The COVID-19 pandemic permitted House members to stay away from Congress and still cast votes through proxies and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., just extended it.
Pelosi extended proxy voting in the House through Christmas, Dec. 25, just days before the new Congress will be sworn in.
"In light of the attached 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' designated on Jan. 4, 2021, pursuant to section 3(s) of House Resolution 8, until Dec. 25, 2022," Pelosi wrote in a statement Thursday.
Republicans need to win eight of the remaining 32 races yet to be called after Tuesday's midterm polls closed to secure the majority in the next Congress.
"It's been 973 days since Pelosi closed the People's House — restricting Americans from exercising their Constitutional right to petition Congress," House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., tweeted Thursday. "Unacceptable. I am requesting a written plan from all Legislative Branch officials so the House can fully reopen in January."
The House GOP majority would quickly do away with the pandemic-era proxy voting policy, forcing members to be in attendance to vote on legislation, according to McCarthy. That was the norm before the pandemic was declared in March 2020.
"We will immediately reopen the Capitol and end the Democrat proxy voting and remote work schemes that have inflicted untold damage to this institution," McCarthy wrote in a letter to GOP colleagues.
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