Roughly half of House members not at Capitol to vote on massive $1.7 omnibus spending bill

Before the vote, 235 members had filed letters with the Office of the House Clerk to have a colleague vote for them.

Updated: December 23, 2022 - 7:27pm

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About half of U.S. House members were not on Capitol Hill on Friday to vote on Congress' $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill, which they passed just hours before the federal government would technically run out of money and be forced into a partial shutdown.

Before the vote, 235 members had filed letters with the Office of the House Clerk to have a colleague vote for them.

The so-called proxy voting rule was put in place after the start of the pandemic by leaders of the Democrat-controlled House and has remained in place despite most COVID-19 travel and public-space mandates having been lifted. 

That so many members did not vote in person Friday was likely in part the result of the severe winter storm sweeping across the country.

Nevertheless, Arizona GOP Rep. Andy Biggs, among the House's most conservative members, took issue with the large number of absences.

"To me, it's absolutely incredible," Biggs said on the Friday edition of the "Just the News, No Noise" TV show. "I understand there's a lot of cold weather, etc, that we that people didn't want to venture out into, but it's our job. This is why we ran, we all work real hard to get elected."

The measure passed 225-201 with Michigan Democrat Rep. Rashida Tlaib voting present and 226 voting by proxy, according to Business Insider.

"And one of the main most important things you do is come to vote," Biggs continued. "And when roughly half of the people don't show up to vote on a nearly $2 trillion spending bill, you have to wonder, is this place so broken that it can never be rehabilitated?"

The Senate already passed the bill on Thursday.