Kamala Harris, other presidential candidates rack up missed votes in Congress

Not doing their job……….

By Tal Kopan  |  San Francisco Chronicle

Presidential campaigns are grueling, requiring candidates to engage in near-constant travel around the country to shake hands with voters, promote policies and ask for donations. For sitting members of Congress, that means missing some votes.
Sen. Kamala Harris, for example, has already missed nearly one out of every four votes in the Senate this year, including one last week to confirm the new No. 2 political appointee at the Justice Department. Earlier in the week, she barely made it back from a campaign trip to New Hampshire in time to a vote on a controversial Trump administration nominee to the San Francisco-based federal appeals court, Kenneth Lee — a pick she had strongly opposed.
The California Democrat’s votes were not difference makers in either case — the Republican majority in the Senate is able to muster the numbers to confirm any presidential nominees on whom they agree. Harris was also on the campaign trail the day the Senate voted on a pair of disaster relief billswith billions at stake for California wildfire victims in April, both of which failed. Harris’ vote was not a difference maker then, either.
“Whether holding Trump administration officials accountable in hearings, offering major legislation to boost the middle class or raising important issues on behalf of her constituents, Sen. Harris is always focused on serving the people of California,” Chris Harris, a spokesman for the senator, said in a statement. “People back home know what she stands for, and they’re eager to see her fighting for the issues they care about on a national stage.”
Candidates are often forced to choose between valuable time on the trail and their day-to-day responsibilities — the most measurable of which is voting on pieces of legislation. In 2015, for example, Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio missed 35 percent of the chamber’s votes as he unsuccessfully pursued his party’s presidential nomination. Two other candidates, Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina and Ted Cruz of Texas, also missed more than 20 percent of votes.
Missing votes is not exclusive to presidential candidates, but is more noticeable as those officeholders ask voters to trust them with the White House.
Here’s how many of their votes each of the Democratic presidential candidates in Congress had missed as of the beginning of this week, according to a ProPublica tracking project:

Nati Harnik / Associated Press

Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan:
Number of missed votes: 70
Percentage of missed votes: 32.3 percent

John Locher / Associated Press

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker:
Number of missed votes: 37
Percentage of missed votes: 31.9 percent
(Ryan’s and Booker’s campaign and congressional offices did not respond to requests for comment on the Democrats leading the pack in missed votes.)
California Sen. Kamala Harris:
Number of missed votes: 27
Percentage of missed votes: 23.3 percent

Paul Kuroda / Special to The Chronicle

Dublin Rep. Eric Swalwell:
Number of missed votes: 48
Percentage of missed votes: 22.1 percent
Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard:
Number of missed votes: 41
Percentage of missed votes: 18.9 percent

Anthony Souffle / Associated Press

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar:
Number of missed votes: 12
Percentage of missed votes: 10.3 percent
New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand:
Number of missed votes: 10
Percentage of missed votes: 8.6 percent
Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton:
Number of missed votes: 15
Percentage of missed votes: 6.9 percent

Paul Sancya / Associated Press

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.:
Number of missed votes: 8
Percentage of missed votes: 6.9 percent
Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet:
Number of missed votes: 7
Percentage of missed votes: 6 percent

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren:
Number of missed votes: 5
Percentage of missed votes: 4.3 percent
Happening now

Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

Chugging into court: The Trump administration moved to take the steam out of California’s high-speed rail project last week, pulling nearly $1 billion in funding on the grounds that the state had canceled its original plan for a San Francisco-to-Los Angeles bullet train. On Tuesday, California filed lawsuit No. 51 against the Trump administration, arguing it had no grounds for the cutoff. The Chronicle’s Alexei Koseff has the story.
Raid on journalist: San Francisco police now say they will return all property seized from a journalist this month in a raid prompted by an investigation into who leaked a report on the February death of Public Defender Jeff Adachi. But while police are giving freelance videographer Bryan Carmody back his computers, cameras, hard drives and other electronic equipment, it was not immediately not clear what investigators plan to do with any evidence or information they had discovered since the May 10 raid, The Chronicle’s Evan Sernoffsky reports.
California Republicans out to re-flip House seats in 2020

Max Whittaker/Prime / Special to The Chronicle

After last year’s midterm drubbing that cost Republicans seven California congressional seats, GOP leaders are going all out to try to show that those Democratic wins were one-off aberrations that won’t be repeated in 2020.
“We’re very confident we can get those seats back,” said Torunn Sinclair, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Congressional Committee. “These are all seats we held in 2016” and for years before that.
But Republicans don’t hold them now, and that’s just embarrassing for the party. Not only did those flipped seats help the Democrats take control of the House, but they also came from some of the state’s best-known GOP strongholds.
Four of those new Democratic seats are in Orange County, which, for the first time since the 1930s, doesn’t have a single Republican in Congress. Two others are in the Central Valley, and the seventh is in the northern edges of Los Angeles County.
The Republican Party is recruiting some big-name candidates they hope can take back those seats.

Michael Short / Special to the Chroincle

“There are a lot of folks who want to run against the socialist Democrats who were just elected,” said Sinclair, rolling out the type of attack Republicans in California and across the nation will take against liberal — and not-so-liberal — Democrats.
While Sinclair insisted that the national party won’t be putting its “thumb on the scale” to favor any particular GOP primary candidate, local Republicans have no such qualms.
“We want to see who the strongest candidates are and get behind them early,” said Fred Whitaker, head of the Republican Party of Orange County. “We want our candidates to get out early so they don’t have primary wars.”
To find out how the GOP is going to try to re-flip Democrats’ freshly won seats, click here.
— John Wildermuth
Sound bite: Iran tensions ‘frighteningly similar’ to Iraq War run-up

Scott Eisen / Getty Images

Rep. Seth Moulton sees a replay of the Iraq War when he hears President Trump promising to strike Iran with “great force” in response to reported threats from Tehran against U.S. personnel in the Middle East.
“It’s frighteningly similar,” the Democratic presidential candidate told The Chronicle’s “It’s All Political” podcast. “You have some of the same people — (National Security Adviser) John Bolton — in the White House, agitating for war. And agitating with a president who doesn’t have a lot of credibility to stop it because he got out of serving himself, much like George W. Bush avoided going to Vietnam.”
Bolton helped Bush build the public case for the 2003 Iraq invasion and has long advocated for regime change in Iran, too.
Bolton’s advocacy personally affected Moulton, who served four tours in Iraq as a Marine officer and was in a unit that spearheaded the invasion. He ran for Congress in Massachusetts in 2014 “to try to change Washington and prevent what happened in Iraq from happening again.”
Now the 40-year-old is running for president, focusing on foreign policy, his military service and his relative youth. It’s a familiar refrain. After Democrats won the House in November, he said it was time for a new generation to take over leadership and tried — and failed — to block 79-year-old Rep. Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco from becoming speaker.
Now, he’s taking aim at 76-year-old Joe Biden. Moulton said he considers the former vice president a friend and mentor, but that “it’s time for the generation that fought in Iraq and Afghanistan to take over for the generation that sent us there.”

SAUL LOEB;Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images

It’s also time for Congress to do more to end Trump’s saber-rattling with Iran, Moulton says.
“Congress isn’t doing enough to stop it,” Moulton said. “I thought Congress would have learned its lesson from the run-up to Iraq in 2002 and 2003.”
He introduced a resolution last week that called for Trump to notify Congress before launching a U.S. attack against Iran and spell out the intended scope of any military action.
“It’s been very difficult to get Republicans to sign on because, candidly, some have told me, ‘You know, Seth, this is the right thing to do. I’d even vote for it. But I don’t want to co-sponsor it because I don’t want to upset the president.’ They’re scared. They’re scared of the Trump White House. They’re scared of the politics.”
Then again, it’s been hard to get anybody to sign. Only one Democrat — a fellow veteran, Rep. Gil Cisneros, D-Yorba Linda (Orange County) — has joined Moulton.
Similarly, few have noticed Moulton’s presidential campaign since he announced April 22. He isn’t even registering 1 percent in the polls, according to a RealClearPolitics.com amalgamation of major surveys — leaving him in serious jeopardy of not being on stage during the first Democratic Party debates in June. And if he doesn’t make the debates, his campaign will have an even harder time getting attention.
— Joe Garofoli
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