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Rep. Tim Ryan, D-OH, is under fire for using the House proxy voting system during his campaign for the U.S. Senate.
Ryan, a 10-term congressman, cited the coronavirus pandemic as the reason for his inability to vote in person on the House floor. The Ohio Democrat gave a fellow Democrat, Representative Don Beyer of Virginia, the chance to vote on his behalf.
“The Democrats claim they need [Speaker Nancy] Pelosi’s proxy voting scam due to the ‘public health emergency’ but it’s just another abuse of power to neglect their jobs and collect paychecks,” said Mark Bednar, spokesman for the House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-CA.
The arrangement was evident on Wednesday when Beyer cast many votes on the national defense bill and other pieces of legislation in place of Ryan, who was campaigning in Ohio.
3 HOUSE DEMS BLAME PANDEMIC FOR NEEDING PROXY VOTES, BUT VISITED FORD FACTORY WITH BIDEN
At the same time the votes were taking place, Ryan cataloged his campaign tour on social media.
In the early afternoon, as the House debated a bill to create an amber alert system for active shooters and address veterans’ exposure to toxic burning fireplaces, Ryan shared a video of himself discussing the new inflation numbers on the go.
Later that afternoon, as the House addressed debate and amendments on the National Defense Bill, Ryan posted photos of himself visiting a solar panel manufacturer.
Ryan also attended what appeared to be a campaign rally with supporters on Wednesday.
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Neither Ryan’s office nor his campaign responded to requests for comment.
JD Vance, the GOP nominee running against Ryan in the general election, told Fox News Digital that the example was exactly what was wrong with Washington.
“It’s bad enough that he won’t show up for work, but it’s truly shameful that he’s lying to the people of Ohio about why he’s not showing up,” Vance said. “This fraudulent career politician doesn’t deserve a promotion in November, he deserves a pink slip.”
With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020, the House broke with nearly 200 years of tradition by allowing MPs to vote by proxy. The practice remained in place, recently extended through mid-August, even as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations plummeted.
House Democrats defended the practice. They say that with 435 members, many of them elderly, and constant movement, the chamber is a hotbed for COVID-19 transmission.
The lax rules governing the practice have contributed to potential problems, critics say. For a member to vote by proxy, all they need to do is submit a letter to the Clerk of the House citing the coronavirus pandemic.
A Ripon Society report found that more than 17,000 proxy votes were cast in the House last year. Of that total, more than 72% came from absentee Democrats.
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GOP lawmakers have argued that the practice of proxy voting is dishonest.
“You must sign a piece of paper that says, ‘I am unable to physically attend proceedings in the House chamber due to the ongoing public health emergency,'” Rep. Mike Gallagher said. , R-WI. “The overwhelming majority of proxy voting members are lying when they sign that piece of paper.”