11 House Republicans vote remotely to protect Trump after suing to block remote voting

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They called the pandemic proxy voting rules unconstitutional just months ago.

Last May, scores of House Republicans sued to block a vote-from-home proxy system designed to curb the spread of the coronavirus. On Tuesday, 11 of those same people took advantage of the system they once decried as a clear violation of the Constitution.

The proxy votes came as House Republicans nearly unanimously voted against a resolution urging Mike Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Donald Trump from power.

Eleven of the GOP lawmakers voting not to hold Trump accountable for inciting last week's terrorist attacks on the Capitol did so via proxies. Most of the representatives voting remotely and those serving as proxies are among the named plaintiffs in the lawsuit challenging those rules.

They are:

  1. Rep. Larry Buchson (R-IN), voting on behalf of Rep. Jim Baird (R-IN).
  2. Rep. Jack Bergman (plaintiff), voting via proxy.
  3. Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), voting on behalf of Bergman and Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO).
  4. Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), voting via proxy.
  5. Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), voting via proxy.
  6. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN), voting via proxy.
  7. Rep. David Kustoff (R-TN), voting on behalf of DesJarlais and Fleischmann.
  8. Rep. David Joyce (R-OH), voting on behalf of Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH).
  9. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN), voting via proxy.
  10. Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), voting on behalf of Walorski.
  11. Rep. Don Young (R-AK), voting via proxy.

As the COVID-19 pandemic spread through the United States and its Congress, the House of Representatives voted on May 15 to temporarily let members work from home and designate a colleague to cast votes on their behalf. The Republican minority unanimously opposed the change, with members decrying it as "unconstitutional" and the end of "our constitutional republic."

Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and much of his caucus filed a federal challenge, calling it "simply impossible to read the Constitution and overlook its repeated and emphatic requirement that Members of Congress actually assemble in their respective chambers when they vote, whether on matters as weighty as declaring war or as ordinary as naming a bridge." They asked the court to "permanently enjoin the use of proxy voting in the United States House of Representatives."

In August, a federal judge dismissed the GOP lawsuit, finding that the Congress "unquestionably has the authority, under the Constitution, to 'determine the Rules of its Proceedings." An appeal is still pending.

A spokesperson for McCarthy (R-CA) did not immediately respond to questions about whether he believes his GOP colleagues acted unconstitutionally on Tuesday.

In their letters designating their proxy, each member indicates that they are "unable to physically attend proceedings in the House Chamber due to the ongoing public health emergency."

As the United States continues to set daily records for new COVID-19 cases, at least three members of Congress tested positive this week after being forced to shelter with unmasked colleagues during last week's Capitol insurrection.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.