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Tipsheet

Nancy Pelosi Says House Proxy Voting Will Be Extended

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced Monday that she is extending proxy voting for the House of Representatives through at least May 14 despite Capitol officials easing other coronavirus restrictions.

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Proxy voting, which can only be approved for 45 days at a time under proxy voting rules established in May 2020, was set to expire at the end of this month had Pelosi not extended it again. 

For each extension, Pelosi has been required to obtain confirmation from the House sergeant-at-arms and the Capitol physician that the COVID pandemic still warrants a public health emergency.

The rule was initially designed to allow House members to cast votes if they could not show up to the Capitol because they had been infected with COVID or were forced to quarantine.

However, several Republican and Democratic lawmakers have utilized proxy voting when they were unable to vote in person for reasons outside of COVID-related absences. 

Some members of Congress have suggested keeping the rule in place permanently for special circumstances like a family emergency. 

But others argue that proxy voting should be eliminated, with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) repeatedly promising to get rid of the rule if Republicans retake Congress following November's midterm elections.

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"Well, our very first day is rules," McCarthy told Punchbowl News on Thursday. "We're no longer going to do proxy voting. People are going to be here."

And while proxy voting will remain until at least May, Capitol officials in recent weeks have lifted other pandemic measures.

At the end of February, the Capitol physician ended the House mask mandate after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance to no longer recommend masks in areas with low levels of COVID-19.

And on Monday, the Capitol began a reopening phase to allow limited tour groups after the building had been closed off to tourists since the pandemic began back in March of 2020.

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