Beyer stating:

“We have a lot of plus-seventies in Congress. We also have a lot of young people, with families and children, and I think it was really valuable for those folks with kids at home to be able to stay for the parent-teacher conference.”

First, the old people. Yes, there have been a few very fine older legislators who were able to perform at a high level into their seventies and beyond. Mostly, however, these folks are politically entrenched has-beens who have overstayed their welcome and need to head on over to Shady Oaks Retirement Home. If they’re too old to show up in DC to vote, they’re too old to be in Congress.

Similarly, Democrats are likely to find very little sympathy for lawmakers with young families who claim they need to stay home to take care of the kids. This is, of course, the noblest of callings; by all means, commit yourself to that vocation. But you knew what you were signing up for when you ran for office, so juggle your commitments like the rest of us do and show up for your votes.


(On a side note, one of the worst offenders when it comes to proxy voting is Eric Swalwell, who has voted by proxy 55 times. What could he be getting up to with all of that free time?)

There are clearly very legitimate reasons for needing to vote by proxy on occasion, especially if a lawmaker is seriously ill. Accommodations should be made in those situations. But the Eric Swalwells of the world are quite obviously taking advantage of the situation by refusing to show up for their job, a fireable offense for the rest of us.

Republicans take control of the House of Representatives on January 3, 2023.



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