By Brad Haynes - 12/07/06 12:00 AM EST
Four House lawmakers have not registered a vote in the lame-duck session, missing every roll call since the Nov. 7 elections.
Reps. Barbara Cubin (R-Wyo.), Jim Gibbons (R-Nev.), and John Murtha (D-Pa.) avoided the House floor — or Washington altogether — when the lower chamber was in session last month as well as this week. (Roll-call votes through Dec. 5 were available at press time.)
Retiring Rep. Lane Evans (D-Ill.), who has Parkinson’s disease, withdrew from his congressional duties in March. He cast his last vote in February.
Gibbons spokeswoman Melissa Subbotin said, “Currently he’s wearing two hats,” noting that he won his race for governor.
The other governors-elect in the House ranks, though — Reps. Ted Strickland (D-Ohio) and C.L. “Butch” Otter (R-Idaho) — have made it back to Washington for some or all of their floor votes.
Otter’s spokesman Mark Warbis said the closest advisers to the congressman have led his gubernatorial transition while he has made every vote, but certain sacrifices are inevitable. “There have been several speaking engagements and appointments here in Idaho that he has had to put aside to finish up his work in Washington.”
Cubin has made it back to Washington, according to press secretary Alison McGuire, just not to the Capitol. “Right after the election, she was laid up with the flu and now it’s a recurring back problem,” McGuire explained. “She’s in D.C., but laid up at her apartment.”
While seeking support for his majority leader race against Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) in the week after the election, Murtha failed to vote on pending business on the floor. Hoyer has not missed a vote since the elections.
Murtha’s office did not comment for this article.
David Williams, vice president of Citizens Against Government Waste, expressed dismay at lawmakers who have not cast a floor vote in the lame-duck session.
“They’re being paid until the end of their term and they should be working for that money,” he said. “It’s absolutely pathetic. This is their job: to cast votes.”
Subbotin made clear that Rep. Gibbons could best serve his constituents in his capacity as governor-elect, given the pressing concerns in his home state — the nurses union on strike in Las Vegas, for example.
“It’s not like we have completely rolled up the carpet and closed up shop,” Subbotin added. “He’s on the phone regularly and still very much in touch with people in D.C. He is still a congressman until his inauguration; he just can’t make it back to D.C.”
Every senator has registered votes during the lame-duck session.