The House of Representatives passed a historic rules change earlier this month, allowing members to cast proxy votes and conduct committee hearings and meetings remotely for 45 days. Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) sounded the alarm on the change, saying this gives one representative the power to serve as a proxy voter for up to 10 other members at any given time. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said the move was a way for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to consolidate her power. And now it's looking like he's right.
Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL) sent a letter to the House clerk letting her know that he authorized Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) to cast votes on his behalf. He cited "the ongoing public health emergency" – the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic – as his reason for not being present for voting.
And here's Democrat @RepDarrenSoto's request for a proxy to vote for him.— Mark Bednar (@MarkBednar) May 28, 2020
He says "unable to physically attend proceedings in the House Chamber due to the ongoing health emergency"
Looks like he's having fun at the space launch while someone else votes for him! https://t.co/0nN8M4tJ5y pic.twitter.com/FB4vricPCL
It turns out Soto was actually at NASA's Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday in anticipation of a historic space launch with SpaceX and NASA.
The launch has been scrubbed. We’ll try again Saturday. Safety first!— US Rep. Darren Soto (@RepDarrenSoto) May 27, 2020
Republicans were right to sound the alarm on this. How many others are abusing this power and now showing up on behalf of their constituents?