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Government watchdog group: Rep. Collins absent from 5.6% of votes in 2017

Posted at 6:18 PM, Dec 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-29 11:14:28-05

Thursday and Friday January 4 and 5, 2017, Thursday, March 16, 2017, Friday, July 28th, 2017: all dates that Congressman Chris Collins did not cast a vote on legislation before the U.S. House of Representatives. 

In fact, according to Propublica, a nonprofit government watchdog group, Collins missed a total of 40 or 5.6% of votes in 2017. That ranks him the 64th worst out of 433 members, and third worst among the 27 New York delegates. Congresswoman Louise Slaughter and Congressman Gregory Meeks ranked one and two respectively. Finally, Collins was the 29th most absent representative among House sophomores. 

When reached by phone, Collins still wanted to verify the absences with the Clerk’s Office. But, he was aware of some of the absences and offered some insight. One was being named to President Trump's executive committee of his transition team.

“Working with the President and his Administration moving into his tenure that was important to me. It's something I'd do again and I think it's important to my constituents that I remain close with the President,” Collins said.

Then, in March, Collins took part in a nationally televised town hall on CNN. And finally, in July he said he was traveling with the President to an event on Long Island. “They always say if the President asks you to do something, you do it.”

Further, he said the missed votes were procedural in nature and nothing significant. 

Representative Brian Higgins ranked eighth out of 27--missing 27 votes. Rep. Tom Reed ranked 16th--missing 11 votes.

As for Collins, he has only missed 96 votes out of more than 3,200 since he was elected in 2013. It’s a record he stands by.

“With 1,000 votes, we'll miss a handful of votes for one reason or another,” he concluded. 

Collins is up for re-election in 2018. So far, one republican, Larry Pieza, plans to challenge Collins in a Primary Election, and six democrats plan to run against him, too. Most recently, Grand Island Supervisor, Nathan McMurray added his name to the list.