Why it matters: Proxy voting was enacted to allow representatives to reduce their risk of contracting the virus, but it has also undercut the convening of the People’s House and allowed alternative political activity, including foreign trips and fundraising.
- Exacerbating the problem is the uneven application of COVID-19 reporting requirements and practices in Congress.
- There’s no requirement for senators or representatives to declare their vaccination or COVID status, although Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) have been among the most recent to announce positive results.
- House members are punished for refusing to wear a mask in their chamber, yet two Georgia Republicans have racked up more than $100,000 in combined fines in defiance of the rule.
Driving the news: Axios found that 158 lawmakers had active proxy voting letters on file with the Office of House Clerk before tonight’s 6:30pm quorum call.
Fifty-eight of those letters alone arrived during the day. They designated a colleague to cast a vote on another member’s behalf.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has extended the use of proxy voting until Feb. 13, and some lawmakers privately expect her to prolong it for another 45-day stretch.