Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrat majority adopted a proxy voting scheme that allows one member to cast a vote for up to ten absent members at a time. For example, it means a member from Michigan can vote on behalf of 10 members from California. It also means that it only takes 22 Democrat members, out of 435 House members, to represent a majority in the House. This proxy voting scheme is terrible for our democracy and also recently cost the state of West Virginia what likely would have been hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructure funding. Since 1965, the West Virginia Congressional delegation — Republicans and Democrats — have been working together to complete the Corridor H project. Our most recent effort to fund Corridor H was undone in outlandish fashion by Pelosi’s proxy voting scheme.
Along with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., on October 29, 2019, I introduced the AID in Appalachia Act to provide Appalachian states like West Virginia with increased flexibility and funding for projects like Corridor H. In West Virginia, this highway would allow for more private industry jobs to be created. For years, I’ve advocated for robust funding for Corridor H and have relayed its importance personally to President Donald Trump and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.
Congresswoman Carol Miller, R-W.Va., a member of the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, successfully fought to have my bill added as an amendment to the House’s most recent infrastructure package. For years, Congress has approved funding for roads and mass transit projects that were never built. This money just sits unused. My bill would have allowed West Virginia to use that reserved money to begin building roads like Corridor H.
After the Miller/Mooney Amendment was adopted in committee on a bipartisan vote, a California congresswoman submitted a virtual floor amendment to strip this amendment out of the bill on the floor of the House. Congresswoman Grace Napolitano, D-Calif., was not even physically present on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to offer the amendment or hear the debate. Nor was she present to cast her vote. Hoping the reserved funding would go towards blue state urban infrastructure rather than rural Appalachia, she remotely offered the misguided amendment that gutted the funding mechanism devised by myself and Senator Capito. This effectively deprived West Virginia of millions in infrastructure dollars to complete Corridor H.
I joined my colleagues Reps. Carol Miller and David Trone, D-Md., in a bipartisan effort urging members of Congress to vote no on the Napolitano amendment. Not only did Rep. Napolitano fail to show up to offer her amendment or to vote on it, but an additional 30 Democrat members of Congress cast proxy votes in favor of her amendment to take away our Corridor H funding.
There are many negative consequences when elected members of Congress fail to show up for work. Had the congresswoman been present, I could have spoken with her about the importance of Corridor H. She would have heard a floor speech from her fellow Democrat member about its importance as well. Instead her amendment was offered and approved virtually, with Democrat members just following the party line — many voting from their own homes.
To date, nearly a third of House Democrats have been absent from their constitutional duty to cast votes on behalf of their constituents. That’s why I cosponsored the No Pay for Proxy Voting Act, which would withhold pay for any member that votes by proxy instead of casting their vote in-person on the House floor. Specifically, any member that votes by proxy would have one day’s worth of pay withheld for each day they use a proxy to vote on the House floor.
I’ve also cosponsored legislation where if a member votes by proxy, then they lose the funds allotted to them for travel to DC. If they don’t travel to DC to do their jobs, they shouldn’t be entitled to taxpayer travel funds.
In their shadow voting scheme, House Democrats have broken over 230 years of precedent and dismissed the Constitution’s quorum requirement. The burning of the Capitol during the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Spanish flu of 1918 and 9/11 never stopped Congress from assembling on behalf of the American people. That’s why also I joined House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Republicans and American citizens in the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Speaker Pelosi’s proxy voting plan.
I’m proud to come to work in the people’s House to represent the voice of the great people of West Virginia’s Second Congressional District. I will continue to fight for Corridor H funding in Congress and grow our economy. There can be no discussion, compromise or honest debate when members of Congress fail to show up to work. The House is now being run like a partisan machine with members casting votes from their couches thousands of miles away.