Saturday, May 24, 2003

Boehner misses 1:56 a.m. House vote for tax cut bill

By Carl Weiser
Enquirer Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON - It's 1:56 a.m. Do you know where your congressman is?

Rep. John Boehner, R-West Chester, was one of only four House members who missed the 1:56 a.m. Friday vote on the tax cut bill, a centerpiece of President Bush's and the GOP's economic agenda this year.

He was in his office at the time, his spokesman Steve Forde said, but somehow did not hear the bells that signal members they must come to the floor for a vote. Forde said he didn't know whether Boehner was sleeping at the time.

"He did not hear the bells. Obviously, this is something he deeply, deeply regrets," Forde said. "Had he voted, he would have voted for it."

Boehner did make it to the floor in time for the next vote at 2:14 a.m. - voting for the House to adjourn for its Memorial Day recess.

Boehner left Washington on Friday morning for the weeklong recess. Forde said he was spending the weekend out of town with his wife.

Boehner is chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee. He represents most of Butler County.

He does not have a record of missing votes. Last year he made 94 percent of the votes and the year before 95 percent - about average, according to Congressional Quarterly.

The $350 billion tax cut passed the House 231-200, so Boehner's vote was not critical.

The vote was almost entirely along party lines. Only seven Democrats voted for it, including Northern Kentucky's Ken Lucas. Indiana Democrat Rep. Baron Hill voted against it.

The Senate passed the tax cut 51-50 Friday, with the Tristate's Republicans all voting for it and the area's only Democratic senator, Evan Bayh of Indiana, voting against.

No one missed the Senate vote.

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