Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) has missed nearly 92 percent of House votes this year while campaigning for president.
bid for the White House has lost steam in recent weeks, but he has
given little indication he will drop out of the race. The congressman
has announced he will not seek a 10th term.
The libertarian lawmaker has called for slashing congressional pay and
perks. If elected commander in chief, Paul — who now makes $174,000 a
year — has pledged to take a salary of $39,336, “approximately equal to
the median income of the American worker,” according to his campaign
website.It is not uncommon for Republican and Democratic
members running for the White House to miss congressional votes. For
example, then-Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.)
were rarely seen on Capitol Hill during their 2008 presidential primary
clash.Since then, his absenteeism rate has soared. In 2012, Paul has missed 136 votes while casting only 15.
to GovTrack.us, Paul has missed 91.8 percent of roll call votes for the
first quarter of 2012, the highest in his career. He went long
stretches this year without setting foot on the House floor and then
would show up to vote on a high-profile bill before jetting off again.During
the longest of these stretches, from Jan. 19 to Feb. 27, he was absent
for 69 votes in a row. Paul last voted on March 29 on two amendments to
Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget. He missed the final vote on passage,
however.“In general, legislators try to keep their participation
rates exceedingly high, since no one wants a challenger running an ad
against him/her for missing votes,” said Sarah Binder, professor of
political science at George Washington University and a senior fellow at
the Brookings Institution. “But Rep. Paul’s running for president and
he’s giving up his House seat, so I doubt he’s worried about being
attacked for failing to show up for work in the House.”In 2008, Paul had to fend off a primary challenger who accused the lawmaker of not focusing on his Texas district.
76, has attracted a large following and amassed large campaign war
chests for his 2008 and 2012 White House bids. But he has failed to
capture a state in his two most recent campaigns for the presidency.Binder
said, “I don’t see the inconsistency between advocating limited
government and failing to participate in every roll call vote. This is
just a reality of our political system and the way that it fosters
political ambition. It’s common for politicians to run progressively for
higher and higher offices, and it’s tough to hold one office and run
for another at the same time.”Paul has not been campaigning as much as he was earlier this year. On March 20, he appeared on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.”
Paul’s office did not comment for this article.
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