Earlier this month, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) extended a pandemic-related accommodation that allows lawmakers to vote by proxy.
While such absences from Congress are intended to be limited to COVID-19 emergencies, a recent report indicates that at least one legislator traded in his duties on Capitol Hill for a campaign opportunity in Hollywood.
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), who is currently engaged in a tight U.S. Senate race against Republican challenger J.D. Vance, reportedly missed a congressional vote this week in favor of attending a California fundraiser.
As Vance press secretary Luke Schroeder asserted in a subsequent statement: “Tim Ryan claimed he skipped work today ‘due to the ongoing public health emergency.’ He’s actually headed to California to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars from Hollywood elites.”
Other reports noted that Ryan attended multiple events in the area between Wednesday night and Thursday morning. Talent agent Jay Sures confirmed he hosted one such dinner.
“I’ve been friends with Tim, and I’m hosting because I think he’s amazing,” Sures said. “He’s someone I’ve known for a while. I care about him and I would really like to see him and his family do well.”
During his California excursion, the Ohio Democrat also reportedly met with a controversial Los Angeles attorney who represented U.S. Olympic officials in their bid to reduce payouts to victims of Larry Nassar, the former gymnastics team doctor currently behind bars for sexually abusing multiple athletes.
Late last year, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) took advantage of the opportunity to cast a proxy vote and escaped D.C. for a Florida outing with her boyfriend.
Prominent Republicans denounced Pelosi’s decision to extend proxy voting until two days after the upcoming midterm elections.
The big guy said “C’mon man, pandemic is over.” Fully vaxxed can now get 5th shot. Nevertheless, Pelosi extends proxy voting due to “novel coronavirus” until the week of the election. pic.twitter.com/flMnBD7krt
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) September 23, 2022
Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) cited President Joe Biden’s claim “that the pandemic was over” in a press release calling for the end of the pandemic-era concession.
“By extending proxy voting, Speaker Pelosi continues to allow members to forgo the most important component of their job – voting – and lie to their constituents in the process,” he wrote. “The day when Republicans take back the House and eliminate this unconstitutional and unethical practice can’t come soon enough.”