House Dems Rage Over Denying Pregnant Colleague Proxy Vote

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.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

TPM Staff
Latest Livewire
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: