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Most Blue Dogs Voted for Budget Deal — But Not a Key Leader
Posted at 5:08 p.m. on Dec. 13, 2013
The Blue Dog Coalition fired out a press release on Friday afternoon, boasting that its members “overwhelmingly supported” the bipartisan budget agreement the House passed on Thursday night.
It declined to mention that Rep. Kurt Schrader, a co-chairman of the contingent of fiscally conservative Democrats, voted “no.”
The press release went on to frame the Blue Dogs’ support for the budget deal as part of the coalition’s commitment to working across the aisle to solve the country’s economic woes. It referenced a letter reflecting that sentiment, which the three Blue Dog co-chairmen and three GOP moderates sent to the chief budget negotiators earlier this week.
Schrader was one of the signers of that letter.
The Oregon Democrat released a statement Thursday evening explaining his decision to oppose the deal:
“To call this a budget deal is making it out to be more than it is. It does reduce the effect of sequestration in the short term, but it pays for it through a budget gimmick by adding an extra two years of sequestration in the long term. We need a budget that injects certainty into our economy so that businesses have a good reason to invest and create jobs. We also need a budget that will fix our failing senior safety net programs. There was a great opportunity for Congress to finally repeal and replace a flawed Medicare physician payment system. Instead, the SGR will only be patched. My hat goes off to Congressman Ryan and Senator Murray for forging a bipartisan compromise, but we’re kidding the American people that this [is] a real budget deal.”
Schrader, the communications co-chairman, was the only member of the Blue Dog Coalition’s leadership team to vote against the deal — Policy Co-Chairman Jim Cooper of Tennessee and Administration Co-Chairman John Barrow of Georgia voted in favor — but he was not the sole member of the group to oppose it: Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif., also voted “no.”
Sanchez, in her own statement, called the vote a “difficult decision,” citing concerns similar to Schrader’s and adding that the lack of language providing for an extension of unemployment insurance aide was doubly troubling.
The 15 Blue Dogs voted who voted “yes” did so because the deal “would ease the impact of the budget sequester, prevent another government shutdown, and continue the country on a path of deficit reduction.” The coalition boasts a total of 18 members.
“It’s good Congress busted through gridlock and showed Democrats and Republicans can put their differences aside,” said Cooper in a statement accompanying the release. “But it’s no time to celebrate. This deal avoids America’s biggest problems. It’s time to get back to work, and Blue Dogs stand ready to fix our fiscal crisis.”
For more insights into the defections on the budget deal and what they might mean, see 218’s analysis from Thursday night.
Correction: 5:20 p.m.
This post has been updated to reflect that Schrader is one of three co-chairmen of the Blue Dog Coalition.