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“[This was] a historical week. A week [like] we have not seen in the 231 years of the history of this Chamber. For the first time, the Democrats have now allowed proxy voting.

“All through the history of America, from the Yellow Fever of 1793 to the Civil War, to even this building being burnt down during the War of 1812, to 9/11, to WWII — [during] all of those challenges we’ve always found the opportunity to meet, [and believed] we are essential…

“Unfortunately, the Democrats believe differently. Two weeks ago we voted on the HEROES Act, and 12 Democrats could not make it. Yesterday, even though we were given a two week notice [of] when to come back, more than 70 voted by proxy.

“In coming to this proxy decision, the Speaker and Chairman McGovern gave a lot of stringent facts of how this would be used. In fact, the guidelines specifically stated that you ‘must be unable to physically attend proceedings in the House Chamber due to ongoing health emergencies.’

“The Speaker contended that voting by proxy was intended to be the last resort, an alternative to traveling to D.C. due to health concerns…

“Yesterday, Democratic Congressman Charlie Crist admitted he used the proxy vote to attend a space launch in Florida — an event that’s 150 miles away from his district on the other side of the state. To get there, it took him about two and a half hours — about the same time as a flight from…Tampa to D.C. But instead of going to work and serving as a voice of his constituents, Charlie decided to play hooky.

“But in doing so, Charlie sent the House of Representatives a letter that he signed. And in signing this letter Charlie said I am unable to physically attend proceedings in the House Chamber due to the ongoing public health emergency, but he drove two and a half hours to watch a launch outside of his district and gave somebody else the power to vote.

“I wonder if Charlie will cash his check this month. I wonder if those 70 [other] Democrats will still take their check.

“The question before all Members of Congress on their first day is to raise their hand and swear to uphold the Constitution. The Constitution is very clear about this, [it expects] us to assemble…

“Democrats believe that Congress can write their own rules. Congress can write their own rules, it just can’t write unconstitutional rules.

“If you take [Democrats] at their word, they can write a rule that says Republicans only get half a vote, that women can not vote…

“But why would they want to go against the Constitution to provide proxy? It gives the Speaker more power… The Speaker, in her own words yesterday, admitted that ‘the crisis is an opportunity — [that] every crisis is,’ and she’s not the only one on the Democratic side that believes that…

“A pandemic is not an opportunity. A health crisis is not a free-for-all to restructure our government. We instead should be working together to reinforce the promise and progress we are seeing take place in this country.”