Chris Lange, FISM News
The offices of at least eight Democratic senators remain closed to their constituents, while over two dozen House Democrats in-district offices around the country are either closed or inaccessible to the public, according to a Washington Free Beacon report.
The article ironically noted that several Democratic lawmakers have been traveling the country to attend in-person campaign events and fundraisers while their offices remain shuttered with COVID-19 notices tacked to their doors.
Office closures extend beyond the Capital as well. Nevada Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortz Masto’s office remains closed, despite the fact that work-from-home options for city employees ended last March. Republican Adam Laxalt, who has eyes on Masto’s Senate seat this November, says she is using her extended absence to drum up voter support. Last week, Laxalt launched the website NoShowMasto.com.
“An investigation reveals that Masto’s offices across Nevada have been closed with staff “teleworking,” the site states. “Nevadans shouldn’t have to call a number or schedule an appointment to get Masto to do her job.”
The term “no-show Democrats” has been widely used by Republican lawmakers to blast their Democratic colleagues for keeping their offices shuttered weeks after President Biden urged Americans to get back to work in his March 1 State of the Union address.
Several lawmakers on Capitol Hill have taken advantage of an order allowing them to vote remotely that was enacted at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) extended proxy voting last week, citing ongoing COVID-19 health concerns, though tourists can now freely roam the halls of the Capital, and Congress has lifted mask mandates.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), a frequent critic of proxy voting, slammed the extension Tuesday, calling it the “show-up-if-convenient policy,” in a statement, according to the New York Post.
“This has nothing to do with science, but everything to do with Democrats’ insatiable obsession with control,” he said.
Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) joined McCarthy’s criticism of the order, saying on Twitter that Democrats are “abusing” the order, using COVID as a pretext to not have to show up for votes.
Nancy Pelosi can do what she wants- she’s the Speaker. But let’s no longer pretend that Covid is the reason for continued proxy voting. Democrats are abusing it, and it should end…and it will next year. https://t.co/eQdI5roWtj
— Bill Johnson (@RepBillJohnson) March 29, 2022
McCarthy had previously challenged the order, calling it unconstitutional, and took the matter all the way to the Supreme Court, which rejected his challenge in January.
But the Post points out that House members on both sides of the aisle have abused proxy voting to pursue other business while serving in Congress.
The outlet cites one instance in which Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) requested to vote by proxy in order to file paperwork to run for mayor of Los Angeles, citing an article in the LA Times.
The same outlet also reported that Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), who has purportedly taken advantage of remote voting on multiple occasions, used the practice to participate in a video interview with another news outlet.
“We have a long vote series today, so I got to step out of the Capitol and I’m excited about having this conversation,” he said in the interview.
On the other side of the aisle, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) reportedly submitted a proxy vote to attend a Senate campaign event in his home state.
Likewise, House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY) used proxy voting in January on the same day she attended a fundraiser at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida, according to her Twitter account.
According to the Post, there are currently 43 active letters of intent to use proxy voting in the House.
The Senate, it should be noted, has required in-person voting since the onset of the pandemic in 2020.