Congress is now holding votes by “proxy,” meaning lots of lawmakers don’t even show up to work as other members cast their votes for them.
That doesn’t fly with a group of Republicans.
“In the real world, if you don’t show up for your job, you don’t get paid. The same principle should apply to our country’s representatives,” says Rep. Ted Budd, North Carolina Republican. “If they don’t come to work, they shouldn’t receive their taxpayer-funded paycheck.”
A group of House Republicans on Thursday announced legislation to strip pay for lawmakers if they continue to follow House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s “proxy voting.”
“As of Thursday, 73 lawmakers had assigned their votes to someone else for at least some action this week,” The Washington Times reports.
House Republicans sued this week to block the plan, arguing it is unconstitutional because the Constitution requires lawmakers to be present to form a quorum. That lawsuit is in its early stages, but GOP leaders said they’re voting this week under protest because of the designated voter scheme.
Mrs. Pelosi says she’s confident in the plan’s legality, saying courts have usually deferred to Congress to set its own rules.
Mr. Budd’s bill would “withhold” paychecks from lawmakers who make use of the designated voter — though they would still get their money at the end of each Congress. Otherwise, the bill would likely violate the Constitution’s 27th Amendment, which prohibits Congress’s pay from being altered during a session.
The House made history Wednesday when it conducted its first proxy vote since Congress began meeting in 1789.
“New for the proxy vote arrangement was a steady stream of lawmakers standing up on the House floor and verbally announcing the names of their colleagues they are voting proxy for and how each person votes on the legislation. For example, Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., was the designated proxy voter for Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif,” Fox News reported.
“I inform the House that Ms. Bass will vote ‘yea,'” Cicilline announced on the House floor and her vote was recorded into the roll call tally.