Nancy Pelosi extended proxy voting for the House on Tuesday, continuing the pandemic-era rule until late September, despite numerous members of Congress using it as an excuse to go on vacation and campaign for reelection.
The extension until late September was proclaimed due to a “public health emergency” caused by Covid-19, the speaker of the house said in a letter to her colleagues.
“In light of the attached notification by the Sergeant-at-Arms, in consultation with the Office of Attending Physician, that a public health emergency is in effect due to a novel coronavirus, I am hereby extending the “covered period” designated on January 4, 2021, pursuant to section 3(s) of House Resolution 8, until September 26, 2022,” Pelosi wrote.
As of publication, 5,658 proxy letters had been filed with the House Clerk. Members of Congress must provide a letter justifying why they desire to vote for proxy, and many cite the ongoing “public health emergency” as reason.
A host of representatives were caught misusing the pandemic rule to go on vacation or to campaign for reelection while Congress was in session. Some of the lawmakers have used proxy votes several hundred times since its been enacted, including Pelosi’s fellow Californian, Eric Swalwell, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
— Kevin McCarthy (@kevinomccarthy) February 3, 2022
Democratic New York Representative Mondaire Jones was spotted partying in the French Riviera for a wedding, potentially proxy voting on 17 pieces of legislation, according to the New York Post.
Carolyn Maloney, another Democratic New York Representative was caught using the pandemic excuse to proxy vote on the “assault weapons” ban, instead using her time to campaign for reelection, the New York Post reported.
Democratic Ohio Representative Tim Ryan also used the pandemic rule to campaign for reelection, according to Spectrum News 1.
Ro Khanna, a Democrat from California, used a proxy vote to go sit in his car right outside of Congress to do an online interview about his new book, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Five members of Georgia’s delegation also used a proxy vote in January, citing the pandemic, but were seen attending an even with President Joe Biden instead, according to the Washington Free Beacon.