Good excuse for missing VA vote? Brain surgery

Short of recovering from brain surgery, most House members were not willing to miss a vote Tuesday on a bill to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The House even re-voted on the proposal a second time because a handful of lawmakers, including VA Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), missed an initial vote on the bill to expand veterans' access to private healthcare.

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"I missed the first vote. I was in my office and missed the first vote," Miller said, highlighting the importance of being on the record in support of the bill.

Nonetheless, five lawmakers didn't record a vote on the bill that eventually passed 426-0. They are: Reps. Ralph Hall (R-Texas), Gary Miller (R-Calif.), Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss.) and Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-Calif.).

Nunnelee is currently recovering after undergoing brain surgery Monday.

It is primary day in Wilson's state of South Carolina. He sent out a tweet earlier in the day encouraging people to vote for him.

Hall, Miller and McLeod are not running for reelection in the fall. Hall lost his primary runoff last month in Texas.

In the face of findings from the VA inspector general of long wait times for veterans' care and falsified reporting at facilities around the country, lawmakers have made reforms to the system a priority.

The House bill would allow veterans facing delayed care and those living far from a VA facility to get care from private providers, among other changes.

Nunnelee's office has said he is recovering from the 12-hour surgery at a Houston hospital. Hall co-sponsored the legislation, but his office said he missed the vote in order to attend his granddaughter's graduation.

Other offices did not respond to a request for comment.