Sheila Jackson Lee tops colleagues in House floor speaking days over past decade

Sheila Jackson Lee tops colleagues in House floor speaking days over past decade
© Stefani Reynolds

Rep. Sheila Jackson LeeSheila Jackson LeeTexas House Dems ask governor to issue stay-at-home order Lobbying world House approves bill banning flavored tobacco products MORE (D-Texas) spoke on the House floor more days than any other lawmaker this past decade, according to C-SPAN data released Monday.

Jackson Lee, who has served in Congress since 1995, routinely speaks on the House floor about national issues of the day, including those related to the House Judiciary and Homeland Security committees on which she serves.

C-SPAN data found that Jackson Lee delivered House floor speeches on 1,013 days over the past decade. She was followed by Rep. Glenn ThompsonGlenn (G.T.) W. ThompsonSheila Jackson Lee tops colleagues in House floor speaking days over past decade Koch campaign touts bipartisan group behind ag labor immigration bill Dreamers-for-wall trade going nowhere in House MORE (R-Pa.) at 959 days, former Rep. Ted PoeLloyd (Ted) Theodore PoeSheila Jackson Lee tops colleagues in House floor speaking days over past decade Senate Dem to reintroduce bill with new name after 'My Little Pony' confusion Texas New Members 2019 MORE (R-Texas) at 877 and House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerProcedural politics: What just happened with the coronavirus bill? DC argues it is shortchanged by coronavirus relief bill Lysol, disinfecting wipes and face masks mark coronavirus vote in House MORE (D-Md.) at 639.

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Rep. Louie GohmertLouis (Louie) Buller GohmertTop conservatives pen letter to Trump with concerns on fourth coronavirus relief bill Lysol, disinfecting wipes and face masks mark coronavirus vote in House The Hill's 12:30 Report: What we know about T stimulus deal MORE (R-Texas), who is known for delivering lengthy floor speeches at the end of most congressional workweeks, came in sixth at 612 days.

In one memorable appearance in 2017, Jackson Lee kneeled on the House floor to show solidarity with NFL players who faced attacks from President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump fires intelligence community inspector general who flagged Ukraine whistleblower complaint Trump organization has laid off over 1000 employees due to pandemic: report Trump invokes Defense Production Act to prevent export of surgical masks, gloves MORE for kneeling during the national anthem at games to draw attention to police brutality against African Americans.

"I kneel in honor of them. I kneel in front of the flag and on this floor," Jackson Lee said at the time.

Even though Jackson Lee topped her colleagues for speaking days in the decade, she did not log the most days on the floor this year.

Thompson spoke 121 days to Jackson Lee's 95 days, which added up to at least eight hours of speaking time, according to C-SPAN.

In the previous Congress, from 2017 to 2018, Jackson Lee logged a total of roughly 24 hours in House floor speeches.

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C-SPAN data found that some of the House Democrats who have drawn the most national attention this year did not necessarily speak the most on the House floor.

The four progressive first-term lawmakers known as "the squad" — Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOvernight Health Care: Global coronavirus cases top 1M | Cities across country in danger of becoming new hotspots | Trump to recommend certain Americans wear masks | Record 6.6M file jobless claims Trump blasts Schumer over 'incorrect sound bites' on coronavirus Trump warns against 'partisan investigations' after Pelosi establishes select committee on virus response MORE (N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarTexas man arrested for allegedly threatening Democrats over coronavirus bill Undocumented aliens should stay away as COVID-19 rages in the US The Southern Poverty Law Center and yesterday's wars MORE (Minn.), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyMaryland Legislative Black Caucus pushes for state to release racial breakdown of coronavirus impact Pressley experiencing flu-like symptoms, being tested for COVID-19 The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Airbnb - Senate overcomes hurdles, passes massive coronavirus bill MORE (Mass.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibDemocrats eye additional relief checks for coronavirus 20 House Dems call on Trump to issue two-week, nationwide shelter-in-place order Pressley, Tlaib introduce bill providing .5B in emergency grants for the homeless MORE (Mich.) — spoke about as often as their fellow freshmen.

C-SPAN calculated that the average House freshman spoke on the floor 18.4 days this year.

Of the four "squad" members, Tlaib spoke the most, with 34 days on the floor. Floor speeches by Ocasio-Cortez were relatively rare; she delivered remarks on 10 days.
 
Omar spoke on 16 days, while Pressley spoke on 18 days.

C-SPAN also found that the number of pro forma days in session has increased in the past decade in both chambers of Congress.

In 2011, when House Republicans were in the majority, the House had 20 pro forma days. That number jumped to 59 days this year under the Democratic majority.

The Senate had 20 pro forma days in 2011, when Democrats led the Senate, compared to 39 this year under a GOP majority.

The number of days in session has remained about the same for both chambers over the decade, with the House and Senate clocking in around 170 days each year.