Texas federal judge finds 2022 spending bill passed unconstitutionally News
Josh Harder, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Texas federal judge finds 2022 spending bill passed unconstitutionally

A Texas federal judge ruled Tuesday that the US Congress passed a 2022 $1.7 trillion government spending bill unconstitutionally. Federal District Judge James Wesley Hendrix blocked the enforcement of a portion of the bill, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PFWA), based on a violation of the US Constitution’s “quorum clause.”

The 2022 spending bill passed through Congress via a proxy voting rule, which was implemented in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic under former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). The proxy rule implemented allowed for non-present members of the House of Representatives to to be included in the quorum count and vote by proxy. The bill passed the House of Representatives in 2022 by a 329-73 vote. Federal District Judge James Wesley found that, by allowing lawmakers to vote by proxy on the 2022 spending bill, “the Act was passed in violation of the Constitution.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton challenged the bill and sought an injunction against two portions of the bill, the PFWA and a sizable appropriation to a federal pilot program that provided case services to immigrants in immigration removal proceedings.

Hendrix granted Paxton’s request for an injunction to bar enforcement of the PWFA but held that the state lacked standing to challenge the immigration program. The PWFA required employers to provide “reasonable workplace accommodations for workers who ability to perform the functions of the job are limited by pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.”

In a press release Paxton praised the decision and criticized the 2022 Congress for passage of the bill with less than half of the House of Representatives physically present. He said:

Congress acted egregiously by passing the largest spending bill in U.S. history with less than half the members of the House bothering to do their jobs, show up, and vote in person. Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi abused proxy voting under the pretext of Covid-19 to pass this law…knowing [she] violated the constitution. This was a stunning violation of the rule of law. I am relieved the Court upheld the Constitution.