Three House Democrats have not cast a single vote in person in 2022, according to an analysis published Monday.
Reps. Albio Sires of New Jersey, Lucille Roybal-Allard of California and Al Lawson of Florida have used proxies to cast 125 votes each, the Honolulu Civil Beat reported. Sires and Roybal-Allard have already announced that they will retire at the end of the congressional session, and redistricting is likely to push Lawson into a difficult reelection bid.
In order to designate a proxy, lawmakers must state that they are “unable to physically attend proceedings in the House Chamber due to the ongoing public health emergency.” However, several representatives have been seen attending fundraisers after designating proxies, and 78 members designated proxies for the Build Back Better vote following a marathon floor speech from Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. (RELATED: ‘Stop Lying’: Republicans Trash Colleagues Who Use Proxy Voting To ‘Go To A Fundraiser’)
Even as Congress and the Biden administration have lifted other restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has maintained the proxy voting rule. McCarthy has vowed to eliminate it if Republicans take back the House in the 2022 midterms. The Senate does not allow for proxy voting.
A new analysis finds some lawmakers running or considering higher office are using proxy voting quite a lot.
There are also 3 Democratic members who’ve voted 100 percent by proxy this year. https://t.co/k3U9Hpc9GO
— Congress Minutes (@politicongress) April 11, 2022
“Congresswoman Roybal-Allard was in Washington, D.C. just last week, as she has been for nearly 30 years, to represent her constituents from California’s 40th Congressional District. While in her DC office she Chaired two virtual House Appropriations Subcommittee Hearings. Upon learning about the high number of her colleagues testing positive for COVID-19 and the House’s elimination of the mask requirement, Congresswoman Roybal-Allard made the decision to vote by proxy because her husband is immunocompromised and his health could be severely impacted if infected,” a spokeswoman for Roybal-Allard told the Daily Caller.
“Congresswoman Roybal-Allard has and continues to take every precaution available to protect the health and the safety of her family and staff.”
Sires and Lawson did not respond to multiple requests for comment from the Daily Caller.
Another congressman, Hawaii Rep. Kai Kahele, has voted in-person only five times in 2022, according to the Civil Beat. In one instance, he posted a photo of himself on social media at a marijuana dispensary shortly after voting by proxy to decriminalize the drug. Kahele is reportedly considering a run for Hawaii lieutenant governor.
Many Democrats in both chambers of Congress have kept their offices closed in both the Capitol and their districts, citing the risk of COVID-19. Staffers for senators facing tough re-election campaigns, including Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire and Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, continue to work remotely, an investigation by the Washington Free Beacon found.
All Democrats are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and have been since May 2021.