A Democratic remote-voting plan will allow congressmen to “vote from a boat in a lake” and help Republicans regain the majority in the House of Representatives in 2022, according to Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.).
“They want to go to full remote voting, they want Members of the House of Representatives to be able to sit in their favorite establishment, or in their home, maybe on a boat in a lake, and just vote from there, via their cell phone,” Davis told The Epoch Times Tuesday.
“That’s the proposal they are putting forth, and it would completely disrupt what our institution is about, being able to work with people face-to-face across the aisle, and instead, we’re just continuing to consolidate power in the Speaker’s suite,” Davis said.
Davis said he hopes “Nancy Pelosi stays on as Speaker because she is the best person Republicans have to guarantee a majority in 2022 … this proxy voting process and moving to remote voting I think will be another bad decision by Democrats that will help Republicans at the ballot box.”
Pelosi and House Democrats expected to gain as many as 15 seats to strengthen their majority in the Nov. 3 election, but Republicans instead have gained nine seats, according to RealClear Politics. Davis told The Epoch Times he thinks the House GOP could be as little as only four seats short of a majority when all of the 2020 contests are decided.
Davis was referring in his remote-voting comments to a Nov. 10 letter from House Committee on Administration Chairman Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) to Pelosi saying “following consultation with the Ranking Minority Member, I write to notify you that that operable and secure technology exists to conduct remote voting in the House of Representatives.”
Davis is the ranking Republican member of the Administration committee.
The following day, Lofgren made public a report by the Democratic staff of her committee that concluded “operable and secure technology exists that would permit the House to conduct remote voting, and that such a tool could be developed to further establish the House’s flexibility and resiliency to operate during the pandemic.”
The report said it found multiple commercial vendors of software systems that could be used to enable the House to conduct official business remotely, including voting on the floor and in hearings.
Earlier this year, House Democrats adopted a temporary rule allowing proxy voting under which one Member present on the House floor can cast the votes of as many as 10 colleagues. Democrats said the rule was justified as a response to the CCP Virus pandemic.
Davis was joined in a Nov. 11 statement in response to Lofgren by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), the ranking Republican on the House Rules Committee.
“Speaker Pelosi is once again attempting to consolidate power in the House of Representatives, while rewarding members of her party for their compliance,” the GOP trio said.
“By shielding themselves from substantive policy debates and questions from the Capitol Hill press corps, Democrats appear ready to silence the voices of millions of Americans and overturn centuries of House precedent just to protect their own political futures,” the three Republicans continued.
McCarthy, Davis and Cole warned that Pelosi and Lofgren are paving “the way for an expansion of the current proxy voting scheme into a fully-remote ‘vote by text’ operation that is unproven, unsecure, and unconstitutional.”Republicans oppose proxy voting because the Constitution requires senators and representatives to be present to vote, as they have done since the founding document’s official adoption in March 1789. Democrats counter-argue that the Constitution allows the Senate and House to adopt their own rules for proceedings.
Under the limited proxy voting system that was adopted over Republican opposition in May, the report said the House has since held:
- 151 entirely remote hearings.
- 117 hybrid hearings.
- Four entirely remote bill markup sessions.
- 26 hybrid markups with members both present and remote.
- Scores of remote or hybrid briefings, forums, meetings, and roundtables.
Davis said in a separate Nov. 11 letter to House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) that, contrary to Lofgren’s claim to Pelosi, he was not consulted regarding the technical feasibility of proxy voting.
“While I’ve been willing to provide insight and engage on this issue, I want to make it clear that the majority did not consult me on this decision, but merely informed,” Davis told McGovern.
“I understand [Lofgren] is only looking at what is technically feasible … but there are greater issues at stake here. During the only hearing our committee held on this issue, it was noted that remote voting would fundamentally change this institution, consolidate the power of the Speaker, and weaken the House.
“Furthermore, one hearing is not adequate for doing industry research, gathering detailed requirements, and working with the institutional support entities that would manage a remote voting system. To the best of my knowledge, very little, if any, of that has been done.”
Davis questioned whether sufficient study has been done on critical issues prompted by proposals to move to proxy voting, including “how will members authenticate themselves or how will we have a system that supports members will little or no connectivity at their homes … Remote voting is not something you simply flip a switch and start doing.”
Contact Mark Tapscott at Mark.Tapscott@epochtimes.nyc