House GOP Bill Would Hold Paychecks for Those Members Voting by Proxy

May 29, 2020 Updated: May 29, 2020

In their latest effort to end proxy voting a group of House Republicans on Thursday introduced a bill, “No Pay for Proxy Voting Act,” which would hold up pay for those members who choose to vote by proxy.

Led by Rep. Tedd Budd (R-N.C.) the legislation states (pdf) that for each day that a member elects to vote by proxy or have a proxy record their presence in the Chamber for a quorum call, the House’s Chief Administrative Officer “will withhold a day’s worth of pay and deposit it into an escrow account.”

At the end of the Congress, the pay would be returned to the representative, because under the 27th amendment it’s considered unconstitutional to withhold members’ pay.

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

“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.”

The House rules change has been controversial since being passed in early May. Democrats and Republicans have been split about the constitutionality of proxy voting.

Democrats argue the measure is necessary to protect the health of members and staff during the crisis, while Republicans oppose the change because they say it breaks from tradition and gives too much power to certain members.

“House Democrats have already taken advantage of their proxy voting scheme. This is an abuse of taxpayer dollars. Hardworking Americans should not have to pay the price for this unconstitutional power grab,” Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Md.) said Friday.

House Committee on Rules defended proxy voting Friday saying, “Schools, businesses, and governments around the world have all adapted during this health crisis. That’s why @HouseDemocrats have implemented remote voting during this pandemic: because protecting public health is our top concern.”

Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who filed a lawsuit against proxy voting, said Thursday, “Nearly a third of House Democrats didn’t show up for work this week. But they’ll still get a paycheck. A couple even lied so they could travel across Florida for a rocket launch. This should outrage everyone—including the 50 million Americans who were without representation.”

McCarthy alleges the new rules are unconstitutional (pdf) because the Constitution requires a “quorum,” of lawmakers to be physically present in order to conduct business. Twenty other Republican members of Congress and four constituents are listed as co-plaintiffs.

House Republicans filed the lawsuit against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on May 26 in an effort to block a system of proxy voting put in place that allows members to vote on each other’s behalf during the CCP virus pandemic.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) advocated for the 45-day period of “remote proceedings,” which would include proxy voting on the House floor, allowing members who are unable to be physically present at Capitol Hill, due to the CCP virus pandemic, to designate another lawmaker as their “proxy” and cast votes on their behalf.

Republican Reps. Dan Bishop (N.C.), Andy Biggs (Ariz.), John Curtis (Utah), David Rouzer (N.C.), Bill Posey (Fla.), and Jack Bergman (Mich.) cosigned the “No Pay for Proxy Voting Act.”