He instead attended a press conference with some of the most conservative members of the House, such as Rep. Ted PoeLloyd (Ted) Theodore PoeFive races to watch in the Texas runoffs Five Republican run-offs to watch in Texas Hillicon Valley: House Dems release Russia-linked Facebook ads | Bill would block feds from mandating encryption 'back doors' | AT&T hired Cohen for advice on Time Warner merger | FCC hands down record robocall fine | White House launches AI panel MORE (R-Texas), where he again urged the administration to lift the moratorium.

The hearing ran from approximately 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

His absence was notable for a couple reasons.

When Melancon resigned from the Budget Committee in March, his office spokeswoman said he wanted "to devote more of his time and efforts to his work on the Energy and Commerce Committee, where he can more directly fight for Louisiana's thousands of workers and businesses in the oil-and-gas industry."

And Vitter's campaign blasted him for not attending Tuesday's session.

"Melancon's constituents must be furious that the person they elected to serve their district won’t even go to bat for them," Luke Bolar, a spokesman for Vitter's campaign, said in a statement.

Meanwhile, a new Public Policy Polling survey out Wednesday showed Melancon trailing Vitter, but only by 9 points.