10 percent of House members skip Monday votes

Normally, votes on suspension bills held early in the week tend to have somewhere around 20 or 30 members missing, but it's rare to see that number climb to 40 or anything close to 50.

Most of the missing members were Democrats. In the first vote, 16 Republicans and 26 Democrats were missing, while 20 Republicans and 25 Democrats skipped the second vote.

A list of non-voting members can be seen here — tonight's votes were the 375th and 376th vote of the session.

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The two bills were brought up under a suspension of House rules, a process normally reserved for non-controversial legislation. Bills brought up this way get less debate, and need a two-thirds majority to pass, which is easy when they are not controversial.

The first bill was H.R. 1542, the WMD Intelligence and Information Sharing Act, which passed 388-3.

The bill from Rep. Pat Meehan (R-Pa.) is a response to a 2010 recommendation that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) do a better job disseminating information about WMD threats. Among other things, it would require DHS to more actively distribute information about these threats to state and local governments.

"It's time for Congress to do its part right now, to ensure that the nation is meeting its WMD detection and prevention responsibilities," Meehan said during Monday evening debate.

Meehan cited the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria as an international reason to boost intelligence sharing at DHS, and cited the Boston Marathon bombing as a reason how intelligence sharing could be improved to stave off domestic threats.

"One of the purposes of this bill is to enhance the communication and collaboration between our federal intelligence assets, particularly those at Homeland Security, and our federal, state and local partners," he said.

In the second vote, the House passed H.Con.Res. 44, by a 388-0 margin. This resolution authorizes the use of the Capitol grounds for the Special Olympics law enforcement torch run.