Long-Distance Legislating

Good morning. Both chambers of Congress are out this week. (Alas, my editor didn’t think my Congress-is-out-maybe-I-should-be-out-too pitch yesterday was particularly compelling. [Editor’s Note: Staking our productivity to that of Congress seems awfully bad for business.]) 

Speaking of Phoning It In

For nearly two years, House lawmakers have been able to cast votes by proxy, an emergency pandemic response that allowed members to participate in proceedings remotely for the first time in the chamber’s history. It has been controversial from the start: GOP leaders launched what was ultimately an unsuccessful legal challenge, with critics today arguing the practice undermines the work of legislating and further empowers House leaders.

The debate is about to get even more heated, with one of the most egregious examples yet of a lawmaker using the proxy voting procedures for the sake of convenience.

On Monday, Nick Grube at Honolulu Civil Beat reported that Rep. Kai Kahele, who was elected in 2020 to fill former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s seat, has cast just five votes in person in 2022, all during the same work week in January. Kahele’s extended absence comes as he is publicly considering a gubernatorial bid. Here’s more from Grube’s story:

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