Roberts Posts Low Attendance Record

"Recently it was reported Roberts had a 35 percent attendance rate at Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry hearings and an 11.5 percent attendance record at full hearings of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

His attendance at hearings conducted by his third key committee - the Finance Committee - amounted to about 32 percent since he came on the panel in 2007. He's attended 83 of the 261 full committee hearings since becoming a member."

Roberts Posts Low Attendance Record

Patrick Lowry
The Hutchinson News

The photo of U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts on his Senate website shows him seated in a committee room, apparently talking to someone giving testimony. The nearby seats for his fellow committee members are empty.

However, its Roberts' attendance - or absence - at committee hearings that is drawing scrutiny as he runs for a fourth term.

Recently it was reported Roberts had a 35 percent attendance rate at Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry hearings and an 11.5 percent attendance record at full hearings of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

His attendance at hearings conducted by his third key committee - the Finance Committee - amounted to about 32 percent since he came on the panel in 2007. He's attended 83 of the 261 full committee hearings since becoming a member.

A staffer for the Finance Committee said they don't keep data for average attendance. She also said it is "very much the norm up here" for multiple committees to conduct hearings during the same period, competing for a lawmaker's time.

The Finance Committee hearings Roberts missed dealt with a wide range of topics, but included the U.S. tax code, tax reform and energy policy, health care costs, the budget, tax overhaul, tax fraud and identity theft, trade with Russia, climate change, border security, Social Security, and Medicare physician payment.

The Roberts campaign did not respond to an inquiry Thursday by The News.

Fort Hays State University political science professor Chapman Rackaway said there's "a ton of reasons why you might actually miss" hearings, including meeting with visiting constituents.

Rackaway said Roberts has appeared seemingly disinterested in the fall campaign and if he appears disinterested in the job, "those are things that can be really disappointing to the voter," he said.

The campaign of Roberts' rival Greg Orman, I-Olathe, has pressed Roberts to release his Senate schedule. “Taxpayers have been paying Sen. Roberts’ salary, yet he's barely ever shown up for work. Sen. Roberts should immediately release his Senate schedule so Kansans can see where he was and what he was doing that was more important than showing up for his job," said Orman campaign manager Jim Jonas in a statement.

"We know Sen. Roberts wasn’t in Kansas, so what was he doing while he was skipping the job we've been paying him to do?” Jonas asked.

http://www.hutchnews.com/news/local_state_news/roberts-posts-low-attendance-record/article_2bb37617-7a3e-5e53-a36e-077fdad881e3.html

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