You Had One Job, Dave

Being a member of Congress is a difficult job.  You’re constantly pulled in different directions in your role of representing your district in Congress, and the role of representing is a pretty large one.  It means taking meetings with constituents.  It means drafting legislation.  It means sitting through boring committee hearings.  It means doing all the dirty work you need to get elected and stay elected, including all the fundraising and glad handing.  All of those things are critical.

But there’s one thing that makes being a member of the House of Representatives different from being any other elected official in the United States Government, at any level.  You, and you alone, have a vote on the floor of the People’s House.  And, under the Constitution, you and you alone have the power of the purse – all appropriations of federal money have to begin in the House.  That includes things like a short, five day Continuing Resolution designed to keep the government functioning until a deal can be struck on a larger set of spending bills.

That is, at its most fundamental, the job of every Congressman.  To show up, cast your vote, especially on spending bills that begin in the House.  Staff can do almost everything a member needs in a pinch, especially if there’s a vote going on.  There’s only one thing staff can’t do – they can’t vote for the member on the floor.  It is literally the only thing that only the member himself can do and can’t delegate or direct someone else to do for him.

Dave Brat had one job.  Last Friday, Virginia’s Most Useless Congressman™ decided he didn’t feel like doing that job.

So he skipped a vote.  A vote on whether to keep the government open.

You had one job, Dave.

Shaun Kenney, over at our sister publication, rightfully criticized Brat for skipping the vote.  In response, Brat deigned to humble himself by explaining why he missed a vote on something as important as keeping the government open to refute “misinformation” being spread by an “internet blogger.”  Just for the record, that “internet blogger” spent more time in elected office than Dave Brat has.  Just saying.

But what was Brat’s reason for skipping work?

A photo op at the White House.

For the signing of an Executive Order on energy policy that Brat had absolutely nothing to do with.

I am not making this up.

You can read his excuses for yourself.  Here’s what he wrote in response to Shaun’s article on his Facebook page.

As usual, Dave Brat thinks you’re stupid and that nobody is going to check in on his statements.  But, fortunately for you and unfortunately for him, it’s not hard to pick apart when he’s just flat out making things up.

Brat was one of over a dozen members of the House and Senate who were invited to the President’s signing ceremony for an Executive Order on off-shore drilling.  Most of us in the GOP support off-shore drilling, which matters most to folks in districts that are actually, you know, coastal.  They are the ones who will benefit directly from the increased number of jobs off-shore drilling is likely to create because those direct jobs will be on rigs and offshore supply vessels supporting drilling.  I don’t know if many constituents in the 7th District will be directly impacted, but I digress.

The idea that he was invited because he was the lead sponsor of legislation designed to end Obama’s ban on off-shore drilling is absurd, though.  There are hundreds of bills before the House right now addressing off-shore drilling, both for and against.  Barbara Comstock has a piece of legislation up that does the exact same thing, and it’s co-sponsored by Rob Wittman and Morgan Griffith.  She wasn’t at the White House.

If this were Brat’s bill signing after a successful passage of the House and Senate (something Brat has almost never seen during his time in office), that would be different.  It wasn’t.  It’s the signing of an executive order the President signed that Brat had nothing to do with.  He didn’t draft it.  Doesn’t really affect his district directly.  This was a photo op for him and nothing more.  The President didn’t even acknowledge his presence, and he stood in the back row for most of the ceremony.

This was more important than a vote on the floor to keep the government open?

But it wasn’t his fault, see?  The House tricked him. Brat said the “House of Representatives called an earlier than expected vote…” on the must-pass CR.  Everybody knew the bill was coming – it was the only thing on the agenda for Friday.  And it wasn’t called earlier than expected.  That claim simply isn’t accurate, and all one needs to do is take a look at the various whip notices that were put out by the Majority Leader, Majority Whip and Minority Whip’s offices that give members of Congress a heads up on when to expect votes and what the schedule looks like daily.  Here’s what one of the Whip Notices said for Friday, April 28:

First votes were predicted between 10 AM and 11 AM on Friday, April 28.  There were only two things on the Congressional schedule for Friday – the rule under which the CR would be debated, and the CR itself.  When did the “earlier than expected” vote on the CR begin?

The first vote, on the rule, ended at 10:22 AM – almost directly in the middle of where the Whip notices were predicting “first votes” would start.

Once that vote was finished, the House began consideration of the CR.  They began debate at 10:23, and the vote was held open until 11:30 AM – over an hour.

The signing ceremony began at 11:04 AM, according to the White House, and lasted 7 minutes and 24 seconds.

Votes happened when votes were predicted, and Brat himself had heads up when debate began that he had about an hour to get back.  Even if he waited until the end, he had 20 minutes to get back.

Brat “rushed back” however, and missed the vote “by minutes.”  He wasn’t the only one.  Some other Congressmen who were present didn’t make the vote either – Pete Olson and David Rouzer, to name two.  He, along with 13 other Republicans, missed the vote.  Not all of them were at the White House, though, and he was the only member of the Virginia delegation who didn’t vote.

What’s remarkable, though, is who was at that press conference who actually made it back and voted.   Most of the other Congressman who were present did make it back, including Majority Whip Steve Scalise from Louisiana, who has a considerable number of off-shore drilling related jobs in his coastal district.  Another who made it back is even more surprising than those who didn’t – Congressman Don Young from Alaska, pictured above behind the president in the purple tie.  Congressman Young, who is 83, is the most senior Republican member of the House of Representatives, having served in the body since 1973.  He was first elected when Dave Brat was 9 years old.  He’s also known for his spotty attendance records at House votes.  He has missed over 4,000 votes during his career.  Granted, he’s taken more votes than anybody else, but he’s missed more as well, and as the only Congressman from Alaska and with a grueling schedule going back and forth, it’s not surprising he’s been frequently absent.

But he made it back in time for this one.

Let’s put this in perspective: Dave Brat missed this vote, but an 83 year old man with one of the worst attendance records in the House made it back in time.


Here’s the bottom line.

Dave wasn’t elected to go to photo ops at the White House.  He was elected to vote.  He decided that standing in the back row of a signing ceremony was more important than voting to keep the government open.  He compounded that with a nonsense story about “surprise” votes and missing the vote “by minutes” despite the fact that senior Republican leadership were at the same event and made it back on time, as well as an 83 year old member with one of the worst attendance records in the House.

Brat could have made it back in time, but he chose not to.  And then he compounded that mistake by fudging his reasons for skipping the vote.  Instead of simply being honest – his vote wasn’t necessary and he’d rather hang out with the President than do his job – he’d rather just dismiss Shaun’s valid criticism by complaining about the headline.  Fortunately, he has a whole bevy of sycophants who don’t care what he does, so long as he’s not Eric Cantor.  You’ll see them in the comments.  That doesn’t change the fact that for this vote, Brat was acting like a groupie, gawking in the Oval Office with a dumb grin on his face, rather than using the one actual bit of power his job affords him.

You had one job, Dave.

It’s pretty clear what Dave’s priorities are.  Doing his job isn’t one of them.

  • Ron Frazier

    Brian really wishes that Eric Cantor was still in office or did anyone not notice?

    • All I want is somebody in that job who cares enough to actually do it.

      • Come on man. If he’d made it back he’d have voted against it anyway. Just as he’ll vote against the omnibus. The vote was also a foregone conclusion. I agree, he should have been there, and while it may warrent a mention, does it really warrent op-ed?

        • He said he’d vote for it.

          I would not have written this article if Brat hadn’t tried to spin why he missed the vote, and if he hadn’t singled out Shaun. But hey – if he wants to play these games, I’m more than happy to keep fact checking him.

          He can fool the folks back home who aren’t in DC and don’t see what’s going on, but he can’t fool me.

        • Beth Nelson-Assessor

          Really?! Brat posted himself that he was going to vote YES.

  • Curt Diemer

    Of course Brian is spreading the Democrat’s spin that it was “a vote to keep the Government open.” Brian is at a heart a Democrat.

    • If the vote wasn’t taken, would there have been a government shut down?


      So how exactly is that spin?

      As for in my heart, I’m GOP, always have been and always will be. I am anti-lazy, which is probably why I’m so critical of Brat.

      • Curt Diemer

        I noticed you didn’t deny being a Democrat.

        • Ron Frazier

          Brian will say he is a republican, like Bill Bolling and Ed Gillespie and the other swampers. He never writes anything critical of swampers.

          • I’ve done more than say it. I’m not going to say anything critical of Republicans who are doing their jobs, no.

        • Look up, Curt. FFS.

        • Beth Nelson-Assessor

          You do realize that GOP and Republican are 2 names for the SAME party right?!

    • AnninVA26

      Agree 100%.

  • Ron Frazier

    Eric never did properly represent that district after he became a muckity muck. And as to the comment about “If the vote wasn’t taken” SHUT IT DOWN! If the Congress will not stop over spending and supporting mindless spending Shut it down. What part of intelligent voting did you not get?

    • This isn’t about Eric Cantor. It’s about Dave Brat. Why can’t you guys ever stick to the topic?

      Brat didn’t vote. That’s the problem.

      • Ron Frazier

        I don ‘t want him to vote on continuing res’s to keep an inept and corrupt government running. Why don’t you read an entire post? Don’t think that the fed gov is still full Obama appointees and Obama budget items? Or did you give that any thought before you started bashing the man that ousted your buddy?

        • I’m glad that you agree with me that Brat should have voted against this CR. Too bad Brat doesn’t agree with you, since he specifically said that if he’d bothered to show up, he’d have voted yes on the CR.

          So how about you criticize him for that, rather than continuing to harp on the guy he replaced years ago?

          • Hey, did he really say that?

          • Read the comment he put on Facebook that I’ve screenshotted: “And I indicated in the congressional record last Friday, had I been present, I would have voted yes to give negotiators one more week to work on the larger bill.”

  • old_redneck

    How about we get to the heart of the matter. According to estimates by Dept of the Interior and by oil company geologists, we could drill the entire eastern coastal shelf and the result would be enough oil and natural gas to supply about six-month’s of the US demand. Furthermore, it will be at least TEN YEARS before the first drop of oil emerges.

    Clearly neither Brat nor Trump knows not a damn thing about offshore drilling . . . as does no one else who supports this pipe dream.

    For example:
    — Drill rigs are leased from the companies that own them. Right now, no drill rigs are available for FIVE YEARS — they all are under contract or in dry dock.
    — What about the on-shore infrastructure? That’s a fancy term for the HUGE support facilities required to support offshore drilling — mountains of drill mud and drill pipe; 24/7 helicopter and boat arrivals and departures hauling people, supplies and equipment to/from the rig.
    — And on and on and on.

    Atlantic coastal offshore drilling is a typical Republican scam . . . lots of storm and noise, lots of PR, no substance.

    • The heart of the matter isn’t off-shore drilling. The point of the photo op doesn’t matter. This is about Brat’s inability to perform the basic functions of his job.

      • old_redneck

        I’m confused. Of course, I’m just an old redneck and easily confused.

        If Brat is such a loser, why do people vote for him?

        Oh, wait a minute . . . I see . . . he’s a Republican in a Republican district. Now I understand.

        • If that were true, Brat wouldn’t have been able to beat another Republican for the seat.

          • paulsilvan

            I support Democrats (only because they are marginally more progressive than republicans) but voted for Brat in the primaries just to get rid of Cantor. Many Dems in the 7th did the same, and that’s the ONLY reason he beat another republican. Now, it’s time for us to defeat Brat in the next general election.

        • MD Russ

          If Trump is such a liar and a crook, why do people vote for him?

  • Pingback: From Brat To Worse: Dumpster Fire Dave Gets Caught In His Own Misinformation | The Jeffersoniad()

  • Connie S.

    I’m a limited-government gal and I highly approve of the job Rep. Brat has been doing since he toppled RINO Cantor. Most of his constituents – except for disgruntled Cantor hold-outs – feel the same way. WE ARE THRILLED WITH DAVE BRAT.

    Rep. Brat rightly lent his gravis to the ceremony of overturning another of Obozo’s disastrous policis – the ban on offshore drilling. Much ado about nothing, the CR bill was just to kick the can one week down the road. Have no fear, Dave will continue to fight for rolling back the bloated government.

    And for the record, I and also very pleased with my freshman Congressman Tom Garrett too. Both Brat and Garrett are ROCK STARS to us limited government lovers here in Virginia.

    I hold out big hope Brat will help oust RINO Ryan from the Speakership too.

    • What job has he been doing, Connie? Can you name a single accomplishment he has?

      • Eric McGrane

        1. He makes you so furious that you’ve become obsessed to the point of embarrassment. You prolly can’t see it though.

        • I’m not mad, I’m disgusted. And if making me mad is all that it takes to accomplish anything, the Redskins are the most accomplished team in football.

    • John Harvie

      Give it a rest, Connie. These guys are so insanely jealous of him they can’t do anything but wish they’d had have had the balls and smarts to be where he is. Just sit back and chuckle…

      • I’ve been doing what Brat wishes he could do for fifteen years – actually get things done in DC.

        • Eric McGrane

          To be fair, an assessment of if the RIGHT things were getting done would need to be completed before congratulating yourself. “Getting stuff done” is straight leftist spin, ‘natch.

          • No, it’s not. What’s the point of being in control if you’re opposed to getting stuff done?

          • Eric McGrane

            Its in the details, obviously. “Getting stuff done” isn’t to be applauded, if its terrible stuff.

          • Obviously. But when you’re completely incompetent and can’t get anything at all done, and your opposition doesn’t matter, then what’s the point?

            Brat’s entire time in office has been a complete nullity.

  • Mary Becker Mullins

    Excuses and denials are Dave’s specialty. At his teeny-tiny town hall in Culpeper he was confronted about remarks he made at the regular-sized but remote Blackstone town hall in which he said that we needed to quit worrying about clean air and clean water because rich people like those things. Mind you, the remarks are on the video. Dave denied saying them, at which point the constituent called him a liar. Dave’s response, also on video: l’m not a liar, I went to seminary. Brilliant reasoning from an economics professor- as he reminds us every chance he gets.

    • Eric McGrane

      Congrats Brian….this Mary Becker lifeform is a Blue Virginianeer. You’re directly feeding democrat operatives. Or as we like to say, your brethren.

  • Chrystal Hall Doyle

    If Brat is such an amazing economist then I don’t know why he wouldn’t be supporting drilling for offshore wind turbines? Every good economist knows that long term gains are better than short term profit, especially when the actual and potential cost of oil drilling is so high. Ask a business person and they’ll say go for the free commodity–uh, wind. And, don’t cry me a river or ocean about the migratory pattern of bats and birds because that cost is far less than the threat of an oil spill, platform fire or collapse and the incredibly dangerous work of building an manning an offshore rig. One Deep Horizon spill off the VA Coast would devastate the bay and ruin that entire economy for years. I’d like to see Brat get some brains in the room who actually can put together sensible legislation that just blowing smoke up our asses with his pitiful economics and seminary claims. He’s a third rate economist at best with absolutely zero street cred and his indifference to the actual health and welfare of Americans (not corporations) breaks the hearts of his fellow seminarians who have come out in opposition to his platform. Brat is a shill for the Heritage Foundation and the saddest part is how cheaply and quickly he sold us and himself out in DC.

  • Jim Portugul

    Looks like this ain’t VP Mike Pence’s first rodeo either?????? See link.….0…

  • AnninVA26

    Brat voted when it mattered – when a BETTER version of the ACA overhaul was at stake. Comstock voted no – not because it was a good or bad bill, but because she lives in a very blue northern Virginia and is feeling the heat of lots of competition for 2018. Now…WHO exactly represents their constituents and what is best for the country?
    Brian, if you ever put yourself in the position where you could meet Brat and speak with him, you would stop the crazy rants. We love him in the 7th, whether you like it or not. Rumor is your guy Cantor will probably go for Tim Kaine’s seat. Why don’t you put your energy there and helping Comstock stay in her seat?

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