Breaking Down the Budget Vote (Updated)
Posted at 8:21 p.m. on Dec. 12, 2013
Updated Dec. 13, 11:08 a.m. | With Speaker John A. Boehner in the chair, the House overwhelmingly passed the budget deal Thursday night in a bipartisan 332-94 vote.
But there were plenty of interesting defections.
In the end, 169 Republicans and 163 Democrats voted for the budget deal, which means that 62 Republicans and 32 Democrats — including the N0 2. House Democrat, Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer — broke party ranks and voted “no.”
There are many ways to break down this decisive vote but, for 218′s purposes, we’ll examine the defections through the prism of membership in party leadership, key committees and the conservative and liberal factions of the House.
All of the Republicans who voted against the budget deal are members of the conservative Republican Study Committee, including Chairman Steve Scalise, R-La., except for five GOP members who don’t affiliate themselves with the committee but still gave the deal a thumbs-down. They are Mike Coffman of Colorado, John J. Duncan Jr. of Tennessee, Joe Heck of Nevada, Walter B. Jones of North Carolina and Dana Rohrabacher of California.
Overall, 73 percent of Republicans and 84 percent of Democrats voted for the deal. While you — like us here at 218 — might have thought the RSC members would be far more inclined to vote against the budget deal, two-thirds of the members supported it. That’s not an incredibly significant departure from the overall GOP ranks. However, RSC membership has become an increasingly meaningless distinction, as 172 Republicans out of 232 now consider themselves part of the RSC.
There were no defections among the senior members of House Republican leadership. Even Boehner cast a “yes” vote. It’s rare for the speaker to put his position on the official record, and even Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington who gave birth to her third child within the past few weeks, made it back to the Capitol to vote. Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California, Conference Vice-Chairwoman Lynn Jenkins of Kansas and Republican Policy Committee Chairman James Lankford of Oklahoma all voted for the deal.
Hoyer was the only senior member of House Democratic leadership to vote “no.” The Maryland Democrat had been playing his cards close to his chest in the lead-up to the vote, refusing to say which way he was leaning and even declining to launch a formal whip operation one way or the other. During his caustic floor speech on Thursday evening, he never explicitly said how he would vote. At the end of the day, he voted against the deal, which, in his estimation, was not nearly ambitious enough. It also forced federal workers to pay more into their retirement, and Hoyer’s district is home to many of them. The lack of an unemployment insurance extension also might have played a big (read: crucial) part. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had urged her members on Thursday to “embrace the suck” and help haul the deal over the finish line. They did.
Jack Kingston, R-Ga., and Andy Harris, R-Md., were the only GOP appropriators to vote “no,” despite the fact that the budget agreement provides higher topline numbers with which to write and pass the 12 annual spending bills through regular order. Kingston, who is also the chairman of the Labor-Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee, could have cast his vote as part of his ongoing bid for Senate in 2014, where he has to compete with hardline conservative opponents like fellow Georgia Republicans Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey, who also voted “no” on Thursday night. Harris is also a conservative member who may have thought the deal didn’t save enough; conversely, he may have been put off by the language requiring federal workers to pay more toward their retirement, as many of them live in his home state.
There were three defections among Democratic Appropriators: Peter J. Visclosky of Indiana, Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut and Barbara Lee of California. Especially for liberals DeLauro and Lee, even the pull of higher spending levels to write appropriations bills was not enough to override the distaste for provisions involving the federal workforce and the exclusion of language that would extend expiring unemployment insurance. DeLauro also happens to be Kingston’s ranking member on Labor-HHS.
Ways and Means Committee ranking member Sander M. Levin, D-Mich., voted “no.” He said Wednesday that if an extension of unemployment insurance was not brought to the floor, it could cost the budget deal Democratic votes. Ultimately, it cost the deal his own vote.
“No” votes on the budget deal came from the leaders of liberal caucuses of the House. They include Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Marcia L. Fudge, D-Ohio, and Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairmen Raúl M. Grijalva, D-Ariz., and Keith Ellison, D-Minn.
Click here to see the full breakdown, courtesy of the clerk’s office.