Last summer, Congresspedia blogged about the comparatively low number of days the Republican-led 109th Congress was spending in legislative session. While the 110th Congress has had a much busier calendar so far, certain individual members of both the House and Senate have missed a substantial number of floor votes.
While bloggers and members of the news media have noted the absenteeism of some of Capitol Hill’s more high-profile members, this has not been particularly helpful to most citizens hoping to check up on their hometown reps. Now, thanks to a handy database on the Washington Post’s website, this process has become much easier. The Post provides a rundown of each House and Senate member and the respective number and percentage of votes he or she has missed during the current session. And for those citizens hoping to do some serious investigating, the database also includes archived attendance records for each member in each Congress dating back to 1991! The database is updated frequently, and is freely accessible.
A quick scan of the Senate database today, for instance, reveals that several of the most frequently absent senators are pursuing the presidency in 2008. Among the candidates, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) leads the pack with 22 missed votes (42.3% of those held), while Sens. Joe Biden (D-Del.) and Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) each have also missed over 15% of Senate votes this session. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who missed this past Saturday’s (Feb. 17) cloture vote on a resolution opposing the Iraq troop “surge” to campaign in Iowa, has missed 5 votes (9.6%). Not all presidential candidates, however, have been compromising their legislative duties while pursuing higher office. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) has missed just 2 votes, while her opponent for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), is among forty senators (27 Democrats, 12 Republicans, and 1 Independent) to have recorded perfect attendance so far this session.
Be sure to check out this neat tool, and if you like, go onto Congresspedia’s profile page of your member (which you can search for by name or state), and add information regarding his or her attendance record.