BY MALIA ZIMMERMAN – With just days until Hawaii’s August 11 primary, Congresswoman Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, continued to miss voting on key measures so she can fundraise and campaign for the seat left open by the retirement of U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii.
According to Congress.org, a vote tracking system that issues regular reports on the nation’s political leaders, Hirono missed five votes last week. That is a total of 15 votes in the last few weeks.
Those include votes on Tribal Land Leases, the Levee Construction, the Federal Reserve Audit, and Regulatory Overhaul bill. She also missed voting on the Oil and Gas Drilling bill, which would “nearly double the number of drilling leases, from 15 to 29 and it would include drilling off the coasts of California, Virginia, and South Carolina.”
Hirono has been absent from Congress for several weeks, missing votes on the Foreign Relations Authorization, on the Sequestration Report, and on the Defense Appropriations Act.
Hirono also missed casting her vote on Veterans Licensing, which would “instruct the heads of federal agencies to recognize relevant training and skills acquired by veterans during their terms of service as meeting the requirements for federal licenses;” the ATM Fee Disclosure, which would “lift a requirement that ATMs bear a physical display warning users that they may incur a fee if they are not account holders at the financial institution that owns the ATM;” and the Hydropower Generation, which would “exempt small hydropower facilities that generate up to 10,000 kilowatts of electricity from permitting by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).”
Before that, she was absent for votes on the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, a bill the White House threatened to veto, which “directs the Director of National Intelligence to develop procedures to share cyber-threat information on a voluntary basis between the government’s intelligence community and the private sector; the Interest Rate Reduction Act, which would “keep the interest rate for government-subsidized student loans at 3.4 percent, and stop it from a scheduled increase to 6.8 percent;” and the Legislative Branch Appropriations, which “funds FY 13 spending on legislative branch operations including funding for Member and committee offices and operations of agencies such as the Library of Congress, Capitol Police, Congressional Research Service (CRS), and Government Accountability Office (GAO).”
Hirono also was absent for the vote on the FDA User Fee Reauthorization, which would “reauthorize the FDA to impose user fees on drug and device manufacturers for five years.”
Hirono and former Congressman Ed Case will face off in the August 11 Democratic primary election, and the winner will likely take on former Republican Gov. Linda Lingle in the General Election on November 6.
Explaining why Hirono is putting campaigning ahead of voting in the U.S. House, Tanaka said in a July 18, 2012, statement to Hawaii Reporter: “Because if Hawaii doesn’t like the partisan games being played nearly every day by the Republicans who control the U.S. House, then we certainly cannot afford to allow the Republican Party to win the four seats required to seize control of the U.S. Senate.”
Tanaka did not respond to a media inquiry made Monday on Hirono’s five missed votes last week, but she did send out a news release from the campaign saying because of recent endorsements, favorable poll results, and a “strong debate performance” last Thursday, Hirono’s campaign is surging.
Meanwhile, Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, has not missed any votes. According to Congress.org, Hanabusa cast votes for every bill that Hirono missed. Hanabusa is being challenged by former Congressman Charles Djou, R-Hawaii, in the November 6 General Election.