WASHINGTON -- Three months ago, the Committee on House Administration's ranking member, Rodney Davis, led the GOP opposition to Democrats' proxy voting rule that allows members to cast votes from their districts during the pandemic. Now the Illinois Republican, stuck quarantining at home after a positive COVID-19 test, will likely miss his opportunity to vote on the next coronavirus relief package because he opposes the only mechanism for him to safely do so.
Davis announced Wednesday that he tested positive for COVID-19, a test he sought after his twice-daily temperature check produced a reading that was higher than normal. Appearing on CNN on Thursday morning, Davis said his temperature usually reads around 97 degrees, but Wednesday morning it was 99 degrees.
"Because I had a bunch of public events planned over the next couple of days, I went ahead and went up to a rapid-scan testing facility we have in our district, got tested, and surprisingly I tested positive," he said.
Davis said in the statement announcing his diagnosis that he planned to continue serving his constituents "virtually from home while I quarantine."
The House is out of session but is expected to be called back to vote as soon as next week on a coronavirus relief bill negotiators are debating. If a bipartisan deal is reached in time for the House to vote in the next 10 days, which is the quarantine period the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended for someone who tests positive for the virus and doesn't develop symptoms, Davis will not be able to attend.
The only way Davis could cast a vote is if he designates a colleague to serve as his proxy, but he has vehemently opposed that process as the top Republican on the administration panel.
"Not only does this proposal violate the Constitution, but it takes away the voice of the American people. Our constituents elected us to represent their interests in Congress, not to hand over our votes on crucial legislation," Davis said in a statement May 26 after he and other Republicans filed a lawsuit in federal court to overturn the proxy voting rule.
On Thursday, a federal judge in Washington dismissed the lawsuit. District Judge Rudolph Contreras found that Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other defendants are immune from the lawsuit under the Speech Or Debate Clause of the Constitution.
A spokesperson for Davis confirmed he would not be using a proxy if the House votes while he is quarantining. The only other members of Congress known to be quarantining because of a positive coronavirus test are Texas GOP Rep. Louie Gohmert and Arizona Democratic Rep. Raul M. Grijalva.
Gohmert tested positive July 29, and if he remains symptom-free, his 10-day quarantine period will be up before next week, the earliest the House is expected to return.