Grijalva Unapologetic Over Missed Votes

GAI Senior Fellow Susan Lagon, Ph.D. spoke with AZ Central about why Members of Congress — such as Rep. Raúl Grijalva — miss floor votes and what that means. Read the full article, or the following excerpt:

Floor votes are one of the most visible jobs for a member of Congress, said Susan Sullivan Lagon, a senior fellow at the Government Affairs Institute at Georgetown University, which trains federal employees on how Congress operates.

“Their responsibility is to vote,” she said.

But it’s not their only job, Lagon said. Members of Congress meet with constituents, in Washington and their home states, introduce and co-sponsor legislation and participate in committee meetings.

Grijalva, for instance, co-sponsored more bills than any member of the House and is active on the Natural Resources Committee.

It’s the work in committee meetings that often has a greater impact, Lagon said. That’s where members of Congress conduct oversight hearings to hold federal agencies accountable, as well as debate and shape legislation that will reach the floor.

“I don’t want to condone not being there for a lot of (floor) votes, but I think it is a little bit misleading to think that’s the only measure that a member from a state delegation is doing their bit,” Lagon said. “It’s really in committee where the bulk of the work gets done.”

Susan Sullivan Lagon is a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Government Affairs Institute

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