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Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D., Ill.) is coming under scrutiny for skipping two key votes on counter-terrorism issues, despite her promises to lead on the national security front, according to congressional voting records.
Duckworth, who is locked in an election battle with Sen. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.), a top voice on national security issues, skipped two votes this week on legislation seeking to prevent individuals in the U.S. from traveling to terrorist strongholds in the Middle East.
Duckworth’s absence on these votes was at odds with her public promises to be a congressional leader on national security issues and counter-terrorism efforts.
The anti-terrorism votes were held on Tuesday, a day after Duckworth was in Illinois to open new campaign offices. It remains unclear where Duckworth was during the votes, as her Twitter feed and campaign went dark on that day.
Duckworth’s campaign did not immediately respond to calls and emails seeking information about why she missed the votes.
GOP sources following the campaign speculated that Duckworth might have been attending a fundraiser at the time the votes were held.
“Duckworth has made campaigning and raising money her top priority—often missing key votes to attend events,” one source said. “The missed votes on the Flint water crisis and now the anti-terror votes are going to be incredibly problematic for her as the campaign progresses.”
The votes concerned two bills to stem the flow of foreign fighters to Syria and Iraq.
The first bill would require the president to review all instances since 2011 where a person travelled from the United States to a conflict zone in order to aid terrorist forces. The second bill focuses on developing a strategy to prevent this type of travel.
Duckworth was absent for both votes, though the bills passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support.
Duckworth has billed herself as a leading voice on national security issues, promising throughout the campaign to lead on these issues.
The lawmaker has taken to Twitter to encourage her congressional colleagues to “focus on national security threats.”
A December press release from Duckworth also focused on counter-terrorism efforts, calling for bipartisan efforts to address security threats, as the two recent bills do.