Rep. Glenn “G.T.” Thompson of Pennsylvania spoke more often on the floor of the House of Representatives than any other congressman during 2020, according to data compiled by C-SPAN.
Thompson, a Republican, spoke on 190 days during the year when the House was in session, leading by a substantial margin the second-most prolific congressional speaker, Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), who rose to address colleagues 156 times.
Six of the top 10 most frequent speaker were Republicans, including Doug Lamata of California (138), Buddy Carter of Georgia (136), Joe Wilson of South Carolina (111), Ross Spano of Florida (104), and Virginia Foxx of Virginia (99).
The other three Democrats in the top 10 were House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland (116), Al Green of Texas (98), and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi of California (91).
Whenever a senator or representative speaks on the floor of his or her chamber, quite often a communications director or press secretary had a big hand in crafting what is said. So the more frequently a member talks, the more work is likely involved for the staff.
Taylor McCarty is Thompson’s communications director. This position is her first on a congressional staff. She was previously a communications adviser for DDC, Inc. McCarty is originally from Michigan.
Jabir McKnight is communications director for Jackson-Lee. Like McCarty, his work for the Texas Democrat is his first position on a congressional staff. McNight is originally from Philadelphia.
On the Senate side, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) spoke most often (283 days), according to the C-SPAN data, while Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was second (264).
The most frequent Senate speaker who was not a member of either party’s leadership was Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), speaking on 87 days during 2020. Sarah Mills is Blackburn’s communications director.
The C-SPAN data also provides a dramatic illustration of the impact of the Covid pandemic on the daily operations of Congress. In 2019, the House took 701 recorded votes, compared to only 263 in 2020. The Senate’s 2019 total was 428, compared to 289 for 2020.
“Safety measures which began in March by limiting the number of members on the floor at any one time followed by House-approved proxy voting in May lengthened the time it took the House to complete votes,” noted Dr. Robert Browning, Professor of Political Science and Communication at Purdue University and Executive Director of the C-SPAN Archives.
“Once these measures began, the average time it took the House to vote more than tripled, from 15 minutes to 48. Like everyone else in America, Congress had to adapt to new processes and protocols. The House also was in session fewer days in 2020 than in 2019 and enacted fewer public laws.”
The above data was provided to HillFaith and other media organizations by C-SPAN’s Robin Newton via email.