“All across this country we are seeing communities working towards opening up safely. In California we are opening up churches and hair salons. Even today we are going to send astronauts back into space.
“The only place that hasn’t been opening is here on the Capitol inside the House.
“We know that we have a responsibility [and that] it is essential that Congress does its work… For 231 years, never have we seen a proxy vote on the floor of the House. This challenges the Constitution only to protect and empower a Speaker.
“It violates the Constitution. It is a dereliction of duty by its members.
“We look at the history of America through the Yellow Fever of 1793, the Civil War, the burning of this Capitol during the War of 1812, the Spanish Flu of 1918, and even 9/11. Congress has never flinched from its constitutional duty to uphold and assemble inside this body.
“But today is different. As of right now, this morning, 71 Democrats have written to the House Clerk to have their vote [cast] by another member. Last I checked one member in this body on the Democratic side will vote for five different states just in this proxy scheme.
“If I look to California Democrats, more than half of them — 27 Democrats — filed to vote by proxy. That means 19 million people in California will not have a voice…
“Across the country… there will be 48 million people. These are constituents [who believed] that [their] Member of Congress would uphold their voice…
“The Constitution is very clear about this, the Founders believed we should assemble. If the Democrats are successful in allowing a proxy vote to make their own rules, what stops them from making a rule that only certain people can vote, or certain members can only [have a] half-vote? Nothing.
“Yes the House can make their own rules, but they can not make something different [from what] the Constitution says…
“That is why I stand with the members behind me, and constituents across this country, in upholding the constitution — exactly what we swore we would do.
“It is essential that Congress continues to meet, and that’s why we will move forward with the lawsuit.”