House Dems Rage Over Denying Pregnant Colleague Proxy Vote

In this Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014 photo, Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Il., speaks with reporters about the the release of a website titled Benghazi on the Record, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Hou... In this Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014 photo, Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Il., speaks with reporters about the the release of a website titled Benghazi on the Record, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. House Select Committee on Benghazi Ranking Member Rep. Elijah Cummings, D- Md., is at the rear. The effort to train and arm Syrian rebels is proving a tough sell with some Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans in Congress. Wariness of the plan crossed party lines in a House vote on Wednesday. Republican and Democratic veterans alike say they fear weapons and training will one day be used against Americans instead of militants seeking an Islamic state. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen) MORE LESS
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Some House Democrats are still angry at House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for refusing to let Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) vote by proxy in leadership elections going on over the week.

Duckworth, an Iraq War veteran whose legs were amputated, is pregnant and she’s been advised by her doctors not to travel before her due date in December. She first asked to be allowed to cast a proxy vote during the leadership elections a week ago. Objections were raised to Duckworth’s requests and ultimately she was denied a proxy vote.

Proxy voting is prohibited under Democratic caucus rules.

Some Democrats, however, are still objecting.

“Our party should be the party that stands for women,” Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) said during a caucus meeting on Tuesday, according to Roll Call.

Pelosi has reportedly fallen on the other side of Wasserman Schultz over the issue.

On Monday at a news conference Pelosi defended her resistance to allowing Duckworth a proxy vote.

“The rules of the caucus are the same as the rules of the House. No proxy voting….The fact is that it’s really important to be here, to be in caucus. It’s more important to vote on the floor. If I were to make a fight, I’d vote to have a proxy vote on the floor than in whatever’s going on in the caucus.”

Duckworth hasn’t gone into detail into the internal fighting over her request but she acknowledged that her move to get a proxy vote was turned down late on Thursday.

“I submitted a request to the Caucus to allow for a proxy vote due to my pregnancy. The Caucus chose not to allow me to vote via proxy,” Duckworth said. “I respect the process and very much appreciated my colleagues who made sure my request was considered.”

Previous reporting over the proxy vote fighting has cited unnamed Democratic aides who said the real fuel behind it was related to the internal Democratic race for the top spot on the Energy and Commerce Committee between Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ). Pallone was backed by House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Eshoo was backed by Pelosi. Duckworth supported Eshoo.

On Wednesday Pallone won the spot.

This post was updated.

Correction: This post said Eshoo won the Energy and Commerce Committee seat. Pallone actually did. We regret the error.

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Notable Replies

  1. So propose a change the fucking rule instead of forming a circular firing squad or going after Pelosi or whoever for following the rules, you fucking morons. Do we have to pet your hands and explain everything to you so you don’t fly into hissy fits AT EACH OTHER all the time? Half the time, it’s like you want nothing more than to destroy each other instead of focusing on bringing down the GOP/Teatrolls and their abominable agenda.

  2. "The fact is that it’s really important to be here, to be in caucus. It’s more important to vote on the floor. If I were to make a fight, I’d vote to have a proxy vote on the floor than in whatever’s going on in the caucus.”

    I have no fucking idea what Pelosi is trying to say, but it seems like she’s directly contradicting herself in two successive sentences.

    If it was John Boehner making this same decision, progressives and Democrats would be all over his ass in high moral dudgeon. The fact that Pelosi seems blitheringly unaware of how bad the optics are in this situation—even a hack like Wasserman-Schultz can discern the larger picture—is indicative of why Democrats just can’t do the politics thing right in Congress. If I were Priebus, I’d be all over FauxNoise castigating the Democrats for giving a cold shoulder to amputee Iraq war vets in their own party.

    A big part of successful retail politics is not ever giving your opponents a club to hit you over the head with, especially if the matter at hand isn’t hugely important from a policy perspective. If you’re going to take heat from your opposition, make fucking sure it’s over important stuff, like Keystone. If Pelosi had bent the rules for a pregnant Iraq war vet who lost her legs in service to our country, she looks good. Instead, she looks like a dick.

  3. Jon Stewart skewered Pelosi last night over this. He suggested it was because Duckworth had supported a rival of Pelosi’s over some trivial matter. I remember that, after becoming Speaker, Pelosi passed over Jane Harman for Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, on which Harman had worked for years, in favor of John Murtha, who ultimately was disgraced for his financial dealings. Very strange goings on.

  4. I dunno…why don’t you tell us more of what’s written on your trolling script first, Captain Sockpuppet?

  5. The Democratic Party, the party of women, the party of inclusion has dropped the ball. The members of the House that caucus Democratic should be allowed to change the rules for situations like this. It is time to review and renew the party’s ideals, this way when situations like this occur, it will be easier for women to vote for the party leadership.

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