Pelosi Extends Proxy Voting Over “Concerns” Of COVID

( Nancy Pelosi is at it again. The Speaker of the House has decided to extend proxy voting for members of the House of Representatives into the fall because of burgeoning concerns about the Delta variant of COVID-19.

In recent days, Pelosi has continued this proxy voting, while the House has also re-instated its mask mandate for indoor spaces, even for people who are fully vaccinated.

The measure was first passed back in May 2020 while the pandemic was raging at its height. It was meant to help stop the spread of the virus, which had been going at very high rates back then.

Proxy voting allows all members of Congress to designate one other person to submit floor votes in their place. This prevents them from having to travel in person to Washington, D.C., to make the vote. Essentially, it keeps all members of Congress in their home districts rather than back and forth.

Now, though, with the COVID-19 pandemic waning, the hope was that Pelosi would allow the House to operate as normal again. And while it seemed that was the way it was headed earlier in the summer, there’s now a sudden turnaround.

With a slim majority of 220-211 in the House, Pelosi as a Democrat was able to do basically whatever she wanted to do. So, as the Delta variant is spreading rapidly now and as Washington, D.C., has been termed an area with a high rate of spread, the Speaker used her power to extend proxy voting again.

Representative Filemon Vela, a Democrat from Texas, was the first to report that Pelosi was planning this move. She told Axios recently:

“Extending the proxy-voting process is the only rational course forward. Hopefully, the surge will subside sooner than later, and if so, then perhaps life can get back to normal.”

A large motivating factor for the extension of proxy voting is to allow Democratic members of the House to remain in their home districts to try to beef up public support for the Biden administration’s extremely expensive infrastructure and spending proposals.

The steps might not stop at just proxy voting, though. It’s possible the House considers re-implementing a full mask mandate in the chamber, just as the White House did recently.

Steny Hoyer, the majority leader in the House, said they will “have to talk about whether we’re going back to masks” since the Delta variant is spreading so much.

Many members of the House have already begun wearing masks again on their own, even without a formal new requirement to do so. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently updated its guidance to say even fully vaccinated people should wear masks indoors in regions of the country where the spread rate is high.

This new guidance reverses previous guidance that was just released in May, which said that anyone who was fully vaccinated didn’t need to wear masks in any situations.