Personal Explanations

When Members of Congress Miss Votes, and Why

Members of the House of Representatives don't miss a lot of votes, but when they do, it’s the custom of the House that they explain their absences in the Congressional Record. Lawmakers sometimes use these “Personal Explanations” to say how they would have voted and why. Use this database to find out how often Representatives miss votes and how they explain themselves. Related Story »

This database was last updated in November 2015 and should only be used as a historical snapshot.

Last updated on Oct. 31, 2015

Notable Explanations

Delaying individual health insurance mandate

Mr. Speaker, on Wednesday, March 5, 2014 I was inadvertently detained on rollcall vote 97. Had I been present to vote I would have voted 'yes.'

Approving $50.7 billion in Superstorm Sandy aid

Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday, January 15, 2013, I was absent during rollcall vote No. 23 due to a death in my family. Had I been present, I would have voted 'yea' on Final Passage of H.R. 152--Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013.

Holding Eric Holder in Contempt of Congress

Mr. Speaker, on rollcall Nos. 441, 442 I would not participate in what I strongly believe was an abuse of power by the majority who, for illegitimate reasons, chose to hold the Attorney General, Eric Holder, in contempt of Congress. I was against the rollcall votes. Had I been present, I would have voted 'nay.'

Denying Lawmakers Cost of Living Increase

Madam Speaker, I rise to make a correction on the vote on passage of H.R. 5146, providing that Members of Congress shall not receive a cost of living adjustment in pay during fiscal year Madam Speaker, I would like to state for the Record that I support the denial of a cost of living adjustment for Members. The correct vote for rollcall No. 226 would have been 'aye' instead of 'nay,' providing that Members of Congress shall not receive a cost of living adjustment in pay during fiscal year 2011. Again, I want to state that Congresswoman Jackson Lee opposes the cost of living adjustment for Members of Congress as stated appropriately in H.R. 5146.

Voted Twice on One Bill

Madam Speaker, yesterday I accidentally electronically voted 'yea' twice for rollcall 170. Consequently, the subsequent vote (rollcall 171) indicated that I was 'Not Voting'. Madam Speaker, it was my intention to vote 'yea' on the last recorded vote on March 22, It is of vital importance we care for our disabled veterans who have personally sacrificed to protect our liberties. I fully support The Veterans Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act.

Did Not Attempt to Vote

Madam Speaker, on rollcall 689 and 690, I would have voted Aye, but family responsibilities kept me from the Chamber. I believe enactment of this legislation would have helped the people of Tennessee. Due to a miscommunication on which vote was pending, my staff released inaccurate information to the press that I was in the Chamber and attempted to vote. I regret the confusion and want the Record to reflect my support for both measures.

Had Second Thoughts About Censuring Rangel

Madam Speaker, yesterday the House voted on a motion to censure the gentleman from New York, Mr. Rangel. Members had no advance notice of the vote, and I did not familiarize myself with the substance of the motion as much as I would have liked. If the vote were taken again, I would vote present rather than 'aye.'

Blocked by Foreign Dignitary

Madam Speaker, on Thursday, May 3, I was unable to vote on Roll # 300 because the Capitol Hill police would not let my vehicle enter the grounds due to a security 'event' regarding the escort of a foreign dignitary. Had I been available to enter I would have voted 'No.'