House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) called out the flaws in the 2020 rule change back by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) that allowed proxy voting and remote proceedings.

McCarthy submitted his testimony to the House Rules Committee on Thursday, arguing that there needs to be an end to Pelosi’s two-year-old rule that allows members to vote by proxy and have remote proceedings so the body can fully return to conducting business in person.

McCarthy explained that the “Democrats fundamentally changed the rules of the House of Representatives to no longer require members to meet in person for committee business or votes on the Floor” in 2020 when the coronavirus started to prevent the members from traveling to Washington, DC.

“Predictably, this has led to a series of blunders where Members of Congress put their own personal convenience ahead of the job of representing their constituents.” As the Republican leader explained in his prepared remarks, some members have taken the opportunity to have a long weekend while a colleague would stay in D.C. to vote for them.

“From the onset of COVID-19, we all recognized that Congress’s typical ways of doing business would need to adjust,” McCarthy acknowledged. “Together, we briefly served on a bipartisan working group to explore how the House could continue safely operating without sacrificing the very qualities that make this institution unique.”

However, he explained that “It didn’t need to be this way” because the upper chamber was able to pull it off and do in-person legislative work during the coronavirus pandemic. “The Senate has managed to maintain in-person floor voting for the entirety of the past two years—with a much older population and a 50-50 makeup, no less.” But as the coronavirus gave the ability for members to have an electronic bill submission, amendments, and co-sponsorship, there are still too many flaws for the Republican leader to look past.

McCarthy outlined two of the major flawed points: proxy voting and remote committee proceedings. On the first issue, he said, the term “proxy voting” would better be used as “convenience” as members of both parties have used it like that, other than a precaution for the health crisis — which is what they claim.

“We all know friends and colleagues who have done so while misrepresenting their inability “to physically attend proceedings due to the ongoing public health emergency,” McCarthy said. “Anecdotally, Members have used proxy voting as a means to attend fundraisers, conventions, ribbon cuttings, bill signings, personal events, and more—both inside and outside D.C.”

For remote committee proceedings, he said, compared to having hearing and markups in-person, remote proceedings are “no good way for the House to operate.” McCarthy argued that they are riddled with “technology issues [that] have repeatedly marred committee activity.”

“Members have been caught on camera in less than decorous condition, including rolling out of bed, making inappropriate and interruptive comments believing they were ‘on mute,’ and voting while on a boat (yes, seriously),” he explained in his prepared remarks. And he  a time he witnessed a member in the minority was being denied the right to vote because of the technology platform he was using to participate.

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