House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is now facing a lawsuit after House Republicans filed against her on Tuesday over proxy voting that was put into effect during the coronavirus pandemic that Republicans say is unconstitutional.
Pelosi’s proxy voting gives way for House members to place a vote on another person’s behalf if one of them is not physically present at the Capitol.
This proxy voting would provide a concerning consolidation of power as Democrats continue to use this crisis as political leverage. At least 59 Democrats have submitted letters to the House Clerk’s office to authorize their vote to be cast by proxy.
Meanwhile, GOP lawmakers have said they will be in the Capitol to cast their votes.
The measure received zero support from Republicans when it passed earlier in May as GOP lawmakers argued that the Constitution requires a quorum or a majority of lawmakers to be physically present in order to cast votes on a measure. This led the Republicans to deem the measure unconstitutional.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called the new voting rules “a dereliction of our duty as elected officials,” and argued that “a small number of members dictating the businesses of the whole House while the people’s voice is diluted” would be a dangerous precedent to set.
McCarthy has spearheaded the lawsuit against Pelosi along with the support of 20 other members of his party. GOP support includes Rep. Chip Roy from Texas, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and GOP Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney from Wyoming, as well as four constituents.
“It’s simple: one representative should equal one vote. We can’t let her get away with this,” Scalise tweeted Tuesday
Pelosi attempted to belittle the lawsuit by labeling it a “sad stunt” intended to “delay and obstruct urgently-needed action to meet the needs of American workers and families during the coronavirus crisis.”
Pelosi also made the argument that past rulings by the Supreme Court have upheld that the Constitution allows for each chamber of Congress to establish its own set of procedural rules and as far as she is concerned that includes one that consolidates power into a totalitarian like manner.
For proxy voting, the House sergeant-at-arms and the attending physician have to notify lawmakers 24 hours in advance of invoking remote voting and the rule will stand for up to 45 days once it has been invoked.
“As our nation approaches the heartbreaking milestone of 100,000 lives lost to COVID-19, House Republicans must stop their dangerous obstruction and join Democrats to save lives, defeat the virus and grow the economy,” Pelosi laughably said in a statement Tuesday.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer suggested that the move was about “public health” saying, “The rule change to allow remote voting in order to maintain public health fits within those bounds. We should not endanger public health when technology can enable us to meet remotely – just as Senate committees, the Supreme Court, and businesses and schools across the country have done over the past few weeks.”
Democrats will look to implement the disturbing new voting system as early as this week. Republicans, although hopeful that it will, say its doubtful that the lawsuit will have the necessary strength to stop an out of control Nancy Pelosi.