Government & Politics

Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas near top of the class for missing votes

Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran missed 67 out of 657 roll call votes in 2013 and 2014, putting him in the top 10 of senators for missed votes for those years.
Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran missed 67 out of 657 roll call votes in 2013 and 2014, putting him in the top 10 of senators for missed votes for those years. MCT

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas skipped more than 10 percent of Senate votes in the last session of Congress, records show, putting him in the top 10 of all senators for missed votes over the past two years.

Records compiled by govtrack.us show the Republican missed 67 out of 657 roll call votes in 2013 and 2014. Ninety-two senators had better voting records in that two-year period than Moran.

Since taking office in 2011, Moran has missed more than 8 percent of all votes — more than any current senator except for Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, also a Republican.

The career comparison was first made by vocativ.com, a news website.

“Sen. Moran returns home to his family and constituents in Kansas nearly every weekend,” Moran’s office said in an email. “Sen. Moran best serves our state’s interests in Washington through direct and consistent communication with Kansans and his travel schedule occasionally conflicts with votes.”

Voting records are not a complete indicator of a senator’s workload or work habits. Senators have constituent responsibilities, committee hearings and other obligations.

In late 2012, Moran was selected to chair the National Republican Senatorial Committee, a group charged with electing Republicans to the Senate.

And some votes mean less than others. Some votes are taken on procedural matters, or on bills where the outcome is well understood by both parties in advance. Missing such votes is considered less important than absences for closer tallies.

But some constituents consider ballot-casting an important facet of a senator’s job. In mid-February, Moran was one of only two senators who failed to vote on the nomination of Ashton Carter as Defense secretary, or on a bill designed to improve restitution for victims of child pornography. He missed both votes because of a need for minor surgery.

The other nonvoting senator was Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, a Democrat who is battling injuries.

Voting records are also a staple of campaign advertising. Moran’s record is likely to be an issue in 2016, when he seeks re-election.

Records show the area’s other three senators — Sens. Roy Blunt, Claire McCaskill and Pat Roberts — were in the top half of senators missing the most votes in the 113th Congress.

Roberts missed 6.1 percent of votes, double his career average and 20th on the list. Roberts was a candidate for re-election in 2014, accounting for some of the absences.

Blunt missed 5.9 percent of votes, slightly above his average of 4.2 percent since taking office. He finished 21st on the list of missed votes in 2013 and 2014.

“Sen. Blunt enjoys being home visiting with Missourians as much as possible,” his spokeswoman said in an email. “Unfortunately, missing occasional votes in D.C. is part of the reality he faces in striking that balance.”

McCaskill missed 37 of 657 votes, a 5.6 percent rate and tied for 23rd out of 100 senators. She’s missed 3.4 percent of votes during her Senate career.

Her office said some of the missed votes in the most recent Congress can be attributed to a family illness.

To reach Dave Helling, call 816-234-4656 or send email to dhelling@kcstar.com.

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