New Congressman Misses Israel Vote Because He Didn't Leave Enough Time to Walk From Office

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Cong. Charlie Crist on Capitol Hill with his wive, Carole
Fla. Congressman. Charlie Crist on Capitol Hill with his wive, Carole, in November, 2016, immediately following his election.Credit: Andrew Harnik/AP

A bipartisan resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives on Israel passed easily on Thursday by a 342 to 80 margin on Thursday. Although Congressman Charlie Crist, a former Republican who is now a Democrat, had intended to vote in favor of the House resolution, known as House Resolution 11, he admitted missing the vote for a rather simple reason: He hadn't allowed enough time to walk from his office.

Crist, a freshman Congressman, told the Tampa Bay Times he hadn't allocated sufficient time to get to the House chamber in time for the vote and was "detained" along the way be people wanting to chat. “I’m sorry. It happens. Now I know better. I have to give myself more time,” he admitted.

The House resolution was met by initial criticism by some pro-Israel Republicans who opposed it because it included a clause calling for a two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Congressional measure calls for last month's Security Council resolution, over which the United States administration abstained, to either be repealed or significantly amended.

"This evening, I planned to vote in favor of H. Res. 11, but was unfortunately delayed in arriving to the House floor," said Crist, who represents part of the Tampa Bay area, in a news release issued by his office on Thursday. "As a cosponsor of this measure, I believe it is vital that the United Nations Security Council be sent a clear message that biased, one-sided resolutions targeting Israel are unacceptable and only make it more difficult for negotiations to resume between Israelis and Palestinians."

On Friday, in its report of the matter in a political blog, the Tampa Bay Times website added: "While it’s common for lawmakers to miss votes at times, Crist was clearly concerned about the perception and issued a news release last night that included a quote from Rep. Eliot Engel, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, calling the former governor a 'great friend of Israel.'"

The Politico politics website reported that a tweet about the vote by Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott was veiled criticism of Crist, who is a former Florida governor himself. "Appreciate the members of Congress who chose to stand with Israel by condemning the UN resolution & inaction of Obama administration," Scott tweeted. "I am especially proud of the Florida members who voted in favor of fighting for Israel- our great friend and ally."

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