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Scott DesJarlais Is House’s Quietest Member

Tennessee Republican spoke only once on House floor during 114th Congress

Tennessee Rep. Scott DesJarlais said he does his talking in committee meetings. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Tennessee Rep. Scott DesJarlais said he does his talking in committee meetings. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Mum’s the word for Rep. Scott DesJarlais, at least on the House floor. 

The Tennessee Republican, who represents the Volunteer State’s 4th District, only spoke from the House floor on one day during the 114th Congress, according to C-SPAN, earning him the title of quietest congressman. 

Desjarlais told USA Today he’s not camera shy. He just prefers to save his comments for more engaging forums like committee meetings, which are not included in C-SPAN’s comprehensive tally of floor speeches. 

“When you speak on the floor, it’s usually to an empty House, so I don’t think it’s the best forum to reach out,” Desjarlais said. “You can go on Fox News or CNN and do some media that way.”

Neither of the two congressmen who ranked lower than Desjarlais on C-SPAN’s list served their entire two-year term.

Kentucky GOP Rep. James R. Comer was sworn in three weeks prior to the end of the session, and three-term Republican Rep. Alan Nunnelee of Mississippi died in January 2015.

The one time Desjarlais did decide to speak, he gave a one-minute speech on his hometown of South Pittsburg, Tennessee’s annual National Cornbread Festival, according to USA Today. 

On the other side of the spectrum, Rep. Glenn Thompson spoke from the floor on 209 different days, making the Pennsylvania Republican the House’s most talkative member. 

Thompson beat out runner-up Texas Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee by an impressive 45 days to take the crown.

In the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell edged out his Democratic counterpart Minority Leader Harry Reid for first place, while the two Idaho Republicans, Sens. Jim Risch and Michael D. Crapo, spoke the least.

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