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Friday, Jul 15, 2011 - Last Blog on Earth | News

Health issues have made Bilbray San Diego's most absent Representative

Hunter is least absent in ranking of missed floor votes.

By Dave Maass

Rep. Brian Bilbray is San Diego's most absent member of Congress since January 2010, according to missed-vote data compiled by the open-government website govtrack.us

The Republican congress member, who represents California's 50th district, missed 109 of 1,157 floor votes, roughly 9.4 percent, over the last six quarters. Some of the missed votes are due to his mother's death in May 2010, followed by personal health issues related to skin cancer. 

"It has been a difficult year for the Bilbray family," Bilbray spokesperson Travis Considine tells CityBeat via email. "They've been dealing with a lot of personal family issues. Congressman Bilbray had a form of skin cancer surgically removed from his lip earlier in the year. His daughter, Briana Bilbray, has been diagnosed with stage three Melanoma and is currently undergoing chemotherapy. The Bilbrays deal with challenges like many American families, when his family needs him the Congressman is there for them."

Among the more noticeable absences was a procedural vote on the president's budget in December 2010, which was nearly blocked, 207-206. The budget ultimately passed in a 212-206 vote. The same day, Bilbray also missed a vote on the DREAM Act, a bill to provide a path to citizenship for children of undocumented immigrants, which Bilbray opposes. At the time, he was attending the swearing-in ceremony for his son on the Imperial Beach City Council. 

Rep. Bob Filner was the second-most absent member of Congress, missing 4.8 percent, or 70 votes since January 2010. Last quarter, Filner's absences spiked: he missed more than 18 percent of floor votes. It was a period in which the Democrat made numerous appearances in connection with the film Freedom Riders about a group of civil-rights activists to which he belonged. He is also running for mayor. He's missed 4 percent of House floor votes since 1993. 

The most present member of Congress was Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-CA52, who was absent for less than 1 percent of floor votes this cycle and 1 percent since 2009. Rep. Susan Davis, D-CA53, missed 1.6 percent since January 2010 and 1 percent since 2001. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-CA49, missed 2.2 percent since January 2010 and 3 percent since 2001. 

This story has been updated to include information received from Bilbray's office. We've also sent requests to Filner's office and we will post it when received. 

 
 
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