Pelosi extends proxy voting for COVID 'emergency' until after the election, while Biden says the pandemic is over
House of Representatives members don't have to be in DC until Nov. 10
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Friday that she has extended the “public health emergency… due to a novel coronavirus” until November 10, 2022, which just happens to be two days after the midterm elections.
This means members of Congress can do “remote” voting and not come to Washington, D.C. for their official duties under the guise of protecting each other from getting COVID.
Meantime, Pres. Joe Biden declared (rightfully) that “The pandemic is over.”
Since all rationale minded people agree that the pandemic is over, why does Pelosi think House members can’t go to Washington and vote? Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) tweeted about the conflicting messages from Democrats.
The House has been doing “proxy voting” since March 2020 and was supposed to end on Sept. 26. The way it works is another member is designated to cast a ballot for the missing person.
I got Pelosi’s press release at 3 p.m. on Friday afternoon. (It’s a political PR tactic that when you want to bury news from the public, you do it in a “Friday news dump.”)
The subject line is: “Dear Colleague to All Members on Extension of Remote Voting Covered Period.” A “dear colleague” is a letter to other members of the House. It says:
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 November 10, 2022.
There is nothing to explain why she thinks Congress is still in a “public health emergency.”
The attached letter from the Sergeant-at-Arms William Walker (below in sources) has a lot of gibberish but just says the emergency “remains in effect” due to the “novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.”
Proxy voting abuse:
My former colleague Susan Crabtree pointed out on Twitter (below) that Pelosi’s extension came the same day that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) wrote an op-ed saying proxy voting will end if Republicans win back the House.
McCarthy wrote that if Republicans take control of the House, they will:
… restore voters’ confidence in Congress, starting with ending Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s proxy-voting abuse of power that allowed 90% of House Democrats to get paid without needing to show up for work.
He’s referring to a Ripon study of proxy voting in 2021 that showed almost all Democrats had voted from somewhere other than the U.S. Capitol.
In contrast, Ripon reported 64% of Republicans last year voted by proxy.
But those stats are from 2021 when there was still a pandemic and people needed to social distance.
I think it’s clear the reason Pelosi just extended remote voting…