Democrats Proxy Voting Scheme
Guest Editorial by Rep. Russ Fulcher
As the dust was still settling on September 12, 2001, and the horror of the day prior’s events were still being discovered, the 107th Congress did not stay home. The 65th Congress did not stay home during the Spanish Flu, nor did the 81st during the worst of the Polio outbreak. The 37th Congress met while our country was engaged in Civil War. The 65th and 77th Congress carried on after the United States entered WWI and WWII, respectively.
In May, 2020, Speaker Pelosi forced through Congress a proxy voting scheme that, for the first time in history, eliminates meaningful debate, requires only 20 Members present (out of 435) for bill passage, and allows Members to stay home collecting a paycheck while she votes for them. At the time of writing this, 74 Democrat Members have opted-in to this and handed over their voting card. The growing list of those Members can be found on the House Clerk’s website here: https://clerkpreview.house.gov/ProxyLetter
No matter the situation, I do my best to represent the ideals and priorities of Idahoans, particularly in a Democrat-controlled House. The people of Idaho’s First District elected me – not someone else holding my voting card — to represent them in Congress.
Some of you remember Newt Gingrich’s “Contract for America”– and you may also remember one of his platforms that resonated with many Americans: eliminate the ability for Republican Committees to vote by proxy. This was important because people want their Representative to show up and do what they were elected to do– not hand their responsibility to someone else.
But now, Speaker Pelosi has brought proxy voting to the House of Representatives as a whole. This applies to the entire (435 Member) House… a body that votes to enact laws… not just a 30-member committee reviewing potential legislation. This was supposedly done “for the safety of members during a pandemic,” but I don’t believe Speaker Pelosi is concerned about my health or that of my colleagues. Her real motive is to remove some “complications” of the law-making process, empowering her to negotiate policy with less interference, and to make it easier to avoid dealing with critical issues facing our nation prior to the November election.
It’s a shame to see this centuries-old precedent broken for the sake of political gain, and it is a shame we must resort to legal action to rectify it. Earlier last month, I joined a lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of the ‘proxy voting’ process.
Every day all over America – plans are formulated by organizations so they can function in safe and practical ways. During this time, the Senate has remained in session and successful procedures have been established in Congress to keep Members safe.
As public servants, it is not acceptable to continue delaying our work or handing over our duties to someone else. For 231 years, Congress has found a way to meet and do the job they were elected to do. This current path of ‘absent representation’ cannot stand.
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