Minnesota Democrat Rep. Dean Phillips last week claimed he could not “physically attend” essential House votes due to the “ongoing public health emergency,” but he subsequently voted in person the very next day and attended an NBA game in Washington, DC.
Despite the “ongoing public health emergency,” Phillips also promoted the so-called bipartisan infrastructure package with President Joe Biden in his state while abusing the proxy voting rules.
Phillips claimed he was unable to attend the votes in the House on November 30 because of the “ongoing public health emergency,” according to the letter to the Clerk in the House. Phillips authorized Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-CA) to cast votes in his place, while he was unable to “physically attend.”
While Phillips was not physically in the House voting, he voted by proxy through Jacobs for H.R. 4026, the Social Determinants of Health Data Analysis Act, and H.R. 550, the Immunization Infrastructure Modernization Act.
However, the Star Tribune reported that Phillips was in Minnesota with Biden to tout the new infrastructure law that the Democrats in the House voted to pass. Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN) was also in attendance. On the same night, November 30, Craig wrote on social media, “It was wonderful to welcome @POTUS to #MN02 today to discuss just how much the bipartisan infrastructure package will benefit our local communities.” Phillips was in the picture posted by Craig.
It was wonderful to welcome @POTUS to #MN02 today to discuss just how much the bipartisan infrastructure package will benefit our local communities. Now, it’s back to Washington to continue our hard work #ForThePeople. pic.twitter.com/3QsMQZUd85
— Angie Craig (@RepAngieCraig) December 1, 2021
After the congressman admitted he would be unable to attend the votes on November 30 because of the “ongoing public health emergency,” he was still able to make it back to Washington, DC. He voted in-person for all roll call votes on December 1, the very next day, according to records with the Clerk of the House.
Amid the “ongoing public health emergency,” Phillips also was pictured on December 1 with Craig, later that evening, maskless, inside, at an NBA game at D.C.’s Capital One Arena.
“It’s @deanbphillips and me against @davidjtrone tonight. Let’s go @Timberwolves,” Craig wrote, including pictures maskless.
— Angie Craig (@AngieCraigMN) December 2, 2021
Breitbart News has reported on the House Democrat efforts to abuse proxy voting since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has extended the ability for House members. Proxy voting was initially only supposed to be in effect for 45 days during the height of the pandemic, so members could cast votes without risking travel.
Since then, numerous Democrats have cited the “ongoing public health emergency” to not “physically attend” House votes to do other activities such as visiting with the president, spending time with family, and attending a space launch:
- Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL) used the proxy vote, saying he could not vote in Congress but could attend the space launch.
- Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-NY) used proxy voting after admitting he wanted to return home and spend time with family since it “would only be suspension vote.”
- Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME), to save Pelosi’s partisan Capitol security funding bill, switched to proxy voting after saying he would not due to “family responsibilities.”
- Rep. Haley Stevens (D-MI), Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), and Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI), all members of Michigan’s Democrat Congressional delegation, claimed they were proxy voting due to the “ongoing public health emergency” but were able to attend President Joe Biden’s visit to their state.
- Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI), Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), and Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), all members Wisconsin’s Democrat Congressional delegation, were found in a report to be abusing their proxy voting privilege, some using it to take off early on the last day of voting for a possible long weekend.
- Rep. Susan Wild (D-PA) claimed to be proxy voting due to the coronavirus; however, on the same day, her campaign began paying nearly $1,700 for travel to a 5-star luxury hotel in Miami Beach. She later bragged about voting “yes” on a bill done by proxy.
- Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ), whose district houses a military base, used the proxy voting rule to miss the in-person vote on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) but appeared to see his six-year-old child on his birthday, after claiming the NDAA “the single most important issue” that his committee works on.
- Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN) claimed the “ongoing public health emergency” was preventing her from voting in person, but she attended an event with President Joe Biden to promote the so-called bipartisan infrastructure package, and one day later voted in person, like Phillips, and attended an NBA game later that night.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), while making a television appearance early last year, said that proxy voting is “unconstitutional,” and any significant pieces of legislation passed under the rules “will be challenged.”
Additionally, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), during a press conference earlier this year, said that he would end the proxy voting capability when Republicans take back the House in the midterms.
Jacob Bliss is a reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter.