House

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

Stefani Reynolds

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (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 Thompson (R-Pa.) at 959 days, former Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) at 877 and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) at 639.

Rep. Louie Gohmert (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 Trump 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.

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-Cortez (N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) and Rashida Tlaib (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.

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Ayanna Pressley Donald Trump floor speeches Glenn Thompson Ilhan Omar legislative days Louie Gohmert Pro forma Rashida Tlaib Sheila Jackson Lee Steny Hoyer Ted Poe
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