(PresidentialWire.com)- After avoiding Washington DC and voting by proxy for months, Hawaii Democrat Congressman Kailai’I Kahele finally turned up at the Capitol last week for the first time since January.
In early April, a Hawaii outlet reported that Kehele has voted by proxy at least 120 times since taking office in January 2021. In that time, he has only voted in person five times.
But the man who won former Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s district claims he has not shirked his duties, despite not bothering to show up for work. Kahele told Fox News that he hasn’t missed a single vote.
But that’s not the point. The proxy voting rule was created to enable House members to continue voting in the middle of a “public health emergency.” There is no public health emergency anymore and unless Kailai’I Kahele has the longest case of COVID in the history of the pandemic, he has no excuse for voting by proxy 120 times.
Admittedly Congressman Kahele isn’t the only member of the House to egregiously abuse proxy voting. Three other Democrat members have been abused the proxy vote even more than Kahele – Albio Sires (D-NJ), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), and Al Lawson (D-FL).
Kahele wasn’t using proxy voting because of an “ongoing public health emergency;” he was using it, in part, so he could continue working as a pilot for Hawaiian Airlines. The congressman’s office has defended Kahele’s work with the airlines, arguing that he flies “occasional flights to maintain his certification.”
What isn’t known, however, is how many times this year Kahele was flying for Hawaiian or how much money he’s earned doing so.
At the heart of the problem, however, is Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. The rule, which began in May 2020, was to run for 45 days. But over the last two years, Pelosi has extended the rule every time it is set to expire. It is currently set to expire on May 14.
And for two years, members of Congress have been using the rule designed for lawmakers who are “physically unable to attend proceedings in the House Chamber due to the ongoing health emergency” for anything but a health emergency.
The proxy voting rule has been used to take vacations and attend out-of-town events, including fundraisers and campaign events.