Newly elected Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) apologized Tuesday for missing two key votes over the weekend while attending a Christmas party.
Manchin previously explained that the gathering would be one of his only opportunities to see his family during the holiday season, but admitted that he made a mistake after catching flak from allies.
Manchin missed votes on the repeal of the military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy and the DREAM Act, a controversial immigration bill.
Even though the former governor had broken with his party on both issues, one of his chief allies slammed him for missing the roll call votes.
The senator's absence "isn't just a bad political maneuver, it is ineffective representation and leadership," West Virginia AFL-CIO chief Kenny Perdue said in a statement.
During the conference call, Manchin explained that the holiday was very important to his family and that he told Senate leaders he would miss the votes.
"I was up front when I knew I would not be here on Saturday. I put that in the Congressional Record because I didn't want anybody to think that I wouldn't make a vote or had intentionally missed a vote because it was a controversial issue,” he said. “I think that anybody who knows me, making decisions has not been hard for me."
Manchin said that he would not miss a vote under such circumstances again.
"In the future, I will make any adjustments and all adjustments that need to be made so that it doesn't happen again,” he said.