The Journal Gazette
Monday, March 01, 2021 9:23 am

Banks votes by proxy against COVID-19 relief bill, attends CPAC

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

When GOP Third District Congressman Jim Banks voted against the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill in the wee hours of Saturday morning it was by proxy. 

He signed a letter Friday allowing his proxy to cast his vote, saying “I am unable to physically attend proceedings in the House Chamber due to the ongoing public health emergency.” 

But the next day he was in Florida attending the Conservative Political Action Conference as a speaker. 

“I've been transparent that I'm going to CPAC where I've been scheduled to speak for weeks,” Banks said in a written statement. “I've followed the Democrat rules on proxy voting. It doesn't matter if I was there in person or voting by proxy. I would have voted either way against the massive and wasteful $1.9 trillion spending bill.” 

When pushed further about why Banks could travel to Florida but not D.C. during a public health emergency, a spokesman said this is the required proxy vote language the Democrats set up. 

“I assume “public health emergency” is the excuse that Democrats used to change the voting schedule at the last minute to put the $1.9 trillion spending boondoggle on the floor at 2 a.m.,” said Mitchell Hailstone. 

He added that “votes were not originally scheduled for Friday, travel plans were made well in advance, and the Congressman decided to keep his travel plans to Florida and vote no by proxy on Nancy Pelosi's massive spending package that had very little to do with COVID relief.” 

The Indiana Democratic Party saw it differently. 

“Congressman Jim Banks just showed Hoosiers he doesn't care about them,” a news release said. “Instead of showing up to vote on the COVID-19 relief package this evening, which would deliver much-needed aid for the Hoosier State, Banks opted out to attend the GOP's CPAC conference instead.”

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