Even President Biden has admitted that the COVID-19 pandemic is “over.” Yet while the rest of society has long since moved on, Democrats in Congress are still refusing to actually show up and do their jobs.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi just extended “proxy voting” yet again, through November 10. As explained by the Congressional Institute, proxy voting is “a practice where one Member authorizes a colleague to vote on their behalf and instructs the colleague which way to vote.”
Basically, members of Congress—who collect $174,000 a year in taxpayer-funded salaries—don’t have to actually show up and do their jobs. They can just text a buddy to vote for them and get back to vacationing or campaigning.
Make no mistake: that’s what it’s all really about at this point.
I think it’s fair to say that at the beginning of the pandemic, many members of Congress, who tend to be rather, erm, elderly… may have earnestly wanted proxy voting as a way to avoid COVID-19. But they’ve long since had access to effective vaccines and, if we’re being honest, everyone’s been exposed to COVID one way or another by this point.
In reality, they’re exploiting proxy voting for cynical personal purposes.
“Rep. Karen Bass voted by proxy in the House… as she filed paperwork in Los Angeles to run for mayor,” the Los Angeles Times reports. “Rep. Mo Brooks did the same to campaign for a Senate seat, tweeting a picture of himself shaking hands with Alabama Republicans. Rep. Ro Khanna used proxy voting while sitting in a car in the Capitol parking lot, doing an online interview about his new book.”
Some Democratic members literally just don’t want to do their jobs. As the Austin-American Statesman reported, “Retiring Rep. Albio Sires, D-N.J., voted 100% of the time by proxy from January through April.”
Why does it matter if they’re in person or not?
“Conducting business in-person is integral to the work Congress does,” the Congressional Institute explains. “Meeting with constituents, speaking with staff about legislation, scurrying from one committee hearing to another: These are all activities that Members of Congress engaged in in-person prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“The very word ‘congress’ means ‘the act or action of coming together,’” it adds. “Congress thrives when Members and staff have strong bonds with each other. Conversely, when Members are unable or unwilling to work with each other, whether it is within a party or across the aisle, legislative muscles atrophy and the institution suffers.”
It’s also just downright insulting.
From Day One of the COVID-19 pandemic, “essential workers” like grocery store clerks were expected to show up to work. But those who run the highest levels of our federal government can’t be bothered to?
There’s a partisan slant to this issue.
While some Republicans have taken advantage of proxy voting, Fox News reports that 72% of House proxy votes in 2021 were cast by Democrats—an overwhelming majority. More importantly, Republican leadership wants to end proxy voting. It’s the Democratic establishment that’s clinging to the practice.
Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has railed against the practice, calling it a “disgrace” and saying, “This Democrat Majority — they will destroy our economy and mortgage your future but can’t be personally bothered to make the trip to D.C. to do their jobs.”
We shouldn’t stand for it. If Congress is going to waste so much of our money, the absolute bare minimum we can demand is that they actually show up to their jobs.