Senate

Rubio, Graham, Cruz lead Senate in missed votes

As the 2016 presidential election heats up, Republican hopefuls are racking up absences in the Senate. 

Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Ted Cruz (Texas) missed more roll call votes during 2015 than any other senators, according to data released this week from C-SPAN. 
 
{mosads}Rubio has the worst attendance record, missing 35 percent, or 120 of the 339 roll votes, during the past year, according to GovTrack. 
 
Meanwhile, Graham, who suspended his campaign earlier this month, missed 28 percent of roll call votes during 2015, and Cruz missed 24 percent. 
 
While many of the absences were on procedural votes, the three senators also missed votes on nominations or major legislation. 
 
For example, Cruz drew widespread criticism earlier this year over missing the final vote to confirm Loretta Lynch as attorney general; Rubio most recently missed votes on the end-of-the-year government spending bill
 
Rubio’s attempt to run for president while also keeping up his Senate duties has received constant criticism, coming under the media spotlight as early as January when he missed a vote on the Keystone XL pipeline to fundraise in California.
 
His Senate voting record is also drawing increased scrutiny from his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination. 
 
In a TV ad this week, a super-PAC supporting former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s White House bid highlighted Rubio’s absence from a classified briefing after the November terrorist attacks in Paris. 
 
Meanwhile, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) suggested earlier this month that Rubio should resign after missing the vote on the year-end spending and tax package.
 
Paul, who is also running for the presidential nomination, missed 6 percent of Senate roll call votes this year. 
 
The campaigns have repeatedly defended their candidates’ voting records, suggesting that the senators focus on votes where they can make an impact.
 
Comparatively, Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, missed 23 percent of the Senate’s roll call votes during the same point in the 2008 presidential election, according to GovTrack. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who won the Republican nomination, missed 56 percent. 
 
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a Democratic presidential candidate, missed 8 percent of the Senate’s roll call votes in 2015. 
 
With senators missing about 1 percent of votes on average, Sanders’s absences put him in the Senate’s top 10 for missed votes in 2015, according to C-SPAN.
 
But it isn’t just 2016 presidential contenders who are leading the Senate in absences. According to data from the cable network, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) and Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) place fourth and fifth, respectively, for senators who missed the most votes in 2015. 
 
Vitter, who has announced he won’t run for reelection, spent most of the year making a failed bid for governor in Louisiana. Reid was absent from the Senate for weeks earlier this year after suffering an eye injury. 
  
On average, senators missed approximately 50 of the 339 votes, according to GovTrack.
Tags Bernie Sanders David Vitter Harry Reid Hillary Clinton John McCain Lindsey Graham Marco Rubio Rand Paul Ted Cruz
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