Author: Chuck Malloy
Imagine what the level of outrage would be if the conservative-based House Freedom Caucus — of which Idaho Congressman Russ Fulcher is a member — were to declare solidarity and seek proxy voting on floor issues to spare its members the burden of making House votes in person.
The 40-or-so Republican members seem to talk and think alike, so they might as well vote alike. Right?
But open efforts to create such a voting block would make the Freedom Caucus the butt of jokes on Capitol Hill. If Fulcher, a freshman congressman, presented the idea on his own, he’d be laughed out of the Longworth House Office Building.
Or, more likely, “I would have been led out of there by police escort,” he said.
For sure, the idea of proxy voting on the House floor is unheard of, even by Washington standards. But that was before COVID-19 became a household term.
Now, proxy voting on the House floor is part of standard procedure, thanks to the efforts of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her Democratic friends. Technically, Fulcher and fellow Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson could do their business in the Gem State without stepping foot in their Washington offices. They could plug into committee meetings online and find friendly colleagues from other states to do their voting for them on the House floor.
Nice gig, if you can find it.
Don’t worry, folks, it isn’t going to happen. They will continue casting their votes the old-fashioned way — in person. If it means that Simpson drives from Idaho to Washington, D.C., to cast a vote — as he did for a pandemic relief bill — then make sure he starts the trip with a full tank of gas.
Simpson and Fulcher are among the Republicans who are suing Pelosi for proxy voting, saying the action is unconstitutional. Democrats argue that House members can set the rules as they see fit and courts have no right to interfere. Get ready for a long partisan battle.
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