House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R- CA) announced on Twitter Tuesday that Congressional Republicans have filed a lawsuit to overturn House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s “unconstitutional proxy voting scheme” amid the Coronavirus pandemic.
“I just filed a lawsuit in federal court to overturn Speaker Pelosi’s unconstitutional proxy voting scheme. It could allow as few as 20 Representatives to control the votes of 220. This is NOT the representative democracy our Founders envisioned or what our Constitution allows,” McCarthy wrote on Twitter.
“This week, House Democrats will break over 230 years of precedent and allow Members of Congress to vote by proxy on the House floor,” Rep. McCarthy wrote in a separate statement. “This is not simply arcane parliamentary procedure. It is a brazen violation of the Constitution, a dereliction of our duty as elected officials, and would silence the American people’s voice during a crisis.”
Under the pandemic-driven rule change, passed without any GOP votes last Friday, for the first time in the nation’s history, members will be able to direct other members to vote on their behalf as well as attend committee meetings virtually, the Blaze reported.
Though the rule is intended to be a temporary 45-day solution, Roll Call reported that Pelosi has the power to lengthen or shorten the proxy voting period based on public health information provided by the sergeant-at-arms, per the Blaze.
Pelosi called the lawsuit a “sad stunt.”, adding in statement: “The House’s position that remote voting by proxy during a pandemic is fully consistent with the Constitution is supported by expert legal analyses. Further, the Supreme Court made clear over a century ago that the Constitution empowers each chamber of Congress to set its own procedural rules.” Video BelowHouse Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on the House floor Wednesday:
Meanwhile on Wednesday, Pelosi during a press conference, told reporters the coronavirus is “an opportunity, every crisis is”.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise noted that what Pelosi is doing is “unconstitutional”.
More House Republicans weighed in, supporting McCarthy’s decision.