Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), Ranking Member of the House Rules Committee, issued the following statement after he joined in filing a lawsuit in the D.C. Federal District Court challenging the constitutionality of proxy voting. Filed along with 20 Republican members and four American citizens, the lawsuit is in response to House Democrats’ partisan H. Res. 965, a resolution passed earlier this month that changed House Rules to allow proxy voting.
“It is evident that when our Founding Fathers penned the U.S. Constitution, they envisioned members of Congress assembling in Washington to conduct official business and cast their own votes on behalf of those they were elected to represent. And for more than 230 years, that’s exactly what members have done for their constituents. Indeed, even amid such crises as the Civil War and the 1918 influenza pandemic, members have still shown up and been physically present to cast their own votes. Never once has that responsibility been entrusted to another.
“I remain troubled by House Democrats’ partisan decision to erase centuries-old tradition by allowing proxy voting. But moreover, even if used temporarily, I am deeply concerned that proxy voting is not constitutionally sound and thus could endanger the legality of legislation passed by such means. With an increasing number of Democratic members choosing to assign a proxy, it’s a real concern that voting in this way poses a great deal of risk.”
Seventy Democrats have notified the House Clerk of their desire to have another member cast votes on behalf of their constituents. You can view the list here.
Representing the plaintiffs are Chuck Cooper and Joel Alicea (lead counsel), and Elliott Berke (outside counsel). The suit is filed in the D.C. Federal District Court to enjoin the use of proxy voting.
An overview of the filing can be found here.
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