Vulnerable Dem skips House votes, attends campaign event, claims he missed due to ‘public health emergency’

Vulnerable Democratic Texas Congressman Vicente Gonzalez missed a number of votes in the House of Representatives this week, citing the ‘ongoing public health emergency’ of COVID-19 as his reason to vote remotely while he attended a number of events in his home state instead.

The embattled Democrat opted to vote by proxy, the process in which a member of Congress can have another member vote on legislation in their absence, choosing Rep. Lou Correa, D-Calif., to vote in his stead.

‘I continue to be unable to physically attend proceedings in the House Chamber due to the ongoing public health emergency and hereby grant the authority to caste my vote by proxy to the Honorable Lou Correa (California), who has agreed to serve as my proxy,’ Gonzalez’s official proxy letter stated.

Of the votes missed by Gonzalez, the most high-profile was the Friday passage of a largely Democrat-backed bill that avoided a shutdown of the federal government, and was described by some as a crucial piece of legislation.

Fox News Digital reached out to Gonzalez’s office for comment on why he chose to be in Texas for a specific campaign event on Thursday evening hosted by the Cameron County Democratic Party rather than the numerous votes held in the House on Thursday and Friday, but didn’t receive an immediate response.

His office responded after publishing that his attendance at the event took place after House voting had ended on Thursday evening, and that he attended three other events in an official capacity during the Friday voting hours in which the bill to avoid a government shutdown was passed.

A number of other members also opted to vote by proxy, but it wasn’t immediately clear if they were also attending events. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi extended proxy voting earlier this month until after the November election, declaring that the coronavirus pandemic still amounted to a public health emergency.

Other members have also continued to use the language citing a public health emergency in their proxy letters when unable to attend votes in the House Chamber, including Rep. Mayra Flores, R-Texas, Gonzalez’s opponent.

Gonzalez, who currently represents Texas’ 15th Congressional District, is facing a tough re-election battle against Flores in the state’s 34th Congressional District, after deciding to run there following the redrawing of district maps.

Fox News’ Power rankings has rated the race as ‘lean Democratic.’

The general election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 8.

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