House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is back to her old ways and is still trying to exploit the pandemic to ensure Democrats get things they want.
During a fiery speech on the Senate floor, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the House could face legal challenges after Pelosi and Democrats passed a plan that will allow proxy voting on legislation.
“There will be enormous constitutional questions around anything the House does if they fail to demonstrate a real quorum but plow ahead anyhow,” McConnell said.
Last week, the Democratic-controlled House passed a historic rules change allowing proxy voting for the first time in the 231-year history of the body.
McConnell slammed the unprecedented rule change and called out the House for only convening twice in eight weeks.
“While essential workers across the country continue to clock in, the Democratic House of Representatives has essentially put itself on paid leave for months,” he said.
McConnell said the rule allowing a remote quorum raises constitutional questions, an opinion that is backed up by the Congressional Research Service.
The service said proxy voting might survive legal challenges, but using proxy votes to constitute a quorum may not.
McConnell raised the same legal questions.
“The Constitution requires a physical quorum to do business,” McConnell said. “The new rule says one person may mark himself and 10 others present, even if they are nowhere in sight, a flat-out lie.”
The rule allows each lawmaker present in the chamber to vote for up to 10 absent colleagues as long as the intentions of those voting by proxy are transmitted electronically and in writing to the House clerk and to the voting lawmaker.
Democrats made the change in response to the coronavirus outbreak, which they said makes it unsafe for 431 lawmakers to travel to Washington and gather in the Capitol.
The rule is in place for 45 days, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi can unilaterally renew it for another 45 days or longer.
Republicans opposed the change and said the House can operate safely. The Senate returned to regular business in early May and has been operating under social distancing guidelines.
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