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Dems Shout 'Shame' after LGBT Amendment Fails, But Fail to Turnout Votes to Pass It

by David Yee, published

Amendment 30 to H.R. 4974 was defeated by one vote Thursday night, a measure that would have increased protections to LBGT workers of companies who contract with the government.

Democrats chanted 'Shame!' as the Republican leadership stalled the proceedings to persuade a few of the defectors to switch their votes, with the final outcome being 212-213-8.

8 House members did not vote, 3 Republicans and 5 Democrats.

Sometimes missing votes is inevitable; the lifetime average of missed votes in the House is 2.3 percent of votes. But when a representative's numbers get too far out of line, they become just another part of the wholesale problem in Washington.

Who Is Missing Votes?

Rep. Eric Swalwell, Representative from California’s 15th District

Now missing 34.4 percent of the votes in April and May of 2016, Swalwell used to be a shining example of getting to Congress to vote.

What's changed?

Apparently, Swalwell had a significant family health emergency which forced him to return to California. This is completely understandable, life just happens whether we are ready for it or not.

And it's even more understandable from a Representative with such a solid track history of being there for votes.

Rep. Mark Takai, Representative from Hawaii’s 1st District

With a lifetime missed roll call vote percentage of 19.2 percent and missing 53.3 percent of votes in April and May 2016, Takai's constituents seriously need to find someone who can show up for work.

This is truly sad, as Takai's politics make him one of the most moderate Democrats in the chamber. He should be someone that could be relied on to be a consensus builder, not a work-avoider.

Rep. Chaka Fattah, Representative from Pennsylvania’s 2nd District

With a lifetime missed roll call vote percentage of 7.8 percent since 1995, Fattah has definitely missed his fair share of votes in Congress.

But missing 85 out of the last 90 votes in April and May of 2016 -- 94.4 percent -- he's definitely winning hands-down the contest of who 'isn't' voting in Congress this month.

Rep. Rubén Hinojosa, Representative from Texas’s 15th District

In the 21 years Hinojosa has been in the House, he's missed 10.9 percent of the total roll call votes. Like the others, he's missed a lot of votes this April and May, 44.4 percent of them.

Rep. Eddie Johnson, Representative from Texas’s 30th District

As one of the highest ranking leadership members in this wall of shame, Johnson does a pretty good job of getting to roll call votes (4.9 percent), especially with her committee work. But even at that, she's missed 23 of the 90 votes this April and May, 25.6 percent of the vote.

Cronyism reeks, but not showing up for work is unforgivable

Each of these House members might have had a perfectly legitimate excuse for missing Thursday's vote.

And party cronyism, brow-beating the party's members into switching votes epitomizes independent's hatred about the current system.

But not showing up for work -- and having a long track history of it -- that's simply unforgivable.

Our representatives and senators are there to legislate, not fundraise, rub shoulders with lobbyists, plan for the next election, or even rallying with constituents. They are paid to be in Washington, D.C., and to do the business of the nation, and then go home to worry about the next election.

When our legislators can't even make it to work, why should we bother to place our faith in them?

So while the Democrats called 'Shame!' to the party-line bullying, both sides need to get their houses in order and get their members to the chamber to vote -- and then we can worry about shaming the other side for bullying away votes.

***Updated 5/23/2016 to reflect new information about Rep. Swalwell ******

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