Rep. DesJarlais: Man of few words (at least on House floor)

Rep. Scott DesJarlais was one of the least loquacious House members during the 114th Congress, according to a C-SPAN review of its live broadcasts on congressional proceeding, reports Michael Collins.

DesJarlais, who represents Tennessee’s 4th Congressional District, spoke from the House floor just one day during the 114th Congress, which included the years 2015 and 2016.

DesJarlais spoke the least of any of the House’s 435 members, except for former Rep. Alan Nunnelee, R-Miss., who died just a month after Congress convened, and Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., who was sworn in just three weeks before Congress adjourned.

Comer also spoke once from the floor. Nunnelee, who was battling terminal cancer, didn’t speak at all.

DesJarlais’ only floor remarks of the past two years came last April 14, when he gave a one-minute speech extolling the National Cornbread Festival in his hometown of South Pittsburg, Tenn.

DesJarlais said he’s not camera shy. He just tends to speak out more during committee meetings and hearings, which are sometimes broadcast but are not included in the C-SPAN tally.

The most frequent orator in the House was Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., who spoke 209 days from the House floor.

Among Tennessee’s congressional delegation, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Brentwood, spoke the most frequently – 68 days. She was followed by Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, who spoke 51 days.

Other Volunteer State lawmakers and the number of days they spoke: Reps. Diane Black, R-Gallatin, 47; John J. Duncan Jr., R-Knoxville, 38; Phil Roe, R-Johnson City, 32; Chuck Fleischmann, R-Ooltewah, 18; Stephen Fincher, R-Frog Jump, six; and Jim Cooper, D-Nashville, five.


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