According to an analysis of House attendance, nearly 20 current members have missed more than 10 percent of the votes this year. ...
While a 10 percent rate of absenteeism might not seem all that significant, the vast majority of lawmakers try to miss as few votes as possible, with the view that their constituents consider voting a basic function of serving in Congress. [Emphasis added]
If one assumes that an employment year consists of fifty weeks of at least four days of work, that means there are two hundred work days. Not too many of us have twenty sick/personal leave days as part of our employment deal. Additionally, the congressional employment year has far fewer work weeks, what with summer and holiday breaks, and the work week rarely goes beyond three days. Given the reduced requirement, it isn't asking too much of our congress critters to show up to fulfill the terms of their employment contract with the electorate.
There are, of course, very legitimate excuses for being absent, among them personal illness or family illness. It's pretty hard to fault Rep. Gabrielle Giffords for missing all but one vote this year as she recovers from a gunshot wound to the head. But some of the excuses offered are ludicrous and range from going home to participate in a charity fishing contest to meeting with constituents, the ones who sent the representative to Washington to handle the business of the country. My favorite excuse is that some votes are just not important. Why then are they being held?
It seems to me that if the rest of us can drag our sorry backsides out of the rack day after day to make a living, so can the people we're paying six figures to represent us in Washington.
Labels: 112th Congress