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Politico: 'No-Show' Ted Cruz Near Bottom in Senate Attendance

By    |   Tuesday, 21 April 2015 10:10 PM

Sen. Ted Cruz is standing out in Congress not just for his fiery rhetoric but his frequent absence from the hearings and votes that make up the basic work of the Senate when it's in session, Politico reports.

"The Texas Republican seriously lags most of his colleagues in attending hearings and casting votes in what has been a Senate career long on rhetoric and short on Senate business," writes Austin Wright of Politico, dubbing the Washington newcomer and 2016 GOP presidential candidate "the no-show senator."

By Politico's tally, Cruz in his 2 1/2 years on the Hill has skipped the "vast majority" of hearings on the Armed Services Committee and is "below-average in attendance" on two other major committees where he serves.

In the first three months of 2015, he has missed 21 of 135 roll call votes on the Senate floor, ranking 97th out of 100 in attendance, ahead of only Sen. Marco Rubio, who is also running for president, and Sen. Harry Reid, who was recovering from an eye injury, Politico reports.

Cruz has touted his distance from the Washington establishment as a political plus to supporters. But according to Politico, "Attendance could be an issue on the 2016 campaign trail, especially for first-term senators like Cruz and Rubio who are seeking to stave off the perception that they’ve used the Senate as a springboard in their quests for the White House."

Colleagues have taken notice.

"I would imagine that that's an item of consideration for the voters," Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican and Armed Services chairman, told Politico.

Cruz himself has said that planning a presidential campaign is one reason for his absences.

"When you're putting together a campaign for president, like I've been, that entails a lot of time," he told radio host Dana Loesch in March, The Huffington Post reports. "It's not like I've been at the beach sipping a piña colada."

But Politico reports that Cruz's "attendance problems" trace back to not long after his arrival in 2013, "when he skipped congressional hearings on immigration, the war in Afghanistan and across-the-board spending cuts."

Cruz attended 17 of 50 public Armed Services Committee hearings for which there are transcripts in his first two years, the second-worst attendance record on the 26-member panel, Politico reports.

"He skipped more hearings than former Sens. Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mark Udall of Colorado, who lost re-election bids last year after being criticized for their poor attendance records," according to Politico.

A Cruz spokesperson told Politico that he has missed some hearings due to overseas travel on Senate business and flight delays, and that Texans know their junior senator is there for them.

"Sen. Cruz remains incredibly active on the issues important to the 27 million Texans he represents and takes care to make sure his constituents know where he stands on these matters," Cruz's communications director, Amanda Carpenter, wrote in a statement.

"In a short time, Sen. Cruz has become a leading voice in our debates about commerce, constitutional rights and national security and will continue advocating ways to make Americans more prosperous and free."

Sen. Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican who is also considering a presidential run, said that he, too, misses hearings and votes and tries to limit the absence to "procedural" business.

"But I try to stay on top of my day job the best I can, so I’m not going to criticize Ted," Graham told Politico.

President Barack Obama, as a senator in 2007, missed 19 of 37 hearings held by the Veterans’ Affairs Committee during the 109th Congress, Politico reports, citing a Daily Kos investigation.

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Sen. Ted Cruz is standing out in Congress not just for his fiery rhetoric but his frequent absence from the hearings and votes that make up the basic work of the Senate when it's in session, Politico reports.
ted cruz, senate, attendance, republicans, president, 2016
Tuesday, 21 April 2015 10:10 PM
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