Moonlight Foundation Report: Which Lawmakers Failed to Vote in Congress
If you are elected to federal office, your number one responsibility is be the voice of your constituents by voting in Washington. A review of voting data from the 926 House and 880 Senate votes in the 117th Congress shows lawmakers did not conduct this basic duty.
Moonlight Foundation created a database of votes from the 117th Congress to better understand who missed votes and how frequently. For the first time, voters can learn about how many votes their elected officials missed.
Overall, the Moonlight Foundation investigation found that the numbers of missed votes in the 117th Congress (2021-2022) was lower than previous years. This COVID-19 rules that allowed House lawmakers to choose a colleague that could vote on their behalf, or by proxy, which had an impact on the number. In total, the 435 house lawmakers missed 7,502 missed votes out 402,810 potential votes taken, which accounts for 1.8% of votes missed. In the Senate the missed votes were higher. There were 3,419 missed votes out of 88,000 potential votes, which accounts for 3.8% of votes being missed.
While there are a number of reason why a member might legitimately miss a vote, whether it be a scheduling conflict, a sick day, or another perfectly valid reason, routinely missing votes is a disservice to the constituents.
Notable findings can be found below.
Eight of the top ten Senators who missed the most amount of Congressional votes in the 117th Congress were Republicans. Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD) missed the most amount of votes, though his wife was battling a fatal illness in 2021.
Senator Feinstein (D-CA) missed the second most votes in the 117th Congress, totally nearly 113 missed votes, which is about equivalent to missing 1 out of 8 votes. Senator Cramer (R-ND) missed the third most votes.
Senator Bernie Sanders is also in the top ten of Senators who missed the most amount of votes.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) has missed votes than any of his colleagues in the House, making him the most absent member of Congress. Kinzinger didn’t vote 32% of the time during 117th Congress. That increased to a 44% missed vote rate in 2022.
15 of the top 20 house lawmakers who missed the most votes in the 117th Congress were Republicans.
Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC) missed 119 votes, or the fourth largest number of votes in the House of Representatives. 113 of these votes came during the second session, while Rep. Budd was campaigning for U.S. Senate.
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) who is running to be the next governor of New York missed the fifth most votes in Congress. He missed 115 votes and 108 in the second session of congress.
The review also found that retiring members of Congress missed significantly higher numbers of vote than members that are not. For example Kevin Brady (R-TX) missed 192 votes, the second highest and Rep John Yarmuth (D-KY) missed 107 votes, which was the 7th highest in the House. On July 29, 2022, Representative Brady (R-TX) missed a vote on including “certain computer-related projects in the Federal permitting program.” The same day, Rep. Brady was on FOX News.
The missed vote report is based on data available on the house and senate websites. Some missed vote totals are potential higher because some lawmakers may have not wanted to sign a letter asserting affirmatively that they were not able to attend the vote because of a COVID-19 emergency.
117th Congress First Session Senate
117th Congress Second Session Senate
117th Congress First Session House
117th Congress Second Session House