Between fishing trips, star-studded events and good old-fashioned schmoozing to up the odds of reelection, it can be tough for members of Congress to, you know, actually show up to vote on potential laws.
So far this year, nearly 20 percent of current House members have missed more than 10 percent of the 814 votes held, according to a new analysis by the New York Times.
Rep. Don Young claimed the dubious honor of missing the most House votes – 16 percent of all votes in the 112th Congress – when excluding lawmakers citing serious personal illness or running for President. Instead, Young, who is the second-longest-serving Republican in the House, blames his poor attendance on the distance between his home state of Alaska and the nation’s capital.
Lawmakers are not required to disclose reasons for absenteeism, but often choose to do so since voting is viewed as a tangible way of representing constituents’ interests. The majority of those who missed the most votes cited personal illness or illness of a family member as their reason for absence.
Other memorable excuses include attending a reception for Prince William and his new wife (California Republican John Campbell), and flight delays that meant "the airplane would have had to violate the laws of physics in order to abide by the airline schedule" (West Virginia Democrat Nick Rahall II).
Still, the news isn’t all bleak. Fifteen current House members, including 11 Republicans and four Democrats, have not missed a single vote this year. Michigan wins the award for best attendance, since four of the 15 members with perfect attendance hail from the Wolverine State.