Show an ad over header. AMP

More than a dozen Republicans ditched a vote on the $2 trillion COVID relief bill to attend CPAC

CPAC proved such a draw, conservative Republicans chose the conference over their constituents.

Why it matters: More than a dozen House Republicans voted by proxy on the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill in Washington so they could speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference, known as CPAC. And Sen. Ted Cruz skipped an Air Force One flight as President Biden flew to Cruz's hometown of Houston to survey storm damage.

  • The proxy votes were particularly strident, given the GOP sued to stop the practice when Democrats created it to allow safe voting during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • And Cruz's diversion to Florida — which, he joked, wasn't as nice as his much-maligned trip to Cancún — cost him the same facetime that Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) got when he flew with the president to Texas.
  • Cruz's office did not respond to a request for comment.

The big picture: CPAC attracted a bevy of Republicans across four days, some simply looking for the party limelight and others positioning themselves for the 2024 presidential campaign.

  • All had to tread the fine line between advancing their own interests and paying homage to former President Trump, who delivered Sunday's closing address.
  • The lure of thousands of attendees — and near gavel-to-gavel coverage on Fox News — prompted some to put their personal politics ahead of constituent responsibilities.

At least 13 Republicans in Congress who were scheduled to speak at CPAC requested colleagues cast their votes by proxy — a voting procedure allowing House members to vote remotely during the pandemic.

  • Reps. Ted Budd and Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina and Matt Gaetz and Greg Steube of Florida, who were all scheduled to speak at the conference Friday, requested colleagues to vote on their behalf.
  • "I am unable to physically attend proceedings in the House Chamber due to the ongoing public health emergency, and I hereby grant the authority to cast my vote by proxy to the Honorable Scott Franklin (FL-15), who has agreed to serve as my proxy," Gaetz wrote in his explanatory letter.
  • Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Mark Greenof Tennessee, Darrell Issa and Devin Nunes of California, Ronny Jackson of Texas, Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania, Ralph Normanof South Carolina and Lauren Boebert of Colorado all voted by proxy after being listed as scheduled speakers, CNN reported.
  • A spokesperson for Budd told Yahoo News the congressman still opposes the procedure but was forced to use it because "Democrats rearranged the House schedule with extremely late notice." Budd also donated his day's salary to the North Carolina Restaurant Workers Relief Fund, the spokesperson said.

Background: Republicans have been the leading critics of proxy voting, despite their embrace of it over the last few days.

  • Last May, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), 20 other House Republicans and four constituents filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of proxy voting. It was dismissed, but McCarthy filed an appeal.
  • The same day, House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) urged his conference to forgo proxy voting if members couldn't appear for an in-person vote.
  • “They are encouraged to submit their vote positions for the Congressional Record rather than utilizing the Democrats’ proxy voting scheme,” he wrote.
  • More than a dozen Republicans did not vote on May 27, including Rep. Don Young, effectively disenfranchising the entire state of Alaska. Overall, more than 9 million constituents were not represented on a vote to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.

Republicans aren't alone in some questionable uses of the procedure.

  • Democratic Reps. Charlie Crist and Darren Soto of Florida attended a rocket launch in their home state after requesting to vote by proxy last Congress.
  • While the launch was canceled due to inclement weather, McCarthy blasted the two by posting a copy of their proxy letter next to the photos of Crist and Soto at the event.

"Nine minutes and 29 seconds": Prosecutors begin closing arguments in Chauvin trial

Steve Schleicher, an attorney for the prosecution in Derek Chauvin's trial, began closing arguments on Monday by describing in detail George Floyd's last moments — crying out for help and surrounded by strangers, as Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd for nine minutes and 29 seconds.

Why it matters: The jury's verdict in Chauvin's murder trial, seen by advocates as one of the most crucial civil rights cases in decades, will reverberate across the country and have major implications in the fight for racial justice.

Keep reading... Show less

European soccer goes to war over wealthy clubs' plans for exclusive "Super League"

Europe's biggest soccer clubs have established The Super League, a new midweek tournament that would compete with — and threaten the very existence of — the Champions League.

Why it matters: This new league, set to start in 2023, "would bring about the most significant restructuring of elite European soccer since the 1950s, and could herald the largest transfer of wealth to a small set of teams in modern sports history," writes NYT's Tariq Panja.

Keep reading... Show less

81% of S&P 500 companies have reported a positive earnings surprise for Q1

First-quarter earnings so far have been very strong, outpacing even the rosy expectations from Wall Street and that's a trend that's expected to continue for all of 2021. S&P 500 companies are on pace for one of the best quarters of positive earnings surprises on record, according to FactSet.

Why it matters: The results show that not only has the earnings recession ended for U.S. companies, but firms are performing better than expected and the economy may be justifying all the hype.

Keep reading... Show less

NASA's Mars helicopter takes flight as first aircraft piloted on another planet

NASA successfully piloted the Ingenuity Mars helicopter for its first experimental flight on Monday, briefly hopping the aircraft as NASA's Perseverance rover collected data.

Why it matters: Ingenuity's short flight marks the first time a human-built aircraft has flown on a world other than Earth, opening the door to new means of exploring planets far from our own.

Keep reading... Show less

All U.S. adults now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine, meeting Biden's April 19 deadline

All 50 U.S. states, plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, have now made U.S. adults over the age of 16 eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, meeting President Biden's April 19 deadline.

Why it matters: The landmark speaks to the increased pace of the national vaccination campaign, but will increase pressure on the federal government, states and pharmaceutical companies to provide adequate vaccine supply and logistics.

Keep reading... Show less

Minneapolis braces for a verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial

Minneapolis is waking up to images of an occupied city on Monday, as the city and the world await a verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial.

What it's like: Residents running errands, picking up dinner and heading to the dog park in recent days encountered heavily-armed National Guard troops stationed throughout the city.

Keep reading... Show less

Russian authorities say jailed opposition leader Navalny has been transferred to hospital

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been hospitalized, one day after his doctor warned that the jailed Putin critic "could die at any moment," Russia's prison service said Monday.

Why it matters: News that Navalny's condition had severely deteriorated on the third week of a hunger strike prompted outrage from his supporters and international demands for Russia to provide him with immediate medical treatment.

Keep reading... Show less

The state worst hit by the pandemic

Data: Hamilton Place Strategies; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, the job facing governments was to save lives and save jobs. Very few states did well on both measures, while New York, almost uniquely, did particularly badly on both.

Why it matters: The jury is still out on whether there was a trade-off between the dual imperatives; a new analysis from Hamilton Place Strategies shows no clear correlation between the two.

Keep reading... Show less



Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories