- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 28, 2020

If members of Congress can’t be bothered to show up and vote, they shouldn’t collect their pay, according to a group of House Republicans who announced legislation Thursday that would strip them of their pay if they use Democrats’ new designated-voter plan.

Rep. Ted Budd, North Carolina Republican, is leading the rebellion against what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls “proxy voting.”

“In the real world, if you don’t show up for your job, you don’t get paid. The same principle should apply to our country’s representatives,” he said. “If they don’t come to work, they shouldn’t receive their taxpayer-funded paycheck.”

The House this week is breaking new ground by using the designated voter system.

Under it, lawmakers who fear contracting coronavirus are allowed to forgo showing up at the Capitol, and instead rely on a colleague to cast their votes for them on the House floor.

As of Thursday, 73 lawmakers had assigned their votes to someone else for at least some action this week.

House Republicans sued this week to block the plan, arguing it is unconstitutional because the Constitution requires lawmakers to be present to form a quorum.

That lawsuit is in its early stages, but GOP leaders said they’re voting this week under protest because of the designated voter scheme.

Mrs. Pelosi says she’s confident in the plan’s legality, saying courts have usually deferred to Congress to set its own rules.

Mr. Budd’s bill would “withhold” paychecks from lawmakers who make use of the designated voter — though they would still get their money at the end of each Congress.

Otherwise, the bill would likely violate the Constitution’s 27th Amendment, which prohibits Congress’s pay from being altered during a session.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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