The Democratic nominee in Ohio's Senate race, Rep. Tim Ryan, cited the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason why he could not vote in person on Wednesday, before heading out and hitting the campaign trail at home.
After submitting a letter to the clerk of the House of Representatives saying he would not be able to "physically attend proceedings in the House Chamber due to the ongoing public health emergency," the 10-term Democrat from northeast Ohio voted by proxy 24 times on Wednesday, the Daily Caller reported.
According to posts on Ryan's Twitter account, the Senate hopeful also attended campaign events on Wednesday in the Toledo area and Portage County.
Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., cast votes for Ryan on several amendments to an omnibus spending package that funds the Defense Department, the Caller reported.
The absent congressman also missed votes on bills dealing with active shooter responses and law enforcement personnel's exposure to fentanyl, according to the news outlet.
During his appearance at the green energy plant Toledo Solar, Ryan talked about being overly reliant on China and supply shortages during the pandemic.
"We've seen through the pandemic how reliant we are on China for so many products, and it's just outrageous that we're going to continue to go down that road," he told NBC 24. "We need to take a stand, and it will benefit solar companies here in northwest Ohio."
Ryan's general election opponent, J.D. Vance, told the Caller that Ryan's absence shows that he is a "career politician."
"Tim Ryan has spent 20 years in Washington, D.C., living off the taxpayers' dime, while accomplishing nothing except renaming a few buildings," Vance said in a statement. "It's bad enough that he's refusing to show up to work, but it's truly disgraceful that he's lying to Ohioans about why he's not showing up for it."
According to an analysis from The Ripon Society, Ryan voted by proxy 60 times last year. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., introduced the procedure at the beginning of the pandemic and California GOP Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's lawsuit challenging it was rejected by the Supreme Court.
Proxy voting has been criticized by a number of conservatives, who claim that members of Congress are taking advantage of the procedure and lying about the reasons for their absences.
"We've all heard the anecdotes of people going to fundraisers, Democrats and Republicans by the way," Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., said during a House Rules Committee in March. "I'm not saying only the other side has abused this."
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