The Austin Chronicle

Texas Senators Skip Stimulus Votes

By Richard Whittaker, February 10, 2009, 9:31am, Newsdesk

Remember that Federal economic stimulus bill that's the most important thing happening on Capitol Hill? Well, not if you're a senator from Texas. First up, Kay Bailey Hutchison missed six major amendment votes on Friday because she was absent. John Cornyn skipped yesterday's cloture vote because (care to take a guess?) he was absent.

So what what was distracting them? Schmoozing.

Hutchison was back in Texas attending the Richardson Chamber of Commerce annual banquet. Texas Democratic Party Chair Boyd Richie savaged her for going AWOL. "She is no better than Governor Perry, who is playing the same kind of politics by threatening to reject funds to help Texans out of this recession," he said.

As for Cornyn, according to, he was in New York for a fundraiser.

[UPDATE: Perry, of course, didn't miss the chance to bash his future opponent in the 2010 gubernatorial election.]

[As the Dallas Morning News reported, he said, "I think it's pretty hard to explain to Texans that you want to come to Texas and do another job when you can't even do the one that we've hired you to do," Perry said. - Lee Nichols]

To be fair, two other senators have been absent from these votes, but they had pretty good excuses.

Ted Kennedy missed Friday's vote, but even the aging and infirm Democrat from Massachusetts made it to the floor for cloture. As for Republican Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, what was his shabby excuse for missing both votes? Oh, yes, he's recused himself from all senate votes after being tapped to join President Obama's cabinet as commerce secretary – joining Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Defense Secretary Robert Gates as the third Republican in a high-ranking position in the administration.

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