If anyone was looking for a good example of how the House of Representatives’ new proxy voting system could be abused, Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist (Fla.) just provided a near perfect one.
What are the details?
Crist, as the new policy dictates, submitted a request for another member to vote on his behalf Wednesday, noting in a letter to the clerk’s office that he would be “unable to physically attend proceedings” due to “the ongoing public health emergency.”
Then the congressman, who represents Florida’s 13th Congressional District based in St. Petersburg on the state’s west coast, hopped in his car to drive across the state to the Kennedy Space Center to watch the historic SpaceX launch.
Sadly, the launch ended up being scrubbed for poor weather, meaning Crist wasn’t able to watch the launch while bailing on work.
In a tweet Wednesday announcing his planned attendance at the event, Crist made no mention of the fact that his proxy request was made due to the “ongoing health emergency.”
In fact, a statement included in the tweet stated: “Given his attendance at the launch, Congressman Crist will be voting by proxy in the House of Representatives this week.” (emphasis added)
Republicans warned this would happen
In a statement this week, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) called the new rule “a brazen violation of the Constitution” and “a dereliction of our duty as elected officials.”
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) added in a tweet that the rule is “unconstitutional” and said: “Let’s face it. You gotta show up for work.”
The Daily Wire reported that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) spoke out on the rule during a Senate floor speech last week, blasting Democrats for “playing games with the Constitution so they can continue their never ending spring break well into July.”
As of Thursday afternoon, 74 congressional members had submitted requests for proxy voters to the clerk’s office.