McCarthy Puts The Kibosh On Proxy Voting: No More!
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 28: U.S. House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks during a weekly news conference May 28, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. McCarthy held news conference to fill questions from members of the press. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Newly-elected House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has put an end to proxy voting in the House of Representatives — a measure that was initially put in place over concerns about the continued spread of the COVID pandemic.

“No more proxy voting. Effective immediately, Members of Congress have to show up to work if they want their vote to count,” McCarthy tweeted on Thursday morning.

McCarthy’s declaration is the fulfillment of his promise to end the practice — which was instituted by his predecessor, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) — but as several outlets have noted, ending proxy voting with such a slim majority could be a risky endeavor. A party-line vote could break for the Democrats if just a few Republicans are ill or otherwise unable to make it to a vote.

Despite any concerns over the slim nature of the Republican majority — especially with Congressman Greg Steube (R-FL) in the hospital recovering from a fall — most Republicans appear to be glad to see the practice end.

“Proxy voting in the House is now dead. Your reps need to show up and do their job now, just like you,” Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) said.

“Today, House Republicans will vote to END proxy voting once and for all,” Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) added. “The House of Representatives isn’t a tech company. Its members should work IN PERSON in the People’s House!”

“Proxy voting has ended in the House! It was rarely used for its stated purpose of dealing with COVID,” Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) commented. “But it was frequently abused by members to attend fund raisers, campaign, go on vacation, and avoid traveling for work. I’m one of a small minority who never voted by proxy.”

“House Republicans voted to END proxy voting in Congress. I never voted by proxy, and I proudly voted to put it to an end!” Rep. David Rouzer (R-NC) said. “If Americans have to show up at work every day – Members of Congress should do the same.”

While some Republicans did make use of proxy voting from time to time, the practice was primarily used by Democrats according to a May, 2022, report from Arizona PBS affiliate Cronkite News.

Over 150 Republicans used proxy voting at least once, according to that report, while over 240 Democrats had done the same. The top ten proxy voters, however, were all Democrats — with Florida Rep. Al Lawson at the top of the list with 717 proxy votes at the time the report was published. Proxy votes accounted for 10% of all votes from the time the practice was instituted until the report was published.

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