Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday extended proxy voting in the House until Nov. 10, allowing members to vote remotely until after the midterm elections under a pandemic-initiated shift.
The announcement was notable this time coming days after President Biden in an interview declared that “the pandemic is over.”
Republicans have pounced on the remarks, which Biden has since walked back to an extent, to argue that if the pandemic is over, there should be no reason to continue funding for efforts to stop it.
Republicans and Democrats alike have used proxy voting to vote from home, but that didn’t stop several Republicans from criticizing the extension of the process given Biden’s comments.
“The big guy said “C’mon man, pandemic is over,’” Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) wrote on Twitter. “Nevertheless, Pelosi extends proxy voting due to ‘novel coronavirus’ until the week of the election.”
Proxy voting — which first took effect in March 2020 — was set to end on Sept. 26, but Pelosi has now kicked that date into November because “the public health emergency due to the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 remains in effect.”
She informed lawmakers of the decision in a dear colleague letter.
The speaker has extended proxy voting several times since it was first used at the onset of the pandemic.
Republicans have vowed to end proxy voting if they win control of the House in November, which forecasts predict will happen.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and other members of House GOP leadership rolled out their midterm agenda, titled the “Commitment to America,” on Friday, which includes ending proxy voting.
“End the special treatment for Members of Congress by repealing proxy voting,” the agenda reads.
Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wisc.) slammed Pelosi’s decision and reiterated that Republicans will end remove voting if they win the majority.
“Earlier this week, President Biden claimed that the pandemic was over. It seems everyone but Speaker Pelosi agrees,” he wrote in a statement.
Biden drew heat for his comment, as the U.S. is still recording tens of thousands of COVID-19 cases a day — though that is far less than other points of the pandemic.