Newly re-elected House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced Thursday that he’s ending by-proxy voting for representatives, marking a major victory for Republicans and ending a years-long practice that allowed representatives to vote for legislation from afar without actually showing up for work.
“No more proxy voting. Effective immediately, Members of Congress have to show up to work if they want their vote to count,” McCarthy posted on Twitter Thursday morning.
No more proxy voting. Effective immediately, Members of Congress have to show up to work if they want their vote to count.— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) January 19, 2023
While McCarthy's path to the speakership may have been contentious, Republicans in the House of Representatives have been in lock-step about changing the proxy voting rule. Under a rule change enacted by former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) in 2020, members of Congress had been allowed to vote without actually being in the U.S. Capitol in person, limiting public discourse and debate while allowing representatives to spend more time on the campaign trail than actually doing the work they were elected - and highly paid - to do.
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The provision was supposedly put in place due to the COVID pandemic when larger public gatherings were limited, but has remained in place even after gatherings were resumed and Congress was physically called back into session. In fact, many members of Congress repeatedly claimed they couldn’t attend in-person voting due to COVID concerns, but at the same time were seen attending fundraising events, campaign rallies, and even going on vacation.
As for those members happy that they’ll actually have to be there to cast a vote, allow us to play for them the world’s smallest violin. Welcome to the real world, folks - if the Americans who pay you have to show up for work, so do you.