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Republicans Announce Plan To Strip Pay from Lawmakers Who Vote by Proxy

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Members of the House of Representatives who vote via a proxy rather than in person would have their pay withheld under legislation introduced this week by a group of House Republicans.

Republican Rep. Ted Budd of North Carolina is the lead sponsor of the No Pay for Proxy Voting Act. Six other House Republicans — Reps. Dan Bishop and David Rouzer of North Carolina, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Jack Bergman of Michigan, John Curtis of Utah, Bill Posey of Florida and Alex Mooney of West Virginia — are all co-sponsoring the bill.

The legislation comes in response to a plan supported by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that would allow one member to vote on another member’s behalf.

Democrats say the proxy voting rules, adopted earlier this month, are necessary due to current health concerns. According to The Washington Times, 73 lawmakers had signed up to have others cast their votes for them as of Thursday.

But Republicans say the measure violates a requirement in the Constitution that a majority of members must be present to vote on legislation.

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Under Budd’s legislation, members of the House who vote via a proxy would have their pay withheld for each day that the proxy was used to cast a vote or was recorded as present in the House.

The 27th Amendment makes it unconstitutional for a law that takes away or adds to congressional lawmakers’ pay to go into effect during the same session that it was passed.

Should lawmakers be allowed to vote by proxy?

Thus, Budd’s bill says that the withheld pay would be held in an escrow account and released to the members it was taken from at the end of the session during which it was withheld.

“Outsourcing the duty of a member of Congress is unconstitutional and wrong,” Budd said in a statement. “House members should not be allowed to send someone else to do their jobs for them.”

“In the real world, if you don’t show up for your job, you don’t get paid. The same principle should apply to our country’s representatives. If they don’t come to work, they shouldn’t receive their taxpayer-funded paycheck.”

He expressed similar sentiments in an interview with the Daily Caller.

“Beyond the fact that House Democrats’ proxy voting scheme is unconstitutional, it also allows members to phone in their public service,” Budd said. “That’s just fundamentally wrong. Our salaries are paid for by taxpayers, and if my Democrat colleagues don’t want to show up and vote, then they shouldn’t get that paycheck.”

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Earlier this week, House Republicans, including Budd, filed a lawsuit as part of their effort to block the proxy voting rules.

“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,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California said in a statement, noting the suit was filed Tuesday in federal court to “overturn Speaker Pelosi’s unconstitutional power grab.”

“Ultimately, as few as 20 members could control the vote of over 220 members under this rule for the foreseeable future. That is not only irresponsible leadership, it is patently unconstitutional, as 230 years of Congressional history and Supreme Court precedent make abundantly clear,” he said.

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Joe Setyon was a deputy managing editor for The Western Journal who had spent his entire professional career in editing and reporting. He previously worked in Washington, D.C., as an assistant editor/reporter for Reason magazine.
Joe Setyon was deputy managing editor for The Western Journal with several years of copy editing and reporting experience. He graduated with a degree in communication studies from Grove City College, where he served as managing editor of the student-run newspaper. Joe previously worked as an assistant editor/reporter for Reason magazine, a libertarian publication in Washington, D.C., where he covered politics and wrote about government waste and abuse.
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