Senate

Sanders, Cruz leading Senate in missed votes in 2016

Getty Images
Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) are leading the Senate in missed votes so far this year as they battle for the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations. 
 
Sanders missed more votes than any other senator during the first quarter of 2016, skipping 37 of the Senate’s 38 roll call votes, according to GovTrack. 
 
{mosads}In his lone roll call vote on Jan. 12, Sanders supported moving forward with Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) legislation to audit the Federal Reserve. 
 
It’s the first time Sanders has led the Senate in missed votes since announcing his presidential bid last year, and he has greatly surpassed previous candidates’ records. 
 
During the same period in 2008, then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) missed more than 36 percent of votes, and Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) missed almost 45 percent, according to GovTrack. 
 
While Sanders takes the Senate’s top spot this quarter, Cruz is in a close second. The Texas Republican has missed 36 of the Senate’s 38 roll call votes so far this year. 
 
His last vote was cast on Feb. 10 to crack down on North Korea after Pyongyang said it tested a hydrogen bomb. 
 
Cruz has repeatedly missed more votes than many of his Senate colleagues since launching his presidential campaign. Only Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) missed more votes in 2015. 
 
The first quarter of 2016, however, is the first time he has missed a larger percent of votes than Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) did during McCain’s presidential campaign.
 
Cruz missed almost 95 percent of the Senate’s roll call votes during the first three months of 2016, while McCain missed almost 59 percent during the same period in 2008. 
 
The presidential election has swung into high gear, with the two senators battling for delegates across the country in each party’s primary elections, fighting against front-runners Donald Trump and Clinton.
 
Many of the votes the two senators missed were either procedural or situations where their votes wouldn’t have changed the outcome. But they’ve also skipped voting on legislation to combat opioid addiction — a major issue that has been in the spotlight during the campaign. 
 
Clinton’s camp took a swing at Sanders earlier this year after he missed the vote on new sanctions against North Korea. 
 
“It is unfortunate that yet again, Sen. Sanders has shown a lack of interest in vital national security issues,” Clinton campaign spokesman Jesse Ferguson said after the vote.
  
Sanders said he was “necessarily absent” during the North Korea vote, but that the increased sanctions were “absolutely essential” to ending North Korea’s nuclear program. 
 
Cruz’s campaign has also defended his ability to balance his job in the Senate with the presidential race. Being on the campaign trail didn’t stop Cruz from temporarily blocking the Senate from confirming State Department nominees, and he also temporarily put a hold on the Senate’s energy reform bill and Flint, Mich., aid package.
 
He’s not the only Republican who has faced questions about his voting record. Rubio, who ended his campaign earlier this year, caught frequent flak for missing votes. 
 
The Florida Republican has defended his record, saying he votes when he believes he can make a difference in the outcome or on important pieces of legislation. Rubio is retiring at the end of his current term.
 
Rubio missed more votes than any other senator in 2015. He also comes in third — behind Sanders and Cruz — for the most votes missed during the first quarter of 2016. 
 
He returned to the Senate earlier this month and voted to hold classified ads site Backpage.com and its chief executive in contempt. 
 
The vote marked Rubio’s fourth roll call vote so far this year.
Tags Barack Obama Bernie Sanders Donald Trump Hillary Clinton John McCain Lindsey Graham Marco Rubio Rand Paul Ted Cruz
See all Hill.TV See all Video