Vulnerable Iowa Democrat vacationed in Europe as she voted by proxy for Inflation Reduction Act, IRS expansion

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Iowa Democratic Rep. Cindy Axne was not physically present at the nation’s Capitol last month for a vote on the Inflation Reduction Act, but voted by proxy as she vacationed with her family in Europe.

At the time of the vote, which took place on Aug. 12, Axne, who currently represents Iowa’s Third Congressional District, was allegedly in France, according to an image shared to social media by her son.

The photograph, shared to Instagram Aug. 11 from her son’s account, was captioned “France Pt. 1” and shows Axne standing alongside her husband and son.

In an August 12 letter to Cheryl Johnson, the clerk for the House of Representatives, Axne said she was “unable to physically attend proceedings in the House Chamber due to the ongoing public health emergency” and granted the authority to cast her vote by proxy to Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-Va.

VULNERABLE HOUSE DEMOCRATS DEFEND VOTE ON INFLATION REDUCTION ACT, EXPANSION OF IRS

A post shared to Instagram by her son shows Cindy Axne vacationing in Europe amid a vote by the House on the Inflation Reeducation Act.

A post shared to Instagram by her son shows Cindy Axne vacationing in Europe amid a vote by the House on the Inflation Reeducation Act. (Instagram)

Following the measure’s passage in the House, a tweet from Axne’s Twitter account read: “PASSED! I just voted YES on the #InflationReductionAct – a historic bill to lower health care costs, cut prescription drug prices, lower the cost of energy, and much more.”

Proxy voting was instituted amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the resolution establishing the process, to avoid interpersonal contact among members. To vote by proxy, a House member must submit a letter that states they are “unable to physically attend proceedings in the House Chamber due to the ongoing public health emergency” and designate someone to vote for them.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., extended proxy voting until to Sept. 26, but it is unclear if she will continue allowing the practice after that date.

Axne — despite her inability to physically appear in the House chamber for a vote on the measure — has repeatedly defended the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes an expansion of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

“We’re investing in the IRS because right now, $160 billion in taxes go unearned into our country’s coffers that would help all of you with our schools, and with our roads, and with our healthcare, and with all of the important things this country needs because we don’t have enough IRS auditors to address the issues that we’re facing,” Axne said at an August event put on by the Des Moines Register.

Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, participates in the news conference on the Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act in the Capitol on Wednesday, June 15, 2022.

Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, participates in the news conference on the Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act in the Capitol on Wednesday, June 15, 2022. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

The measure, signed into law by Biden last month, will grant an $80 billion boost to the IRS over a 10-year period, with more than half of the funds intended to help the agency crack down on tax evasion. The billions of dollars will assist with the filling of 87,000 IRS positions, more than doubling the agency’s current size.

CINDY AXNE PUSHES BACK ON GOP CLAIM THAT STUDENT LOAN HANDOUT WILL INCREASE INFLATION, TAXES

As it relates to inflation, Axne, who has served in the House since 2019, has also pushed back on claims from Republicans that President Biden’s student debt handout, which is projected to cost an estimated $500 billion, will increase inflation and taxes.

Pointing to analysis from Wall Street, Axne said late last month that the president’s plan is “something that will not impact inflation negatively” and “bring down inflation.”

Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, vacationed in Europe and was not physically present for a vote in the House on the Inflation Reduction Act.

Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, vacationed in Europe and was not physically present for a vote in the House on the Inflation Reduction Act. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

“Today, Goldman Sachs an analysis that said the net impact of the debt forgiveness and resuming student loan payments is likely to be very modest, but it will be slightly disinflationary, so it will bring down inflation,” Axne said during an appearance on KMA’s “Morning Line” program.

“This is something that I understand because people come to my office all the time,” she added. “I hear from realtors that student loan debt is strapping people from buying new homes. When folks buy a property, not only does that help the economy — with, you know, paying for the house to be built and those workers to built it, but it’s all the stuff they buy to put in there — that creates jobs in America for appliances and things… if they build a family, all this stuff. It helps build our economy. So, I’m glad to see this is something that will not impact inflation negatively.”

The plan will cancel $10,000 of federal student loan debt for certain borrowers making less than $125,000 per year, and up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients, while extending the pause on federal student loan payments through the end of the year.

Axne speaks during a drive-in rally for 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa, on Friday, Oct. 30, 2020.

Axne speaks during a drive-in rally for 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa, on Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. (Rachel Mummey/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Analysis released from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget projected the student loan handout initiative will “boost inflation by 15 to 27 basis points over the next year.”

Axne will attempt to retain her seat in November as she seeks to come out on top of an election challenge from Iowa state Sen. Zach Nunn, the Republican nominee to represent the state’s Third District in Congress.

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Iowa’s Third District is rated by the Fox News Power Rankings as leaning Republican in the November midterms.

Fox News Digital reached out to Axne’s office and campaign but did not receive a response.

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