Several Republicans tell House they can’t attend votes due to ‘public health emergency.’ They’re slated to be at CPAC.
(CNN) — Several of former President Donald Trump’s closest Republican allies in the House have skipped Friday’s votes and enlisted their colleagues to vote on their behalf, signing letters saying they can’t attend “due to the ongoing public health emergency.”
But those members are actually expected to be in Orlando and listed as speakers at the Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual meeting aimed at energizing conservative activists.
The members include Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, who addressed the conference on Friday — as well as some of Trump’s staunchest defenders who are listed as speakers, like Reps. Paul Gosar of Arizona, Jim Banks of Indiana, Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina and Ted Budd of North Carolina. CNN has reached out to those offices for comment.
To vote by proxy, a process that Republicans originally fought in court, lawmakers must sign a letter with the House clerk and allow another member to vote at their direction and on their behalf. The letters, which are filed with the House clerk’s office, say: “I am unable to physically attend proceedings in the House Chamber due to the ongoing public health emergency.”
The House has had several votes on Friday and is scheduled to take up the $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill in the evening.
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