Won't allow India-Pak proxy war in Afghanistan: Karzai – Hindustan Times

Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai said on Friday his country will not allow its soil to be used for a proxy war between India and Pakistan, urging countries in the region, including India, China and Russia, to put up a united fight against terrorism in Afghanistan, which draws sustenance from outside its borders.

“Terrorism as an instrument of foreign policy has boomeranged,” he said in his inaugural address at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, making an oblique reference to Pakistan.
 
“Most of all, terrorism which derives its sustenance and support from outside our borders, remains the biggest challenge for the stability and prosperity of Afghanistan as well as the region,” said Karzai, who presided over the first democratic transition in his country and was at its helm for 13 eventful years.

http://unblockmyschool.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/htlskarzai.jpg

Reacting to former Pakistan ruler Pervez Musharraf’s recent comments on the India-Pakistan proxy war in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of American troops, Karzai said his country will not allow it and India won’t be interested in it either. 

“I am sure India will not do that… I would like to reassure Musharraf. He needn’t worry about a proxy war,”  he said, addressing a packed audience of policy-makers, diplomats and business leaders.

Pakistan has remained sceptical of India’s role in Afghanistan and Karzai who made 20 visits to Pakistan as the country’s president has consistently spoken about terror sanctuaries outside Afghanistan borders. He referred to the financial and ideological support the terror groups had received.

Karzai praised India’s role in the reconstruction of his country, especially in capacity-building.

He flagged off concerns about Afghanistan continuing to be a theatre for “great games” by other powers.

Reiterating his previous position, Karzai said the US should have fought terrorism “in its sanctuaries and support bases”, adding he was proved right about his 2006 statement that Osama bin Laden should have been hunted in Pakistan because the al Qaeda chief was found  and killed in Abbottabad in 2013.

Karzai talked about regional countries coming together to address the challenges of terrorism even as he listed out the gains Afghanistan has made over the past 13 years in terms of democracy and building of institutions.
 
He also stressed the need for India and China to fight the scourge of terrorism together. “India, Russia, China are superpowers in their own way. Countries in the region should fight the challenge together. Terrorism is a key challenge,” he said.

Watch: Modi’s decision to call off talks with Pakistan wasn’t wrong, says Karzai

Full coverage: HT Leadership Summit

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Nancy Pelosi lost a major proxy battle today – Washington Post (blog)


House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), joined by Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), holds a news conference to announce her Democratic leadership team. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

On Tuesday, Nancy Pelosi was “unanimously” (there was no actual vote) reelected as the leader of House Democrats. On Wednesday, she lost a proxy fight that reveals the level of discontent that exists toward her within the caucus she was elected to lead.

At issue was the ranking minority member slot — yes, weirdly, this matters a lot — on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The job was open due to the retirement of California Rep. Henry Waxman. Pelosi’s preferred candidate to succeed Waxman was fellow California Rep. Anna Eshoo (D), but New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone was more senior than Eshoo and wanted the job.  He won — 100 to 90 — in what veteran congressional observers cast as a major setback for the minority leader and a sign of cracks in her legendarily unified front.

Here’s why. Pelosi threw the weight of her organization inside the House behind Eshoo. (Eshoo doesn’t even have a chief of staff based full time in Washington.) Pelosi functioned as the campaign manager of Eshoo’s bid, publicly and privately. ”It’s about the future,” Pelosi told The Post earlier this week about her support for Eshoo. “And secondly, it’s about California, too.” Earlier in the fall, Pelosi sent a letter to her colleagues that claimed Eshoo had 105 solid commitments, more than enough to win.

And yet, Eshoo still lost — a rebuke to Pelosi that would have seemed unimaginable just a few years ago. (No matter what you think of Pelosi, it’s hard to argue that her ability to keep her people in line has been absolutely remarkable.) The rebuke came less than 24 hours after comedian Jon Stewart blasted Pelosi and insisted it was time for her to step aside, and amid continued grumbling from some within the House Democratic caucus about her decision to stay put despite the party’s losses in the midterm elections.

The Energy and Commerce vote was a private one and, therefore, there is no actual vote to scan through in hopes of understanding who rebelled against Pelosi and why. Here’s what we do know.  As WaPo’s Karen Tumulty noted, Pallone’s support included a large bloc of Congressional Black Caucus members who are big believers in the seniority system.  House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.), a longtime rival to Pelosi, was for Pallone, as were a number of recently elected members who sit in swing districts, which Pelosi does not. (President Obama won Pelosi’s district with 84 percent in 2012.)

To be clear: Standing up to Pelosi on a proxy vote for ranking member on Energy and Commerce isn’t the same thing as saying it’s time for her to go or challenging her hold on the top spot.  Not one of the 100 members who voted against her Wednesday were willing to stand up to her re-ascension to the top job 24 hours earlier. (Florida Rep.-elect Gwen Graham insisted that she hadn’t actually supported Pelosi, but whatever.) And, some of those who voted against Pelosi’s choice — the CBC in particular — did so less out of animosity toward her and more out of an adherence to other principles.

But  the group that may hold the keys to the caucus’s future — composed primarily of the members elected in the last few election cycles — is young and ambitious, and not necessarily willing to watch as Pelosi dictates her will to the caucus nor wait until she decides it’s time to leave to make some noise about the way she runs things. People like Reps. Joaquin Castro (Tex.), Cheri Bustos (Ill.), Patrick Murphy (Fla.) and Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii) are considered part of that group by longtime congressional watchers.

What’s fascinating about that group is that their approach stands in direct contrast to the longtime Pelosi heirs-in-waiting, who have born her decisions to come back time and again as the top Democrat in silence. That group includes people like Reps. Xavier Becerra (Calif.) and Chris Van Hollen (Md.), both of whom are part of a small group of Democratic members seen as having the policy and political chops to fill the void once Pelosi leaves.

The 114th Congress will convene with Democrats at their lowest ebb — in terms of raw number of seats held — since World War II. It’s in moments like that where tiny cracks turn into gaping chasms as ambition and ego pour out. Watch to see whether Pelosi — as she has done so many times before — can keep the warring factions at bay for just a little longer.

Chris Cillizza writes “The Fix,” a politics blog for the Washington Post. He also covers the White House.

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Dow Chemical Pact With Third Point Avoids Proxy Fight – Bloomberg

Dow Chemical Co. (DOW), the largest U.S. chemical maker, avoided a proxy fight with activist investor Third Point LLC after agreeing to add four new independent directors. Dow shares rose.

Joining the board on Jan. 1 will be Third Point nominees Ray Milchovich, former chairman and chief executive of Foster Wheeler AG and Steve Miller, chairman of American International Group Inc., Dow and Third Point said in a regulatory filing.

Dow nominated Mark Loughridge, former chief financial officer of IBM Corp., who will also join in January, and Richard Davis, chairman and CEO of U.S. Bancorp, who will replace a current board member in May. Dow’s board increases to 13 directors, from 10, and will shrink to 12 before the 2016 annual meeting.

Third Point, founded by Daniel Loeb, has called for Dow to focus more on its petrochemicals business or spin it off as a separate company. Chairman and Chief Executive OfficerAndrew Liveris has defended Dow’s integrated model, arguing that the company is more profitable because it produces commodity chemicals such as ethylene and propylene for use in its higher-value products such as pesticides and plastic films for packaging.

Dow rose as much as 4.5 percent, the biggest intraday gain since Jan. 29, and was trading 3.1 percent higher at $53.05 as of 11:34 a.m. in New York.

‘Broken Promises’

In addition to their Dow director fees, Third Point is paying Miller and Milchovich $250,000 each and they get another $250,000 to buy Dow shares when they get on the board, Third Point said in a Nov. 13 regulatory filing. They also get any value increase in 396,500 Dow shares each over 3- and 5-year periods.

Third Point has taken down a website unveiled Nov. 13 that was critical of what it called “broken promises” by Dow and Liveris. Under today’s agreement, Third Point is to refrain from proxy challenges, lawsuits or public disparagement of Dow and its executives for a year.

“Dow and Third Point will be making no further public comment on the matter,” according to the joint statement today. “Both are pleased to have resolved the matter amicably and to have arrived at an agreeable path forward.”

Asset Sales

Third Point first disclosed its Dow stake in January and today reported owning 27.5 million Dow shares, or about 2.3 percent of shares outstanding. Third Point agreed today to keep its stake below 5 percent.

Liveris told investors and analysts at a Nov. 12-13 meeting in Texas that earnings will climb as new plants open in Texas and Saudi Arabia and margins will widen with the sale of less-profitable assets. The company is raising its dividend to a record, making additional share buybacks and is in the process of selling as much as $8.5 billion of low-margin assets.

Dow also is making changes to how it reports business segment results, partly to assuage Loeb’s call for greater financial transparency.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jack Kaskey in Houston at jkaskey@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Simon Casey at scasey4@bloomberg.net Carlos Caminada, Robin Saponar

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Nancy Pelosi Defends Blocking Pregnant Lawmaker From Proxy Vote – International Business Times

WASHINGTON – House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi defended a caucus decision not to allow pregnant Rep. Tammy Duckworth vote by proxy from her home in Illinois in this week’s closed-door leadership votes. The decision has raised eyebrows and drawn criticism from conservative pundits, especially since Democrats are such strong supporters of issues like paid family leave.

Pelosi said the decision wasn’t about whether Duckworth, who is due in December, had a valid reason, but because of caucus rules.

“The rules of the caucus are the same as the rules of the House, no proxy voting, and would require changing the rules of the caucus different from the rules of the House,” Pelosi told reporters Monday. “I don’t know why all this fuss was made about a vote in the caucus.”

Duckworth, who is an Iraq war veteran and double amputee, had sent a letter to fellow Democrats asking to participate via proxy because her doctors had instructed her not to travel to Washington. The request was denied.

Pelosi pointed to the “slippery slope” argument, saying the caucus couldn’t vet every application to vote by proxy.

“We don’t know what’s going on in the lives of many people. I think one of our members may be having an operation this week,” Pelosi said. “You’re going to establish a situation where we’re going to determine who has a note from their doctor that is valid. It’s really a place we shouldn’t go down. But it’s not to be confused with not having family or medical leave.”

At the root of the dispute going public is a tense and bitter battle over who will be the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee. Duckworth is backing Rep. Frank Pallone while Pelosi is pushing for Rep. Anna Eshoo. Each side has accused the other of playing politics in deciding whether to allow Duckworth to vote by proxy.

Pelosi, who is a mother of five children, said she encouraged Duckworth to remain at home as long as needed.

“I was one of the ones who said to Congresswoman Duckworth, don’t come back here. This is a most glorious experience of your life, the center of the universe will change for you when you have this new precious baby,” Pelosi said. “Knowing about the baby, I appointed Congresswoman Duckworth to the Benghazi committee. Only five appointments we had. We wanted our strongest members there. She informed me of her good news and I said, ‘Just take it as it comes, to the extent you can serve we want you to be there.’”

“We wish her well, she has all of our good wishes and prayers.” 

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Pelosi dismisses 'fuss' over denial of proxy vote to pregnant lawmaker – The Hill

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is defending her caucus’ decision to bar the pregnant Rep. Tammy Duckworth from voting in the party’s leadership elections this week, saying she’s not sure what all the “fuss” is about.

Duckworth, a 46-year-old Illinois Democrat who lost both her legs in the Iraq War, had penned a letter to Democratic leaders asking for permission to vote by proxy after her doctor prohibited her from flying back to Washington after the elections out of concern for her health.

Pelosi said making an exception for Duckworth could set a precedent that would eventually become a headache for party leaders.

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“The rules of the caucus are the same as the rules of the House — no proxy voting — and [allowing Duckworth to vote] would require changing rules of the caucus as different from rules of the House. She understood that full well,” Pelosi said during a press briefing in the Capitol. 

“The fact is that we don’t know what’s going on in the lives of many people. I think one of our members may be having an operation this week,” she added. “You’re going to establish a situation where we’re going to determine who has a note from the doctor that’s valid or not. It’s really a place we shouldn’t go.”

Pelosi raised eyebrows last week when she emerged as a leading opponent of Duckworth’s request, not least because the California liberal has made women’s empowerment issues — including efforts to bolster family leave for working women — a central plank of the Democrats’ policy platform.

Her decision also led to speculation from some Democratic aides that the move was designed, at least in part, to help Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) win her race against Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) for the ranking member spot on the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee. 

Pelosi has enthusiastically endorsed Eshoo, a close ally, despite Pallone’s seniority on the panel, and Duckworth had vowed to back Pallone.

The Democrats’ leadership elections are slated for Tuesday, with committee elections to follow shortly afterwards.

Pelosi, didn’t mention the Eshoo-Pallone contest Monday, but said she spoke with Duckworth — “a lovely conversation” — and urged her to savor the experience of becoming a mother. 

“I was one of the ones who said to Congresswoman Duckworth, ‘Don’t come back here. This is a most glorious experience of your life, the center of the universe will change for you when you have this precious new baby,’” Pelosi said. 

“I don’t know why all this fuss was made about a vote in the caucus.”

Pelosi also emphasized that she picked Duckworth to sit on the special panel investigating the Benghazi tragedy.

“We wish her well,” Pelosi said. “She’s a heroine to our country.” 

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Pelosi, DeLauro deny pregnant Rep. Duckworth proxy vote – CBS News

House Democrats decided Thursday to deny Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois, a proxy vote in the Democratic leadership elections, which she requested because she can’t be in Washington, D.C. for the vote. First reported by the National Journal, the very pregnant 46-year-old Iraq War veteran who lost both of her legs in a 2004 helicopter crash, was told by doctor that it was unsafe for her to fly at this stage in her pregnancy.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, opposed the request, a day after she chastised reporters over what she suggested was a gender-based double standard: “You never ask Mitch McConnell, ‘Aren’t you getting a little old Mitch? Shouldn’t you step aside?’”

And Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Connecticut, who has been a fierce advocate for issues that resonate with women, is one of the members who denied the request because, as she told CBS News producer Alicia Amling, she didn’t want to set a precedent. DeLauro said that while the request had merit, there had been many cases with merit that had come up in the past and were denied.

The motion to allow Duckworth a proxy vote was made by Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Illinois. Then, according to a Democratic aide, Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wisconsin, also requested a proxy vote because she will be attending a funeral on Tuesday. Most of the members in the room then seemed inclined to deny the original motion on the grounds that it seemed to be creating something of a slippery slope. Schakowsky seemed to recognize this and withdrew her motion. The other issue for the lawmakers was that they had no practical way of casting a secret ballot remotely.

Duckworth said in a statement, “The Caucus chose not to allow me to vote via proxy. I respect the process and very much appreciated my colleagues who made sure my request was considered.”

The unspoken issue is the selection of the ranking member of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee, just vacated by retiring Rep. Henry Waxman, D-California. Minority leader Nancy Pelosi is backing Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-California, over Rep. Frank Pallone, D-New Jersey, who has seniority. The vote has been cast as a kind of for-Pelosi v against-Pelosi battle. Pallone is supported by Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland.

A senior Democratic aide told Amling, “It’s disgusting that Schakowsky and pro-Pallone folks are attempting to politicize an internal Caucus decision.” The aide accused Pallone supporters of orchestrating the motion “intentionally, to create a stir.

Ranking member positions in the House caucus are usually determined by the Steering Committee, but when there are closely contested races, they are often decided by the entire Caucus, as is the case here. Historically, members have not been allowed to vote by proxy in leadership elections.

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Democrats denied a proxy vote to a pregnant congresswoman. Here's the issue. – Washington Post (blog)


Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) talks about the problems plaguing the Veterans Administration in her office in the Cannon Building May 19, 2014, in Washington, D.C. Duckworth lost both legs in the Iraq War when the Blackhawk she was piloting was shot down in 2004. (Photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), who is eight months pregnant and cannot travel to Washington, will not be allowed to vote by proxy in the upcoming leadership battles, as Democrats refused to make an exception to their hard-and-fast rules about proxy voting.

National Journal reports that Duckworth, a Iraq War veteran and double amputee, wrote a letter to her colleagues, asking that she be allowed to participate in the votes:

I write to request your assistance regarding upcoming votes four our Caucus. As you are aware, I am in the final weeks of my pregnancy, and have been instructed by my physician not to travel. As a result, I will not be attending the upcoming Caucus meetings in person. I would like to request a proxy vote on the upcoming leadership and ranking member elections that will come before the Caucus in the coming weeks

The denial comes amidst a leadership fight that will offer little drama at the top, but plenty for the top seat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, where retiring Rep. Henry Waxman (Calif.) is vacating his post. According to the National Journal, Duckworth’s request also got jumbled up with a request by Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), who also requested a proxy vote because she has to attend a funeral.

Though some backed Duckworth, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) both wanted to hold firm on the no-proxy-vote rule:

“Congresswoman DeLauro does not want to set a precedent. There are many meritorious situations where the argument could be made for a waiver, including Congresswoman Duckworth’s. The question is, how do you choose?” said DeLauro spokeswoman Sara Lonardo, in a statement to the National Journal.

For Democrats, who have framed themselves as the party of working women, this does put them in an awkward position. It comes, for instance, as the Supreme Court is set to decide a case about pregnant workers’ rights involving United Parcel Service and a pregnant woman who sued them for discrimination. UPS recently reversed its decision and, starting Jan. 1, will offer light duty to pregnant workers.

At issue is whether pregnant workers should be afforded the same type of legal protections as disabled workers who would be allowed special accommodations that would allow them to do their jobs. (Duckworth, for what it’s worth, is also an amputee, but that is not mentioned in her request.)

President Obama has repeatedly called on Congress to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, (PWFA), and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed federal lawsuits recently against companies, alleging that women were fired after their pregnancy was revealed in violation of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which doesn’t expressly mandate that employees make accommodations for pregnant women.

In July, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued new guidelines that made clear to employers that it is illegal not to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers.

The PWFA has 33 co-sponsors, (all Democrats and one independent), and the decision on Duckworth is interesting in light of what that bill is pushing for (emphasis mine):

Pregnant Workers Fairness Act — Declares it an unlawful employment practice for employers, employment agencies, labor organizations, and other specified entities to: (1) fail to make reasonable accommodations to known limitations related to the pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions of job applicants or employees, unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on such an entity’s business operation; (2) deny employment opportunities based on the need of the entity to make such reasonable accommodations; (3) require such job applicants or employees to accept an accommodation that they choose not to accept; or (4) require such employees to take leave if another reasonable accommodation can be provided to their known limitations.

Under those rules, it would be difficult to see how allowing Duckworth a proxy vote, which would be a reasonable accommodation, imposes undue hardship on House Democrats.

For now, Duckworth appears to have accepted the decision.

“I submitted a request to the Caucus to allow for a proxy vote due to my pregnancy,” Duckworth said in a statement. “The Caucus chose not to allow me to vote via proxy. I respect the process and very much appreciated my colleagues who made sure my request was considered.”

Nia-Malika Henderson is a political reporter for The Fix.

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House Dems nix congresswoman's proxy vote request – WRAL.com

By DONNA CASSATA, Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A pregnant congresswoman who sought to vote by proxy in House Democratic elections next week said Friday she accepts the decision of her colleagues to reject the request.

Rep. Tammy Duckworth, who is expecting her first child in December, had asked Democrats to break with precedent and allow her to vote by proxy in leadership and committee elections beginning Tuesday. Doctors have advised Duckworth to remain in Illinois during the final weeks of her pregnancy.

After a discussion in a closed-door meeting Thursday, Democrats stood by their decades-long prohibition on proxy voting.

“I submitted a request to the caucus to allow for a proxy vote due to my pregnancy,” Duckworth said in a statement. “The caucus chose not to allow me to vote via proxy. I respect the process and very much appreciated my colleagues who made sure my request was considered.”

Duckworth, who was elected to a second term last week, is a veteran of the Iraq war who lost both legs and partial use of an arm in a rocket-propelled grenade attack.

A senior Democratic aide said that while the request was meritorious, a number of Democrats expressed reservations about the slippery slope of changing the rules. After Duckworth’s request, Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis., asked if she could vote by proxy on Tuesday because she had a funeral to attend. Moore’s comments prompted some Democrats to wonder about the threshold for future requests on proxy voting.

The National Journal first reported on Duckworth’s request and the caucus’ decision.

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Dems Deny Pregnant Iraq War Vet Proxy Vote in Leadership Elections – American Spectator (blog)

The #WaronWomen is most recently about birth control and whether it should be compulsory for anyone with an incorrect voting record, but Democrats have been confident in their superiority on “women’s issues” long before Sandra Fluke testified under oath to her incorrect understanding of Catholic University’s policies on contraception. Whether women are having babies, not having babies, having babies at work, not having babies because of work, or not having babies and also not working, Democrats are standing behind them encouraging them to do whatever it takes to register for a government program that will assist them at doing whatever it is they do. 

Unless, of course, they’re actually inside the Democratic Party, apparently. Tammy Duckworth is an Illinois Representative who is eight months pregnant. She’s also an Iraq War vet who lost both her legs in combat. She can’t travel to Washington to cast her vote for Democratic Party leadership. And when she requested to vote by proxy, the Democratic caucus, through leaders Nancy Pelosi and Rosa DeLaura, some of the most vocal critics of the “Republican #WaronWomen” told Duckworth in no uncertain terms that, unless she showed up to vote, she was out of luck.

Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, who is expecting a baby in December, is being denied a request to vote by proxy in the House Democratic Caucus leadership and committee member elections next week—even though her doctor advises she can’t travel to Washington in the late stages of her pregnancy.

The Iraq War veteran, who lost both legs when her helicopter was shot down in 2004, made the request in a letter to fellow Democrats. Her letter was read during a closed-door Democratic Caucus meeting on Thursday. But objections were raised, and the request was denied, with opponents including Democratic Steering and Police Committee cochair Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Obviously, this is all the Republicans fault. Sometime last week, they brainwashed the two female Democratic legsilators in leadership positions to ignore Duckworth’s desire to participate despite being in the unique, female position of being seriously pregnant. DeLauro and Pelosi note that voting by proxy is against the caucus rules,  and according to DeLauro’s spokeswoman, “Congresswoman DeLauro does not want to set a precedent. There are many meritorious situations where the argument could be made for a waiver, including Congresswoman Duckworth’s. The question is, how do you choose?”

Well, there’s one way: limit the exclusion to women who are in the last trimester of pregnancy where travel is expressly forbidden. That seems like the most rational, even dare I say, feminst way to handle things. After all, men can’t have babies – this is a uniquely female problem – and women in this situation are clearly put at a disadvantage as compared to their male counterparts. The only other option is not to have children at all while you’re actively serving in Congress, and that’s something I suspect real feminists can’t abide. Regardless of whether a ban on voting by proxy is part of the Democratic caucus rules, a Democratic caucus that prides itself so highly on being in touch with women and their issues in the workplace should recognize that what could be considered an abjectly sexist rule needs a change.

Of course, there may be other reasons Pelosi is opening a front against Rep. Tammy Duckworth that has nothing to do with her reproductive choices.

None of the caucus’s top leaders, including Pelosi, are being directly challenged in their bids to reclaim their posts. But both Rep. Anna Eshoo of California, who is backed by Pelosi for the Energy Committee ranking member’s seat, and Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey, who is backed by Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, are battling to convince a majority of House Democrats to vote for them.

Duckworth is among those who have thrown her support behind Pallone—against Pelosi’s choice of Eshoo.

In the fight between principles and politics, it seems, politics has won. 

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Democrats Deny Pregnant Rep. Tammy Duckworth Proxy Vote in Leadership … – ABC News

PHOTO: Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., makes her way to a closed briefing in the Capitol Visitor Center for House members on the administrations strategy for combating ISIL, in this Sept. 11, 2014 file photo.
Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., makes her way to a closed briefing in the Capitol Visitor Center for House members on the administration’s strategy for combating ISIL, in this Sept. 11, 2014 file photo.

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images

Democrats promote absentee ballots, early voting and removing barriers and obstacles from the polls — except in House leadership races apparently.

House Democrats rejected their pregnant colleague’s plea to submit proxy votes in the House Democratic Caucus’s leadership and committee elections next week. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, a disabled war veteran who is due to have her first child in December, is missing the elections in person next week because her physician advised her not to travel.

While proxy voting is explicitly against caucus rules, Duckworth, who had both of her legs amputated when the helicopter she was flying was shot down in Iraq, wrote a letter from Illinois to request a waiver due to her extraordinary circumstances. Democrats are scheduled to vote on their leadership team via secret ballot next Tuesday and are also expected to decide senior committee assignments next week.

The drama played out at a closed-door meeting Thursday, when Duckworth’s request was debated before the caucus.

Democrats like Rep. Rosa DeLauro, the co-chair of the Democrat Steering and Policy Committee, cautioned colleagues against setting new precedent for the secret ballot elections.

But Rep. Jan Schakowsky, vice-chair of the steering and policy committee and one of Duckworth’s colleagues from Illinois, made a motion to permit a concession to Duckworth, whose letter was read to the caucus.

“I write to request your assistance regarding upcoming votes four our Caucus,” her letter stated, according to the National Journal, which first broke the story. “As you are aware, I am in the final weeks of my pregnancy, and have been instructed by my physician not to travel. As a result, I will not be attending the upcoming Caucus meetings in person.”

“I would like to request a proxy vote on the upcoming leadership and ranking member elections that will come before the Caucus in the coming weeks,” she continued.

According to a Democratic aide in the room during the debate, a pivotal moment came when Rep. Gwen Moore spoke out to ask whether she could proxy vote as well because she plans to attend a funeral in Wisconsin next Tuesday.

Moore’s request soured the mood of the room against Duckworth’s motion, the aide said, “with Members realizing the slippery slope argument that others had made.” Schakowsky then pulled her motion for Duckworth.

A Democratic source admitted Duckworth’s situation was “a very meritorious case,” but in the end “the slippery slope argument prevailed” because “there’s no practical way to do secret balloting remotely.”

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was believed to have opposed the request, purportedly in part over a contentious race for the top Democratic position on the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee. Pelosi has a large stake in that behind-the-scenes party battle and did not speak out in Duckworth’s favor at the meeting.

Pelosi has repeatedly urged her colleagues to support Rep. Anna Eshoo of California, while Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 ranked Democrat, is putting his weight behind Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey. Duckworth also supports Pallone, raising questions about whether Pelosi is in effect blocking a vote against her fellow Californian.

Pelosi’s office refused to comment on the record, but a senior Democratic leadership aide emphasized that the caucus has not permitted proxy voting for as long as they have records, dating back more than four decades.

“It’s disgusting that Schakowsky and pro-Pallone folks are attempting to politicize an internal Caucus decision,” the aide, who was present during the meeting wrote in an email. The source also alleged that Cathy Hurwit, Schakowsky’s Chief of Staff and Brian Romick, who’s been whipping Pallone’s race for Hoyer, “were seen repeatedly talking to each other in the Caucus orchestrating this motion during the Caucus meeting yesterday.”

“Neither Schakowsky nor her staff brought this to the leadership’s attention in advance of the Caucus meeting,” the aide wrote. “This was done intentionally to create a stir.”

Duckworth’s provided a statement from the congresswoman where she seems to have come to terms with the decision.

“I submitted a request to the Caucus to allow for a proxy vote due to my pregnancy,” Duckworth wrote in a statement to ABC News. “The Caucus chose not to allow me to vote via proxy. I respect the process and very much appreciated my colleagues who made sure my request was considered.”

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