Rep. Young says he missed votes because he was mad at Senate

Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2002

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Rep. Don Young says he missed House votes in December because he got mad at the Senate and left town early.

Young told reporters Wednesday that he left Washington, D.C. on Dec. 6. As a result, he missed 44 votes during the next 13 days before the House adjourned.

In all, Congressional Quarterly reported that Young missed 21 percent of House votes last year, the highest percentage among the 435 members.

''I was tired of the Senate keeping us here for no reason at all,'' Young said. ''So I went, very frankly, home early. If people don't understand that... well, I'm sure they do.''

The Senate was tied up in December with arguments over the economic stimulus package, energy legislation and defense spending.

Theoretically, Congress is supposed to conclude its business annually by Oct. 1, the start of the new fiscal year. However, sessions have routinely extended far beyond that date in recent years. This year, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the October anthrax scare slowed the process even further.

By early December, the House had passed its versions of most major bills. But it took until Dec. 19 for all the disputes with the Senate to be ironed out in a conference committee of House and Senate appropriations committee members.

''I'm just a little bit frustrated when, very frankly, the Senate can keep us in,'' Young said. ''I voted on all those issues and people understand that.''

Congress returned to Washington on Jan. 23. Young hinted Wednesday that the personal value of the extended break was worth whatever votes he missed.

''Everybody had a good Christmas and a good New Year's and everybody's happy,'' he said.

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