Opinion: Congress should be voting in person
A 17-year-old kid shows up to work at your local McDonald’s. He or she puts on protective gloves, a COVID-19 face mask and a smile and gives customers a coffee and an Egg McMuffin at the drive-thru window. But now, thanks to the Nancy Pelosi Democrats, your local member of Congress doesn’t have to show up to work. What gives?
For 231 years, through World Wars I and II, the Spanish flu of 1918 to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, members of the United States House of Representatives have used two methods of in-person voting. Congresswomen and congressmen may vote by signing a paper voting card in the “well” of the House (red for NO and green for YES), or by inserting a personal electronic voting card in machines situated throughout the House chamber.
But last Friday in an outrageously blatant power grab, the Nancy Pelosi Democrat majority in Congress approved proxy voting (meaning someone else casts your vote) in the U.S. House of Representatives. Now an elected representative can choose not to show up for work and let another person vote for him or her. I am certain voters back home would be surprised to learn that a representative from another state was their voice of democracy.
Worse yet, a single member of Congress can collect up to 10 proxy votes of “no-show” colleagues. Do the math. There are 435 members of Congress. Under this unconstitutional power grab, a mere 20 members could control passage of legislation impacting more than 300 million Americans. It is not supposed to work this way.
Kevin McCarthy and the GOP House members advocated extending voting time periods and limiting the number of people in the chamber, requiring voting to be done alphabetically. Face masks would be required as well. But Pelosi and the Democrats chose not to adhere to 231 years of American historical precedent.
So much for bipartisanship.
I served as a member of the United States House of Representatives for six years. Serving in Congress as one member of 435 people from across this great land is an honor, a sacred trust. Walking through the Capitol, where Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy worked and voted in person, you realize how special is our democracy.
The Pelosi Democrats are using the coronavirus crisis to manipulate the legislative process and pervert our democracy. Permitting proxy voting in the United States House of Representatives is wrong and violates the United States Constitution.
Throughout America, health care workers, first responders and workers at fast food drive-thrus demonstrate heroism, brave the pandemic, show up to work to help their neighbors and earn a paycheck. If you have the privilege to serve in Congress, show up to work, do your job, vote in person and earn your paycheck. If you forfeit your voice, you should forfeit your pay.
Bill Schuette served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1985-91. He served as a Michigan state senator from 1995-2002. He also served as director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture, a judge on the Michigan Court of Appeals and as attorney general of Michigan.