How Many House Members Skip Out on Votes?

More than you might think, according to 'NYT' analysis
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 1, 2011 11:38 AM CDT
How Many House Members Skip Out on Votes?
US Rep. Don Young, left, R-Alaska, speaks as Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., right, looks on, Monday, Oct. 17, 2011, at a US House Natural Resources Committee oversight hearing held in Seattle.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

If Congress was graded like school, some House members wouldn't be getting As: Almost 20 of them have missed more than 10% of this year’s votes, according to a New York Times analysis. Though 10% may not seem very significant at first glance, the Times notes that most lawmakers try to avoid skipping out on votes since, you know, voting is seen as kind of an integral part of the job. Though most of the members who missed a lot of votes cited illness, some gave other reasons—like Alaska’s Don Young, who has missed 16% of this year’s votes, the worst record of any member not running for president or recovering from a serious injury or illness. He, for example, went on a charity fishing trip instead of making the Cut, Cap, and Balance vote.

Young, the second-longest-serving House Republican, lives “over 10,000 miles away round trip,” his spokesperson points out; the Times notes, however, that the Alaskan senators have managed to rack up much better attendance records. “There are many things that factor into being an effective member of Congress in addition to voting, such as meeting with constituents,” Young’s spokesperson continues. Illinois’ Bobby L. Rush is similarly defensive: “I think you will find that the votes I cast are on the substantive issues that arise.” Of course, there are also 11 Republicans and four Democrats who have perfect attendance records for the year. (Click to see what those who show up today will vote on.)

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