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Members can outline in the Congressional Record why they miss roll-call votes; sometimes press releases are issued. In March 2010, Rep. Dave Reichert’s (R-Wash.) office said the Congressman would miss the concurring vote to the bill that was to become the health care law because doctors advised him not to leave George Washington University Hospital. A tree branch had hit his head while he was chopping wood, and he had undergone surgery.
“I recognize that I have been blessed with good health and I haven’t had family emergencies that cause me to miss a vote,” Collins said. “An illness or a family emergency is certainly a good reason to miss a vote, so in some ways, I have been fortunate. But I do believe that a Senator’s most important responsibility is to vote.”