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U.S. Capitol (1846)
U.S. Capitol (1846)
If it's April, that means the House's budgetary process has sputtered to its conclusion, leaving us with a variety of votes on competing budget proposals that lets us take a closer look at the fissures within each party's caucus. For instance, last year's votes were particularly revealing, in that there were clear divisions within the GOP caucus over both the GOP-on-steroids Republican Study Committee budget, and over the continuing resolution that had it not passed would have resulted in a government shutdown. (That gave us our first real look, before any of the aggregators could weigh in, at the newly elected GOP class of '10, to help us see which of them were moderates, which were establishment foot soldiers, and which were off-the-reservation tea partiers, whom we at DKE took to calling the 'dystopians.')

There isn't as remarkable a distinction in the budget votes this year, and, at any rate, we've gotten much more familiar with the GOP freshmen and their intra-party allegiances. There are still a lot of interesting defections, though, so let's look at them budget-by-budget:

First, there's the GOP establishment's Ryan budget, which was the only budget to actually pass, 228-191. While Dems were unanimous against it, 10 GOPers also voted against. You might assume that it would be a list of the most moderate and/or fearful about re-election, but it really isn't:

Chris Gibson (NY), David McKinley (WV), Denny Rehberg (MT), Ed Whitfield (KY), Joe Barton (TX), Jimmy Duncan (TN), Justin Amash (MI), Tim Huelskamp (KS), Todd Platts (PA), Walter Jones (NC)
The only moderates here are Jones, the retiring Platts, and the freshman Gibson; Gibson does double-duty as the only GOPer here facing a tough fight in November (though Justin Amash's race may heat up). Rehberg probably also refused to walk the plank, given his tight Senate race in Montana (and that he also voted against the Ryan budget last year, probably for the same reason). Instead, we have some of the dystopian caucus voting against it, presumably for it not going far enough (Amash, a reliable "no" vote on just about anything, plus the strongly Club for Growth-oriented Huelskamp, and Duncan, an occasionally Ron Paul ally). Speaking of Paul, he was one of the three GOP non-voters, along with Paul Broun, another potential no vote from the right, and Connie Mack, who's not only busy on the Florida Senate campaign trail but probably also desperately wanted to avoid taking a stand one way or the other.

The main competing alternative from the Democratic leadership was the Van Hollen budget. This failed 262 to 163, with 22 Dems joining the Republicans.

John Barrow (GA), Dan Boren (OK), Ben Chandler (KY), Jim Cooper (TN), Jim Costa (CA), Peter DeFazio (OR), Joe Donnelly (IN), Gene Green (TX), James Himes (CT), Kathleen Hochul (NY), Ron Kind (WI), Larry Kissell (NC), Dennis Kucinich (OH), Daniel Lipinski (IL), David Loebsack (IA), Jim Matheson (UT), Mike McIntyre (NC), Collin Peterson (MN), Mike Ross (AR), Kurt Schrader (OR), Heath Shuler (NC), Peter Visclosky (IN)
As you can see, most of the "no" votes were from the core Blue Dogs, many of whom are either retiring (Boren, Ross, Shuler) or are highly vulnerable (Barrow, Chandler, McIntyre), as well as a few other Dems who aren't Blue Dog members but on the right flank of the Dem caucus and facing trouble in November (Hochul, Kissell). There were also a few purity votes from the left (Kucinich, naturally, and perhaps De Fazio as well, though he's become irascible enough lately it's hard to tell what angle he's coming from; Loebsack, though a member of the Progressive Caucus, is probably the least progressive Progressive and may be a vote against from the right), and a couple surprises from ambitious New Dems (Himes, Kind).

More over the fold...

The more rigorous Republican alternative to the Ryan plan (yes, there actually was one, believe it or not) was the RSC (or Garrett budget). This was actually a bridge too far even for the GOP leadership, who sided against it. It was defeated 285 to 136, but that was with 104 Republicans voting "no" (and no Dems voting yes).

You can click through to see the full list of the hardest of the hardcore Republicans, but what's more interesting here may be who flipped since the last RSC budget last year. You may remember that last year the Democrats pulled some shenanigans by voting 'present' instead of 'no' on the RSC budget, as a means of forcing more Republicans to go on record as supporting the ultra-draconian budget. This led to some last-minute vote corraling and switching by GOP leadership to keep the RSC budget from passing too. (In a way, this represents progress for the dead-enders, because they actually got a majority of the Republicans to express their true id and vote for their budget this year, though of course not a majority of the House.) So, we have two different pools here; first, the Republicans who switched from "no" on the RSC budget last year to "yes" this year.

Sam Graves (MO), Thaddeus McCotter (MI), Tim Murphy (PA), Steve Pearce (NM), Joseph Pitts (PA), James Sensenbrenner (WI), Mike Simpson (ID), Fred Upton (MI), Charles Boustany (LA), Louis Gohmert (TX), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA), Bill Shuster (PA), Lynn Jenkins (KS), Thomas Rooney (FL), Glenn Thompson (PA), Tim Griffin (AR), Scott Tipton (CO), Cory Gardner (CO), Sandy Adams (FL), David Rivera (FL), Randy Hultgren (IL), Larry Bucshon (IN), Kevin Yoder (KS), Renee Ellmers (NC), Tim Scott (SC), Scott DesJarlais (TN), Diane Black (TN), Stephen Fincher (TN), Blake Farenthold (TX)
This list runs the gamut from the leadership (McMorris Rodgers) to the freshmen (14, by my count), and from the moderate (Upton) to the looney-tunes (Gohmert). If there's a common thread, it appears to be that these were the ones who were willing to be good soldiers the first time around, in exchange for some leadership chits to be cashed in later, and were free to vote their conscience (or lack thereof) on this year's vote once it was clear that the Dems weren't going to do the "present" vote again.

And here's the list of Republicans who flipped the other direction, from voting 'yes' on the RSC budget last year to 'no' this year. I'm really not sure what happened with them, since none of them, with the exception of Jeff Denham, appear to be any sort of vulnerable going in to November. Maybe there were line items that they disapproved of this time that weren't present last time (it's worth noting that if you look at aggregators' scores, this group of Republicans are mostly ones who fall right in the boring middle of the caucus, neither moderates nor tea-bagging deadenders... though there are a few right-wing exceptions, like Miller and Smith). Or, maybe they just got tired of us calling them the 'dystopians.'

Spencer Bachus (AL), Ken Calvert (CA), John Carter (TX), Jimmy Duncan (TN), Elton Gallegly (CA), Kay Granger (TX), Jeff Miller (FL), Lee Terry (NE), Adrian Smith (NE), Jeff Denham (CA), Steve Southerland (FL), Mike Kelly (PA)
Dave Reichert was a non-vote on the old RSC budget but is now a "no;" on the other hand, Connie Mack, formerly a "yes," is now a non-vote.

Finally, there was a Democratic alternative to the alternative, the Honda budget (from the Progressive Caucus). This failed 346 to 78, with even a majority of Dems against it (107 "no" votes from Dems). Here are the 78 "yes" votes:

Rob Andrews (NJ)*, Karen Bass (CA), Xavier Becerra (CA), Earl Blumenauer (OR), Robert Brady (PA), Corrine Brown (CA), Michael Capuano (MA), Andre Carson (IN), Judy Chu (CA), Hansen Clarke (MI) *, Yvette Clarke (NY), William Clay (MO), Emanuel Cleaver (MO), Jim Clyburn (SC) *, Steve Cohen (TN), John Conyers (MI), Elijah Cummings (MD), Danny Davis (IL), Ted Deutch (FL) *, Mike Doyle (PA) *, Donna Edwards (MD), Keith Ellison (MN), Sam Farr (CA), Chaka Fattah (PA), Barney Frank (MA), Marcia Fudge (OH), Al Green (TX) *, Raul Grijalva (AZ), Luis Gutierrez (IL), Janice Hahn (CA), Alcee Hastings (FL), Maurice Hinchey (NY), Mazie Hirono (HI), Rush Holt (NJ), Mike Honda (CA), Sheila Jackson-Lee (TX), Hank Johnson (GA), Eddie Johnson (TX), Marcy Kaptur (OH), Dale Kildee (MI) *, Dennis Kucinich (OH), Barbara Lee (CA), John Lewis (GA), Zoe Lofgren (CA) *, Ed Markey (MA), Betty McCollum (MN) *, Jim McDermott (WA), Jim McGovern (MA), Brad Miller (NC) *, Gwen Moore (WI), Jim Moran (VA), Jerrold Nadler (NY), Grace Napolitano (CA) *, John Olver (MA), Frank Pallone (NJ), Bill Pascrell (NJ) *, Ed Pastor (AZ), Chellie Pingree (ME), David Price (NC) *, Laura Richardson (CA), Steven Rothman (NJ) *, Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA), Bobby Rush (IL), Timothy Ryan (OH) *, Linda Sanchez (CA), Jan Schakowsky (IL), David Scott (GA) *, Jose Serrano (NY), Louise Slaughter (NY), Pete Stark (CA), Paul Tonko (NY) *, Nydia Velazquez (NY), Maxine Waters (CA), Mel Watt (NC), Henry Waxman (CA), Peter Welch (VT), Frederica Wilson (FL), Lynn Woolsey (CA)
The votes are pretty much in line with membership in the Progressive Caucus; in fact, rather than asterisk the CPC members, I've asterisked the non-members. Not a lot of CPC members voted no (I see Tammy Baldwin, who may be making some nods toward the middle amidst her Wisconsin Senate run, Rosa DeLauro, Peter De Fazio, David Loebsack, Ben Ray Lujan, Jared Polis, John Tierney, and Benny Thompson).

A few other interesting observations: a stiff Dem primary does seem to force its participants to the left. Not only do we have NJ-09's Steve Rothman and Bill Pascrell voting 'yes' (after voting 'no' on last year's Progressive budget, and neither of them are CPC members), but same with CA-44's Janice Hahn and Laura Richardson... and even in the completed/averted primaries too (Kucinich and Kaptur, and David Price/Brad Miller in North Carolina). Also noteworthy: the Scott who's voting "yes" isn't who you'd probably think it is (Virginia's usually progressive Bobby Scott); instead, it's Georgia's David Scott, one of only two African-American Blue Dogs. (I'm wondering if he took notice of our rattling his cage on his poor voting record for his increasingly-dark-blue district?)

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Tue Apr 03, 2012 at 02:02 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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