Spokesman: Bunning missed health vote because of 'family commitments'

The only senator to miss Thursday morning's vote on the Senate's $871 billion healthcare overhaul was absent because of "family commitments," according to his spokesman. 

Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) missed Thursday's final vote on healthcare, Wednesday's final cloture vote, as well as several others. 

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“The senator had family commitments,” Bunning spokesman Mike Reynard said in an e-mail to the Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal

The explanation from Bunning's office comes after Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) Thursday morning said Buning left Washington two days ago to be home with his family.  

Bunning's absence deprived Senate Republicans of the unanimous opposition on healthcare reform on the official vote count as they hoped. The 39 Republican senators who were present all voted against cloture on the healthcare bill and all voted no on the final vote.

The Kentucky senator announced ealier this year that he is retiring after the 2010 midterm elections.

All 60 members of the Democratic caucus voted yes on both votes.

The missed vote was one of 21 this month, nearly half of all Senate floor votes according to the Courier Journal.

Reynard did not answer questions about where the senator was nor did he provide an explanation for so missed votes.

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