Cruz MIA at Armed Services hearings – By Austin Wright 3/31/15 5:41 AM EDT Updated 3/31/15 5:41 AM EDT


Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks about energy at the Heritage Action for America 2014 Conservative Policy Summit at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, Monday, Feb. 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Ted Cruz thunders about what he calls a “fundamentally unserious” U.S. defense policy, but when he had a chance to weigh in during Senate Armed Services Committee hearings, he rarely showed up.

Cruz, who announced last week he’s running for president, has the committee’s worst attendance record — by far.

The Texas Republican attended just three of the panel’s 16 public hearings so far this year, according to a POLITICO review of transcripts from full committee hearings. The average committee member attended 13 of the 16 hearings, and Cruz is the only one of the panel’s 26 members with an attendance rate below 50 percent.

Cruz missed opportunities to cross-examine the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan and was absent from a session on the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay — despite being a leading opponent of President Barack Obama’s decision to swap five Taliban commanders at Guantanamo for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. The freshman senator also missed opportunities to cross-examine officials about the effects of across-the-board spending cuts on military readiness and the appropriate levels of compensation for the troops.

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