Rob Wittman joins lawsuit against House proxy voting
“Two weeks ago, Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats voted to break over 230 years of precedent by allowing Members of Congress to vote by proxy on the House floor,” Wittman said. “Members are now no longer required to be present in Washington to cast their vote on behalf of the people they represent. Ultimately, as few as 20 members could control the vote of over 220 members under this rule for the foreseeable future.
“I voted against the resolution because I believe it to be a violation of the U.S. Constitution, an abdication of our duty as elected officials, and would deny the American people their voice during a crisis. The responsibility of a Member of Congress to represent his or her constituents in Congress should not be entrusted to another. That is also why I joined Leader McCarthy’s lawsuit to overturn Speaker Pelosi’s unconstitutional rule in federal court. The Constitution is clear: Congress is required to assemble to conduct official business and cast their own votes on behalf of those they were elected to represent – and although we create our own rules, we cannot ignore that fundamental requirement. Furthermore, I am deeply concerned that since proxy voting is not constitutionally sound, it could endanger the legality of legislation passed by such means. With an increasing number of Democratic members choosing to assign a proxy, it’s a real concern that voting in this way poses a great deal of risk,” he said.
“I refuse to dilute the voice of the American public and I will be in Washington casting my vote on behalf of my constituents,” he said.
“I have been asking the Speaker to call the House back into session for weeks,” Wittman said. “If it is essential for doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, truck drivers, grocery-store workers, and many other brave Americans to keep carefully manning their own duty stations, then it is essential for Congress to carefully man ours and support them. Not only do we need to continue working to help Americans in the response to this pandemic, but we also have the regular business of the House – such as budgeting and appropriating for the next year. I urge Speaker Pelosi, again, to bring back the full House.”
Representing the plaintiffs are Chuck Cooper and Joel Alicea (lead counsel), and Elliott Berke (outside counsel). The suit is being filed in the D.C. Federal District Court to enjoin the use of proxy voting.
An overview of the filing can be found here.