Weather grounds King, keeps him from casting votes

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine

Alex Greenlee/The Free Press

U.S. Sen. Angus King missed two roll-call votes Monday as snow in Portland kept him waiting five hours at the airport before he could make the return trip to Washington, D.C., according to King’s office.

The evening roll-call votes — concerning a measure to appropriate $50.5 billion in emergency aid to help victims of Hurricane Sandy — would have been the third and fourth votes cast by Maine’s newest senator.

The Sandy aid measure, which needed 60 votes to pass, made it through the Senate 62-36. King and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., were the only two senators not to cast votes. The other vote was on an amendment, which was rejected, to offset the Sandy aid through  spending reductions.

King would have voted to pass the aid measure, spokesman Scott Ogden said in an email.

“The Senator is certainly disappointed to have missed the vote on the Sandy Supplemental bill, which he would have supported, but was relieved to know that the Senate did pass the disaster relief legislation, and that the victims of the super-storm will receive the critical aid and assistance that they need and deserve,” Ogden said.

While grounded at the Portland International Jetport, King “used the time to meet with constituents,” Ogden said. “During that time, our office examined every possible avenue to get him to Washington in time, including multiple alternative flights, but everything was either delayed, canceled, or simply not feasible.”

While King has had the chance to cast only four votes since he was sworn in earlier this month, he won’t be able to make the same claim to fame as his Maine colleague, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, who has never missed a vote since her 1997 swearing-in. She crossed the 5,000-vote threshold last summer.

Collins voted to support the Sandy aid package and against the spending offset amendment.