House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Friday announced that members of Congress’ lower chamber can continue to cast their votes by proxy until the end of September as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, The Hill reports.
The House began allowing proxy voting in May of last year as a way for members of Congress to social distance while still fulfilling their duties. The rules initially adopted allowed for proxy voting in 45 day stretches that the Speaker has the option to extend, though the House sergeant-at-arms and the Capitol physician must first confirm that there is still an ongoing public health emergency.
Although the House previously ended its mask mandate, the Capitol physician had it reinstated at the end of last month due to the rapid spread of the Delta variant. Republicans attempted to file a lawsuit opposing proxy voting as unconstitutional, but that suit has been rejected most recently by a federal appeals court.
“We are disappointed in the DC Circuit’s opinion but look forward to petitioning the Supreme Court for review later this summer,” a spokesperson for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told The Hill.
A recent CNN survey found that almost half of House Republicans declined to confirm their vaccination status, with some openly refusing to get vaccinated against Covid-19. The Senate has no allowances for remote voting and has not imposed a mask mandate.
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