Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney (R) blasted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s remote proxy voting plan last week, characterizing the California Democrat’s proposal as unconstitutional and the work of “heavy-handed partisan maneuvering,” the Daily Caller reported.
Pelosi’s voting plan, which allows committee proceedings to be conducted remotely and for one physically present representative to cast a vote for up to 10 others, passed largely along party lines Friday, according to a report from the Associated Press.
Disregarding the Constitution?
In Cheney’s view, the Democrats’ plan would prevent the effective debate and deliberation that has been a strong tradition in the House from its beginning.
“Our founders intended that Congress convene and deliberate,” the Wyoming Republican said in a statement shared by her office on Friday, according to the Daily Caller.
She went on: “The Constitution requires a majority of members be present to constitute a quorum to conduct business. In times of national emergency, changes in House operations may be necessary, but those changes should never be the subject of heavy-handed partisan maneuvering in blatant disregard of constitutional imperative, precedent, and the rights of the minority.”
Republicans push back
Other Republicans, like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), have also objected to the plan in recent weeks.
“Our Founders would be ashamed that we aren’t assembling,” McCarthy said Friday, according to the Daily Caller. “A virtual Congress would be a Congress that is connected to the internet, but disconnected from the American people.”
Jordan, for his part, pointed to logistical concerns involved with proxy voting in remarks to reporters in late April. “The idea that we’re going to now let someone else vote for us because we tell him how to vote — what happens when there’s a procedural motion that comes up? How do you handle that? It’s supposed to be in-person in a debate,” Jordan said, according to The Hill.
“Voting to give themselves more power”
Indeed, as The Hill noted, Republicans got rid of proxy voting in 1995 because they felt it was unfair. Now, they think Pelosi is taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to reinstitute it.
“We got rid of proxy voting to give every member of Congress the ability to have a voice,” Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL) told The Hill in April. “And for Speaker Pelosi and her lieutenants to decide that they’re going to take advantage of implementing a process like proxy voting to give themselves more power when Congress is still vulnerable right now, to its normal operations — I just think is absurd and I think it silences individual members of Congress who were sent here to cast votes on behalf of our constituents.”
Pelosi’s partisan games
The House also approved on Friday a $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill that, according to NPR, “would include a new wave of help for state and local governments, workers, and families.” But with many saying the bill includes too many unrelated items straight off the Democratic Party agenda, Republicans seem to think the measure will be short-lived in the Senate.
“It’s, as they say, DOA. Dead on arrival,” Trump said Wednesday, as The Hill reported separately. “Of course Nancy Pelosi knows that.”
Even with American lives on the line, it seems Pelosi and her fellow Dems can’t put aside their partisan games. What a shame.