In a “dear colleague” letter to members of the House of Representatives Friday, Pelosi announced that she would be extending the practice of proxy voting due to the COVID pandemic. Proxy voting will continue until November 10, two days after the 2022 midterm elections. Republicans in Congress blasted the move, pointing out that the timing coincides with campaign season, and that President Joe Biden declared the pandemic “over” on Sunday.
“In light of [the] notification by the Sergeant-at-Arms, in consultation with the Office of Attending Physician, that a public health emergency is in effect due to a novel coronavirus, I am hereby extending the ‘covered period’ [for proxy voting]… until November 10, 2022,” Pelosi wrote.
Pelosi’s letter came just days after President Joe Biden declared that the COVID pandemic was “over.” In an interview with “60 Minutes” Sunday, Biden said that while COVID is still an issue, the fact that few are wearing masks and people are not struggling with illness proves that the worst of the pandemic is behind us.
“The pandemic is over,” Biden told host Scott Pelley. “We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still doing a lotta work on it. It’s — but the pandemic is over. If you notice, no one’s wearing masks. Everybody seems to be in pretty good shape. And so I think it’s changing. And I think this is a perfect example of it.”
Congressman Mike Gallagher (R-WI) blasted the letter in a statement Friday. “Earlier this week, President Biden claimed that the pandemic was over,” Gallagher said. “It seems everyone but Speaker Pelosi agrees. By extending proxy voting, Speaker Pelosi continues to allow members to forgo the most important component of their job — voting — and lie to their constituents in the process. The day when Republicans take back the House and eliminate this unconstitutional and unethical practice can’t come soon enough.”
Gallagher also pointed to testimony he gave before the House Rules Committee, and a resolution he authored that would end proxy voting.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) also blasted proxy voting and vowed to end the practice as part of Republicans’ “Commitment to America” agenda, if they take control of the House after the midterms. “The Commitment to America champions policies to restore voters’ confidence in Congress, starting with ending Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s proxy-voting abuse of power that allowed 90% of House Democrats to get paid without needing to show up for work,” McCarthy wrote in an op-ed for the New York Post.
Other Republicans blasted Pelosi’s decision on Twitter.
“The big guy said ‘C’mon man, pandemic is over.’ Fully vaxxed can now get 5th shot,” Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) tweeted. “Nevertheless, Pelosi extends proxy voting due to ‘novel coronavirus’ until the week of the election.”
“Hasn’t anyone told Pelosi that Biden said the pandemic is over?” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) wrote.
The NRCC, House Republicans’ campaign arm, responded to the news by posting a CNN headline of Biden from Sunday.
— NRCC (@NRCC) September 23, 2022
“So much COVID,” Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) mocked.
“👀 Of course @SpeakerPelosi extended proxy voting until after the election,” Republicans on the House Administration Committee tweeted. “After all, it’s about following the political science – not actual science.”