Posted: 10:56 pm Tuesday, December 21st, 2010
By Jamie Dupree
63 members of the U.S. House – two dozen of them Lame Ducks – seemingly decided to take the final hours of the Congressional session off, as they missed all seven votes on Tuesday.
Yesterday was supposed to be the last day for voting, but House leaders decided to bring members back for more work on Wednesday.
As for who was absent, 12 of the missing lawmakers are from California – almost one-quarter of
that state’s House delegation. Seven are from Texas; another half
dozen are from Florida – again, just about a quarter of that state’s
Some probably have a good excuse for not being in Washington, like Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), who gave birth to a baby girl back on December 1.
Something tells me the last thing on her mind right now is voting.
(Your trivia for the day is that McMorris Rodgers is the first member of Congress to give birth to two children while serving in the U.S. House.)
First off, I did not have the chance to check with the offices of all 63 of these members, so some like McMorris Rodgers may have legitimate excuses for not being here, like a Congressional delegation trip.
24 of the members who weren’t here for votes on Tuesday are Lame Ducks. 15 of those Lame Ducks are Democrats and 9 are Republicans.
First, here is your list of missing Lame Ducks:
Some of the House Lame Ducks, like Rep. Mary Fallin (R-OK), are getting ready for bigger things, as she is the Governor-Elect of Oklahoma.
But most of these missing Lame Ducks, like Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) and Rep. John Linder (R-GA) are ending their political careers.
I saw Linder last Friday before the big vote on the tax deal, and he indicated that he was more than ready to get out of town.
I just didn’t realize that he meant right then and there.
Linder isn’t even returning to his home state of Georgia, as he’s moving with his family to Mississippi to be near his grandchildren.
Along with the Lame Ducks, there are 39 members who will be returning next year, who missed every vote on Tuesday.
That group of 39 members includes some big names, like Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), who will be the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.
While Camp didn’t make any of Tuesday’s votes, his office still put out a statement from the Michigan Republican on the new Census numbers.
“The Census today demonstrates how we need a more competitive jobs climate in Michigan and the country, and I look forward to tackling those issues as Chairman,” Camp said.
Also issuing a statement from Washington on the census was Rep. Jerry Costello (D-IL), but he was not on the House floor for votes.
“Today’s announcement by the U.S. Census Bureau that Illinois will lose one congressional seat in 2012 was expected,” said Costello.
The likely excuse for the absence of Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) is that he’s trying to get himself into the thick of the race for Mayor in Chicago.
As for Rep. Peter King (R-NY), I saw quotes from him on negotiations over a 9/11 bill, but he wasn’t on the floor for any votes.
Also issuing news releases on Tuesday was Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), with a Washington dateline, but she wasn’t on the floor either.
One note about Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) – her Communications Director emailed me to say that the Congresswoman had been dealing with medical issues of a family member and was delayed in getting back to DC.
She will be voting on this Wednesday – an example of what I noted above – that some members likely had a legitimate excuse to miss business on Tuesday.
So, maybe a few of these 63 will filter back to town today.
One thing to remember as well is that a lot of other House members missed some votes on Tuesday.
The numbers of those not voting went like this: 83, 85, 75, 78, 74, 75 and then 99 members missed the final vote of Tuesday. Of all those missing members, the 63 listed above missed every vote.
I could say something snide at this point like “Your tax dollars at work,” but I’ll let you do that at home.