Slaughter’s Absenteeism

Lucy at Mustard Street caught the New York Times erasing this line about Slaughter’s voting record:

[she]¬†had one of the worst attendance records in the House last year […]

Slaughter’s attendance record was poor last year because of family issues, and she’s missed more votes this year. As Lucy notes, the Buffalo News reported on this last year, and Slaughter’s attendance was the worst of the Western New York delegation.

I’m sure Brooks can turn this into a campaign issue, but the real traction on this issue is if someone can prove that Slaughter missed a vote where it would have mattered. ¬†Unfortunately, most of the votes that Congress takes are meaningless. There are a lot of Post Office names that are decided every session, and those filler votes are used to take up floor time while the leadership decides what’s going to hit the floor. When bills do hit the floor, most of what happens is on pretty strict party line votes. So I don’t think Brooks will be able to point to a specific missed vote.

When you vote for a Representative, you’re essentially voting for the policies of their party and for the power they hold. The power Slaughter holds is based on her seniority and committee membership. The Rules committee is generally considered the second most powerful committee in the House, and she’s the ranking member, which means that if Democrats take back Congress, she’ll lead it. If you don’t agree with Democrats on issues, you’re voting for Slaughter because of her power, and her attendance record doesn’t matter, since she’ll bring home the bacon whether or not she’s voting regularly. ¬†If you don’t agree with Democrats and you don’t care about power, then you’re voting for Maggie Brooks, who will almost certainly have perfect attendance. After all, that’s what Freshmen do, since they lack the power to do anything else on Capitol Hill but stick their card in voting slot.