WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Just steps from where lawmakers conduct their business in Washington, House Republican leaders showed up in person to fight against Democrats’ plan to vote from home.
The group, headed by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, has sued Speaker Nancy Pelosi to block the new proxy voting rule that was poised to get its first test Wednesday.
“Congress ought to be leading the country and showing how to safely reopen,” said Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-LA. “In the last few weeks, we had votes with over 380 members here, present and voting before Speaker Pelosi put in this unconstitutional proxy voting scheme.”
The change Democrats pushed through this month allows members who traveled to Washington to vote on behalf of those who stayed home. Scalise’s fellow Louisiana Republican, Rep. Mike Johnson, said the new rule contradicts how the country’s founders designed Congress.
“It’s been said this lawsuit and this effort is about politics,” Johnson said. “This is about the Constitution itself.”
Democrats have insisted they made the change in good faith to allow members to temporarily and safely work from home during the pandemic.
“By working remotely, we still are doing our jobs, in fact maybe doing our jobs even more directly with our communities,” said Rep. Jackie Speier, D-CA.
According to the House clerk, Speier has joined more than 70 of her Democratic colleagues to indicate they may use proxies to vote from home.
While Republicans face an uphill battle in the courts, they hope their lawsuit shuts down the process permanently.