ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Republican Congressman Don Young missed all six of his opportunities to vote in the U.S. House last week before announcing his opposition to voting remotely, which was recently adopted to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
Young announced Monday he plans to add his name to a Republican lawsuit challenging a new rule allowing House members to vote on bills without being present in the U.S. Capitol, Alaska Public Media reported.
The lawsuit claims that proxy voting is unconstitutional.
In the first instance of congressional remote voting, 72 Democrats cast votes last week after sending letters to the House clerk naming other members to vote in their places
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats said proxy voting is a smart way to conduct legislative business while reducing the risk of spreading the coronavirus.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, one of the lawsuit’s plaintiffs, last week urged fellow Republicans to return to Washington and vote in person.
Young’s office did not immediately respond to questions about his location or if his absence was related to the pandemic.
The Democratic rule change endangers the House, Young said in a written statement.
“It is possible to represent our constituents while respecting the Constitution and keeping Members of Congress and our staff safe,” Young said.
“While this lawsuit continues, I stand ready to work in good faith with my fellow Members to protect our Constitution and this great legislative body,” Young said.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.