Democrats push $1.9B Capitol security bill through House after Republican forgets to cast proxy vote

A Republican congressman made a mistake on the House floor last week that could end up costing his party — and the country — big time.

A Democrat-backed bill to bolster security at the U.S. Capitol in the wake of a riot there on Jan. 6 passed the House in a narrow 213–212 vote on Thursday — all because Republican Rep. Ken Calvert (CA) “forgot” to cast a proxy vote on behalf of one of his GOP colleagues, Just the News reported.

Had Calvert officially cast the proxy vote he was meant to submit for Rep. John Carter (R-TX), the $1.9 billion package would have died in the House, where no process exists to break a tied vote.

A costly mistake

According to Just the News, Carter sent a letter to the clerk of the House of Representatives more than a week ago giving Calvert the authority to vote on his behalf, citing “the ongoing public health emergency,” which Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has authorized as a valid reason to skip out on voting in person.

But while Calvert voted for Carter on the motion to recommit the bill earlier in the day, he failed to speak for his Texas colleague in the final vote.

A spokesperson for Carter confirmed that he “would have voted against the bill if his proxy vote was counted for the final vote,” Just the News reported. The Texas congressman also “included a statement in the record that he would’ve voted ‘no.'”

Pressed for comment on the apparent error, Calvert’s office said he simply “made a mistake.”

“Rep. Calvert had been voting by proxy for Rep. Carter throughout the week,” but “Rep. Calvert made a mistake and simply forgot to cast Rep. Carter’s vote,” his office said in a statement, according to Just the News.

Opposition from both sides

While the security bill barely passed the House, Republicans may still have a chance to block it in the Senate, where even The New York Times admits “[t]he measure faces long odds.”

Even in the lower chamber, where Democrats hold a solid but still slim majority, the Pelosi-backed measure faced opposition from progressives who The Times said “are skeptical of increasing spending on policing argued that the Capitol Police bore some responsibility for what happened on Jan. 6. — or may even have been complicit in it.”

Among them were Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman, both New York Democrats who voted “present” on the security measure in a blow to the party establishment that could ultimately have cost them the deal, had Calvert not slipped up.

“The attack on Jan. 6 was not due to a lack of police funding; it was a lack of coordination, preparation, and sharing of intelligence,” Bowman said, according to The Times. “It was because the threat of white supremacy has been enabled to spread and fester throughout our nation, including within law enforcement.”

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