Rooney misses 52% of House votes so far this year. Reason: coronavirus

Reporter: Morgan Rynor
Published: Updated:

Where’s Congressman Francis Rooney?

Since the first of the year, he has missed 52 percent of votes in the House of Representatives.

The last time Rooney went to Washington to cast a vote was Feb. 13. Since then, he has missed nearly 40 votes, so WINK News asked Rooney why he has been absent.

In short: COVID-19.

“Why take the risk? I mean it’s not a real healthy environment around there anyway with all those people from all around the country walking around, you know?” Rooney explained. “But with this added in there, I just don’t know how you can be sure it’s totally safe.”

The House passed a bill Friday that temporarily allows remote voting.

This is welcome news to Rooney, but not so much to his party, with all 184 Republicans who cast a vote voting no.

“When it first came up, there were a lot of Republicans that said yeah, makes sense for us. But now all of a sudden the Republican side of things has become fairly monolithically opposed to it, and I don’t understand it,” Rooney said. “I think we ought to use the best available technologies we have to allow the elected officials to do their work as safe as possible.”

Rooney said he felt no pressure to fly back to D.C. for the last several weeks.

“If you look at the votes, they’ve been overwhelming votes. Most of them have been dealing with the coronavirus.”

However, there have also been some close votes. For example, the House passed the Heroes Act on Friday by only nine votes.

That’s the latest push by Democrats to offer relief to Americans. Eleven Republicans, including Rooney, did not vote – a margin that could have tipped the scales.

Rooney also said he supports allowing people to vote by mail. He said Florida has been progressive with absentee voting for a long time.

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