Cracking the Whip

Posted July 24, 2012 at 12:01am

Members of Congress might consider unionizing if Reps. John Barrow and Charles Boustany get their way.

In a show of bipartisanship tough love, Barrow, a Georgia Democrat, joined Boustany, a Louisiana Republican, in support of the No Show, No Pay Act.

The bill would dock Members’ pay for each and every vote they miss. It would also require that the Chief Administrative Officer publish a monthly naughty list, which would record the name of every Member who missed a vote.

“[M]illions around the country are looking for work. At the very least, Members of Congress can do the work that they’re paid to do, or do without the pay,” Barrow said in a statement.

For his part, Barrow stands tall about this own voting recording. So far, he wins perfect voting attendance for 2012, as of Monday, voting 496 times out of 496 opportunities during the second session of the 112th Congress. Boustany is also doing pretty well, just four votes shy of perfect.

On the other end of the spectrum, California Rep. Bob Filner (D), who is running for mayor of San Diego, has missed 325 votes since January.

Worth noting is that perfect attendance does not automatically mean perfect re-election. Just ask Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.), who learned this the hard way this year. In April, despite having never missed a vote since being elected in 2006, Altmire lost the primary to his home-state colleague, Rep Mark Critz.

Altmire felt so strongly about it that he was in Washington on primary day to vote for a land-exchange bill that passed easily.