Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 13, 2016

Many Existing and Would-Be GOP Leaders Opposed Budget Deal

Lee, Rubio, Cruz

Two 2016 hopefuls — Rubio, center, and Cruz, right — voted against the deal to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

All of the congressional Republicans with viable 2016 presidential ambitions voted against the bill enacted overnight to reopen the government and increase federal borrowing. So did two members of the Senate GOP leadership and three members of the party’s House leadership. The opponents also included a majority of the Republicans who are chairmen of House committees and most of the members of the House GOP caucus who aspire to election to the Senate next year.

While the Democrats were unified in their support for the legislation, a review of Wednesday night’s back-to-back roll calls in Congress reveals just how divided the titular and putative leaders of the GOP remained after their crusade to undermine Obamacare by shutting down the government and threatening default came up essentially empty-handed — but nonetheless spawned a serious erosion of public support for the party’s current course.

In the House, only 38 percent of Republicans supported the legislation, despite efforts during the evening to assemble the sort of narrow “majority of the majority” that would have given Speaker John A. Boehner some degree of face-saving comfort

In the Senate, by contrast, only 39 percent of the Republicans opposed a deal that was assembled by their floor leader Mitch McConnell, along with Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The four member of Congress who are considered serious contenders for the Republican presidential nomination all opposed the stopgap bill: Ted Cruz of Texas, who almost singlehandedly propelled the party’s confrontational strategy farther than many GOP leaders planned to take it; his Senate colleagues Marco Rubio of Florida and Rand Paul of Kentucky; and House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, the party’s 2008 candidate for vice president, who this morning helped to open the formal negotiations called for under the deal toward some sort of deficit reduction — or at least sequester modification — agreement in the next two months.

The top Senate GOP budget negotiator, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, was among the 18 “no” votes in that chamber, as was the party’s ranking member on the Senate Appropriations Committee, Richard C. Shelby of Alabama. The other most powerful dissenters in that caucus were Minority Whip John Cornyn, who in the run-up to his re-election campaign in Texas next year is under significant pressure to echo Cruz’s fiscal views, and the chief deputy whip, Michael D. Crapo of Idaho.

The members of the GOP leadership who broke with Boehner were Republican Policy Committee Chairman James Lankford of Oklahoma, Conference Secretary Virginia Foxx of North Carolina and, perhaps most notably, Greg Walden of Oregon, who as chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee is in charge of recruiting and underwriting the party’s House candidates in the 2014 midterms.

A dozen of the 21 committee chairmen also spurned the bill. In addition to Ryan, the most notable among them is Jeb Hensarling of Texas, who holds the gavel at Financial Services but was the House GOP chairman of the 2011 supercommittee that failed in its search for a budget deal that would have prevented the across-the-board spending cuts that took hold in March.

The others were Mike Conaway of Texas (Ethics), Sam Graves of Missouri (Small Business), Robert W. Goodlatte of Virginia (Judiciary), Frank D. Lucas of Oklahoma (Agriculture), Michael McCaul of Texas (Homeland Security), Jeff Miller of Florida (Veterans Affairs), Candice S. Miller of Michigan (House Administration) , Ed Royce of California (Foreign Affairs), Pete Sessions of Texas (Rules) and Lamar Smith of Texas (Science).

The four members running for the Senate who voted “no” were Louisiana’s Bill Cassidy, who is expected to mount a serious challenge to Democrat Mary L. Landrieu’s bid for a fourth term, and all three Georgians vying for the GOP nomination for that state’s open seat: Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey and Jack Kingston.

The two Senate aspirants who voted “yes” were Shelly Moore Capito, the front-runner for West Virginia’s open seat, and freshman Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who decided not to differentiate himself on this matter from incumbent Mark Pryor, his opponent in what’s likely to be one of 2014’s hottest contests.

Since every Democratic vote was a “yes,” that means the deal got support from both the party’s House members who are seeking open Senate seats, Gary Peters of Michigan and Bruce Braley of Iowa. It also goes for all of the two-dozen or so Democrats who look at least somewhat vulnerable to losing their House seats next year.

But the bill also won the support of 18 of the 22 House Republicans who, at this still relatively early stage, look most vulnerable to defeat in next year’s general election — a reflection of the political reality that the independents who decide close elections have no use at all for the gridlock that has resulted from the pursuit of ideological purity. The dissenters were all members of the class of tea party conservatives who helped the GOP take back the House in 2010: Tom Reed of New York, Steve Southerland II of Florida, Jeff Denham of California and Bill Johnson of Ohio.

  • Layla

    This Administration, this Congress continues to spend this country into bankruptcy at a time when millions are unemployed and jobs are being sent overseas in record numbers. If this is not stopped and reversed, we are going to look a lot like Greece within a couple of years. This is NOT going unnoticed by the voters.

    No politician is going to escape the blame for this and neither will this President.

    • pitch1934

      As far as getting the economy back on track is concerned, it has been proven many times over that austerity programs do nothing to increase he job market or to put dollars into the pockets of the unwealthy. You don’t seem to take into account that the “conservatives” enacted a Medicare benefit for prescription drugs that was not in the budget in 2003. Also, we were involved in two costly wars, in blood and dollars, that were not on the budget. We have to pay for them. Obama put them where they belong.

      • Layla

        This is where you make your mistake. Most Americans are sick to death of both parties. We are not interested in putting our hard earned dollars into the pockets of those who refuse to EARN them. We ARE trying hard to survive on 29 hours per week, and keep our homes, feed our families. You have taken everything we have and continue the spending as if these problems do not exist.

        Who is going to pay for all this? Tax away, you can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip. Welfare rates are soaring under THIS Administration, THIS Congress. If you cannot see that, you are the problem.

        • pitch1934

          You just absolutely refuse to acknowledge the truth.

          • Layla

            I am LIVING THE TRUTH. Come out here to America and see how we are “thriving”.

            You are destroying our economy. Try getting out of the DC metro area once in awhile.

          • pitch1934

            No can do. I am an old, retired, handicapped ex-worker. I sweated and hurt and burned and bled many times in my life. I just like to speak my piece. The people draining this country on Wall St. and the Mahogany rows of a great many of the corporations bleeding us dry. I don’t have much money, but I can fight them with thoughts.

          • atronetti

            Keep on fighting them.

          • Layla

            Are you a retired federal worker?

          • pitch1934

            I was everywhere, private sector, army, private sector, postal. Did it all.

        • atronetti

          But you can squeeze a bit more out of the super wealthy, the only group that increased in wealth during the recession (thank you Bush tax cuts on the wealthy). They did not reinvest the money, but hoarded it. Check out the numbers on that. Yet, people keep electing the folks who promise that the rich (job creators) will, in fact, create jobs. They didn’t, even though they had the money to do so, thanks to us paying the same taxes and them paying less. So, let’s start by restoring taxes to where they were under Clinton, when the Country was reducing the deficit and balanced budgets.

          • mabramso

            More of the politics of coveting other people’s money …

            Tell you what. Let’s do EXACTLY what you suggest — let’s go back to the Clinton tax rates. We can start by removing ALL taxes that are in the ACA.

          • Jesse4

            Coveting, and trying to get, other people’s money is the whole basis for capitalism.
            What are you, a commie?

          • mabramso

            Are you truly incapable of distinguishing between coveting and capitalism?

          • Layla

            And how do the wealthy repay us? By reducing us all to 29 hours per week. Can you live on that? Not many can.

        • Beeker

          I’ll have to disagree with your argument because you place the blame on the current administration when it has been going on long before it. A part of that comes from the states pushing to milk the Federal Government.

      • notyranny47

        Let me ask you a question. If you take your credit cards and add and add and add HUGE amts on them, but are able to pay only the interest, they’re piling up so high — what will the credit card company do? Here’s a nice visual to show where we really are. Do you think this is the way to prosperity? Who’s going to pay for it? Would love to know your thoughts.

        • Jesse4

          Just goes to show how much better an idea “tax and spend” is over the Republican “borrow and spend” concept.
          With tax and spend you don’t end up paying massive amounts of taxes on ever-compounding interest, which buys you nothing at all.

        • Beeker

          There is a flawed thinking on how an individual and a country manages its debt where the individual does not affect the country as a whole while the Federal Government does.

      • atronetti

        And, at the time the GOP entered into two wars and enacted the prescription drug benefit, it cut taxes on the wealthy, promising us that the wealthy would invest the funds in the country and jobs. The wealth did neither. The stats show that the wealthy overwhelmingly hoarded the funds and sent some off shore.

      • mabramso

        Conservatives did no such thing. Republicans did. There is a big difference.

        • pitch1934

          I stand corrected.

      • voltaic

        Don’t forget those two huge GOP tax cuts that made a 2000 budget surplus under Clinton into a 2001 budget deficit under GWB.

    • Jesse4

      “Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter”

      • Layla

        He didn’t ruin our credit rating. Obama will eventually intentionally default.

  • Gorgegirlz

    I keep reading that Cruz is a 2016 Presidential contender. How? He was born in Canada.

    • notyranny47

      He’s a dual citizen of America and Canada. He either already has, or is going to, renounce his Canadian citizenship.

    • mabramso

      According to the law, there are ONLY two classes of citizens — natural-born and naturalized. Even though Cruz was born in Canada, his mother was an American citizen, so under the law, so is Cruz. And since Cruz was not naturalized, he is considered natural-born. Therefore, he is eligible to run for President. The same was true of George Romney in 1968 (who was born in Mexico) and McCain (who was born in Panama), and the same is even true of Obama IF you believe he wasn’t born in Hawaii (that’s why the birther movement never made any sense to me).

      • pitch1934

        It was all a distraction. After all, a black guy was president. There are many millions of people that are still shuddering at that thought.

  • William Barr

    Any reason why the commentary doesn’t mention the votes of Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy, both of whom in earlier press pieces apparently promised to support passage of the legislation? Unless I’ve missed something important, of course.

    • Beeker

      Both Cantor and McCarthy both voted for HR 2775. The writer made the exception of those who broke with the GOP leadership meaning the among the leadership , they voted to support the legislation.

  • jrconner

    Montana’s GOP Rep. Steve Daines, who’s expected to run for the Senate seat held now by retiring Democrat Max Baucus, also cast an Aye vote. Give how Daines has voted up until now, his Aye represented a deathbed conversion.

  • voltaic

    Funny stuff. Most crazed GOP presidential candidates were willing to see the economy crash and the world reserve currency damaged in order to take a political stand that was ruinous…. Brilliant!

  • Nick10

    The House vote. The GOP is divided.

    Dems 198 46%
    GOPs 87 20%

    Dems 0
    GOPs 144 34%

    …another six who were either not voting or were empty seats for the House total 435.

  • CashMcFlow

    Working with others to get things done in Congress means,” the GOP must cave to the Democrats!”

  • Socialism is Organized Evil

    In this video, we find the least popular Congressional leader – Harry Reid – callously brushing off the serious concerns of DC Mayor Vincent Gray:

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