House Dems nix congresswoman's proxy vote request

AP News
Posted: Nov 14, 2014 4:45 PM
House Dems nix congresswoman's proxy vote request

WASHINGTON (AP) — A pregnant congresswoman who sought to vote by proxy in House Democratic elections next week said Friday she accepts the decision of her colleagues to reject the request.

Rep. Tammy Duckworth, who is expecting her first child in December, had asked Democrats to break with precedent and allow her to vote by proxy in leadership and committee elections beginning Tuesday. Doctors have advised Duckworth to remain in Illinois during the final weeks of her pregnancy.

After a discussion in a closed-door meeting Thursday, Democrats stood by their decades-long prohibition on proxy voting.

"I submitted a request to the caucus to allow for a proxy vote due to my pregnancy," Duckworth said in a statement. "The caucus chose not to allow me to vote via proxy. I respect the process and very much appreciated my colleagues who made sure my request was considered."

Duckworth, who was elected to a second term last week, is a veteran of the Iraq war who lost both legs and partial use of an arm in a rocket-propelled grenade attack.

A senior Democratic aide said that while the request was meritorious, a number of Democrats expressed reservations about the slippery slope of changing the rules. After Duckworth's request, Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis., asked if she could vote by proxy on Tuesday because she had a funeral to attend. Moore's comments prompted some Democrats to wonder about the threshold for future requests on proxy voting.

The National Journal first reported on Duckworth's request and the caucus' decision.