EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Greg Pence Calls On Pelosi To End Proxy Voting Following Biden’s Claim That The Pandemic Is Over

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
Font Size:

Republican Indiana Rep. Greg Pence is calling on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to end proxy voting rules in the aftermath of President Joe Biden’s claim that the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

Democratic House leadership introduced proxy voting in March 2020, arguing that the procedure was necessary to promote social-distancing and combat the spread of COVID-19. However, many members have used proxy voting to attend fundraisers or media events, despite signing affidavits claiming that they can not vote due to the “ongoing public health emergency.” With Biden claiming in a Sunday 60 Minutes interview that the pandemic is “over,” Pence is urging Pelosi to eliminate the procedure.

“Over the course of one hundred and fifteen sessions of Congress, this body convened in times of war, pandemics, and national crises alike to fulfill our constitutional duties. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic two and a half years ago, essential workers, blue collar employees, first responders, food and restaurant industries, and many more have shown up to work each and every day to do their job,” Pence wrote to Pelosi in a Tuesday letter, obtained exclusively by the Daily Caller.

Read the letter here:

FILE_7526 by Michael Ginsberg

The Supreme Court declined to hear a lawsuit challenging proxy voting from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in January. Members have continued to use the procedure, despite the February end of the Capitol’s mask mandate, and the elimination of mask mandates on airplanes and trains. More than 180 representatives filed proxy letters with the House clerk ahead of the Aug. 12 Inflation Reduction Act vote. (RELATED: After Record-Breaking McCarthy Speech, 78 House Members Decide Not To Show Up For Build Back Better Vote)

Pence told the Daily Caller that members should stay home if they fall ill, but that they should not be allowed to vote if they are not physically present in the Capitol. He noted that he did not use a proxy following June heart surgery.

“I drove myself out here and attended committee hearings, mark-ups, and have never proxy-voted. I’ve missed votes for a week when I had a health problem. I think the American people understand that you can’t attend work when you’re sick,” he said in an interview. “If you were exposed to COVID-19, the best thing for you to do would be to stay home.”

Several candidates for higher office have used proxy voting to campaign and fund-raise. Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, his state’s Democratic Senate nominee, voted by proxy 24 times in one day while attending campaign events, while Democratic Hawaii Rep. Kai Kahele appeared at a marijuana dispensary with a proxy letter open.

I understand the philosophy, but I’ve been opposed from the very beginning. If you’re sick, stay home.”

Pence claimed that proxy voting allows party leadership to maintain better control of their conferences.

“Why have we been proxy-voting other than to control members and control their votes?” he asked.