Eleven lawmakers missed the 229-193 House vote that rejected Senate legislation to extend a payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits for two months.
Reps. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Ron Paul of Texas were campaigning Tuesday for the Republican presidential nomination.
Democrat Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona is recovering from the brain injury she suffered when shot by a gunman.
Republican Howard Coble of North Carolina is hospitalized with a respiratory illness. Texas Democrat Eddie Bernice Johnson has a high fever. Florida Republican Mario Diaz-Balart has a family health issue.
Chief of staff Paul Gage said his boss, Democrat Kurt Schrader of Oregon, decided to stay home.
Rep. John Olver, a Massachusetts Democrat, had a family obligation and was not in Washington.
Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., missed the key votes due to travel difficulties, but arrived in time to vote for a non-binding Republican resolution supporting a full-year payroll tax cut.
There was no response from the offices of California Democrats Bob Filner and Lynn Woolsey.