Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., Illinois Democrat, was re-elected despite a nonexistent campaign but resigned shortly after Election Day as criminal charges loomed. He missed an average of 27 percent of votes monthly, some of that owing to taking a medical leave of absence beginning in June to address mental health issues.
But time in office was also a strong predictor of a diminishing ability to keep up with a demanding job, with the median lawmaker first elected in a particular decade missing more votes than his newer peers.
The 31 lawmakers who have been in office since at least 1975 missed three times more votes on average than the 105 first elected in 2010.
But one veteran lawmaker, even as he plays an important role in crafting legislation in powerful committees, still makes a point to make it to the floor to vote on routine matters, setting an example for younger colleagues.
Rep. Sander Levin, Michigan Democrat, the ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, was born in 1931 and first elected in 1982, missed two of 1,606 votes last Congress.
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Luke Rosiak is a projects reporter on The Washington Times’ investigative team. He formerly covered lobbying and campaign finance for two watchdog groups as well as transportation for The Washington Post. Luke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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