published Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Chuck Fleischmann among congressmen with perfect attendance records


by Chris Carroll

U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann is perfect.

Through Monday, the Republican freshman from Tennessee had not missed a single one of this year's 814 House votes, according to a New York Times analysis.

Fourteen other members, none from Tennessee, hold the same distinction. There are 435 House members.

Fleischmann has worked "I've never missed a vote" into plenty of public speeches, displaying a never-absent student's pride to a variety of audiences.

"There have been times where I have gone to the floor ill and voted," he said in a phone interview Tuesday. "And I've gone at all hours of the night. I just want to be the most conscientious congressman I can."

Bruce Oppenheimer, a Vanderbilt University political science professor, said high participation rates from congressmen have become the norm, lessening their impact on the campaign trail.

"What matters is the members who've started missing a lot of votes," he said.

Eleven Republicans and four Democrats compose the perfect 15.

Twelve Democrats and six Republicans, on the other hand, have missed more than 10 percent of votes, mostly because of illness or injury, the Times reported.

Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and Ron Paul, R-Texas, have missed 26 percent and 21 percent, respectively. Both are running for president.

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