New Boss, New Rules: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy Officially Ends Proxy Voting, Tells Democrats To Show Up To Work

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House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced the end of proxy voting, which means members of Congress will actually have to show up to work if they want their vote to count.

Democrats allowed members of Congress to vote even if they didn’t show up to work. The was initially established during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Many Republicans say this policy enabled abuse and permitted legislators to neglect their responsibilities.

“No more proxy voting,” McCarthy said. “Effective immediately, Members of Congress have to show up to work if they want their vote to count.”

McCarthy vowed to end the practice if Republicans took control. “The Senate has managed to maintain in-person Floor voting for the entirety of the past two years — with a much older population and a 50-50 makeup, no less,” he said in December.

“From the get-go, we warned that proxy voting would be misused as a means of convenience rather than as a precaution for health — and it has been, by members of both parties.”

Nancy Pelosi established proxy voting in May 2020 to allow Congress to operate under COVID-19 pandemic protocols.

A member of Congress could simply submit a letter to have a colleague announce their position on bills and amendments. Votes were cast in their name despite not being present.

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In 2020, 160 Republicans signed on to a lawsuit brought by McCarthy challenging the practice that was rejected by the Supreme Court. But by the end of 2021, roughly 70% of the original Republican plaintiffs had voted by proxy, according to a study by the Brookings Institute.

While proxy voting was intended as a “public health emergency” policy, lawmakers in both parties have pawned off their votes to attend campaign events and other functions entirely unrelated to their health concerns with voting in-person.

For example, three Michigan Democrats voted by proxy so they could attend an event with President Biden at the Ford Motors facility in Dearborn, Michigan, in May 2021.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., and other Republicans have been caught using proxy voting to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference.