I returned to D.C. last week for votes relating to H.R. 6800 and H. Res. 965. H. Res. 965 authorizes remote voting by proxy in the House of Representatives and allows for official remote committee proceedings during a public health emergency due to the Coronavirus. After committing to bipartisan discussions and proposals for any changes to House voting procedures and rules, the Speaker reversed course. This “voting by proxy” rule change strips duly elected members of their voting power and consolidates it in the hands of a few. I have fought to improve the legislative process and empower every member to be actively involved on behalf of their constituents. This bill is the antithesis of a member-driven process and for this reason I voted no.
H.R. 6800 has a price tag nearly double that of the recently passed CARES Act and included items that don’t help hard-working Americans whose livelihoods have been cratered by the pandemic. For example, it includes more than $200 million for programs such as the National Endowment of the Arts, National Endowment of the Humanities and the National Science Foundation. In addition to stripping states of their constitutional authority to conduct elections, the bill provides no effective support in getting our economy back to work, rather it would:
• Make unemployment insurance more attractive than getting back to work
• Provide no additional funds to the Paycheck Protection Program
• Repeal the SALT Cap for the wealthy
• Increase red tape for employers, making it harder to participate in the economy
• Allow illegal immigrants to receive Economic Impact payments and Medicare benefits.
Additional legislation may be necessary in response to this unprecedented pandemic, but this bill was not a serious proposal and for these reasons I had to vote no.
Congressman Daniel Webster represents The Villages in the U.S. House of Representatives.