Seven members of Congress missed work one day last week for a variety of largely legitimate reasons — graduations, funerals, the recent birth of a baby. They also missed what has been reported as a modern-day record of 53 roll call votes.
Voting continued for eight hours as Republicans repeatedly called for extra tallies on amendments to one of the appropriations bills. The reason — protesting Democrat leaders’ move to limit such amendments.
The absences didn’t really affect the outcomes of the votes. The day was important, however, as voting records of the missing seven (six Democrats and one Republican, none from Indiana) took a considerable hit. Opponents often cite vote attendance (or a lack of the same) during election campaigns.
Ellen Tauscher of California saw her vote record drop from 100% to 87% after attending the funeral of a close friend that day. Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island, who announced earlier this month that he was checking himself into a treatment facility, dropped from 82% to 71%.
Miss a day (or more) and miss a lot.