The “old” House votes on the fiscal cliff

David Jarman posted an interesting analysis of the voting on the Senate Bill to dodge the fiscal cliff in which he credits Nancy Pelosi for getting it done.  Here are some of the highlights.

Tuesday’s House vote on the fiscal cliff is one of those rare votes where you don’t get a straight party line vote like most contentious votes, but one where the House shatters into pieces and the winner is the side that reassembles the most fragments. Of course, this time it was Nancy Pelosi who did that, putting together a strange coalition of most of the Dems (minus a few defections on the caucus’s left and right flanks), plus the bulk of the establishmentarian and/or moderate Republicans (including the vote of John Boehner himself, no “moderate” but certainly “establishment”).

On the Republican side, there were 85 yes and 151 no votes (with 5 non-votes, from Ann Marie Buerkle, Dan Burton, Sam Graves, Jerry Lewis, and Ron Paul). That’s too many votes to replicate the entire list, but there was a significant geographic dichotomy here, one that seems to support the larger idea that the GOP is increasingly becoming a regional rump party.

Look at the New York Times map.  They also have the entire roll call at this link.

Map of fiscal cliff votes

Of those 85 yes votes, only 13 were Republicans from the Census-defined “southern” states, and many of those were either ones with ties to leadership (ex-NRCC chairs Tom Cole and Pete Sessions, Appropriations Chair Hal Rogers) or ones with atypical, moderate districts in Florida (Mario Diaz-Balart, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Bill Young). Rodney Alexander, Kevin Brady, Howard Coble, Ander Crenshaw, John Sullivan, Mac Thornberry, and Steve Womack, most of whom are also pretty establishment-flavored, round out the list.

And how did the Democrats vote?

On the Democratic side, there were 172 yes and 16 no votes (with 3 non-votes, from Pete Stark, Lynn Woolsey, and John Lewis). Within those 16, though, there seem to be two camps: Xavier Becerra, Earl Blumenauer, Peter DeFazio, Rosa DeLauro, Jim McDermott, Brad Miller, Jim Moran, and Bobby Scott (most of whom are Progressive Caucus members) voting against it from the left, and John Barrow, Jim Cooper, Jim Matheson, Mike McIntyre, Colin Peterson, Kurt Schrader, Adam Smith, and Pete Visclosky (most of whom are Blue Dogs) voting against it from the right.

It may not be that simple, though: DeFazio has in recent years been one of the likeliest members of the Progressive Caucus to stray from the party line (for example, he voted against both the Progressive budget and even the leadership budget last year); it’s increasingly hard to tell if he’s becoming more conservative or if DeFazio, always irascible, has just gotten more willing to dig his heels in on bills that feel like half-measures. Adam Smith, on the other hand, has generally been a New Democrat establishment-type player, but he might be looking to remake himself a bit with his newly configured, much more liberal district, which now contains a slice of Seattle. And Moran and Visclosky, even though Moran (who represents northern Virginia) is significantly more liberal than Visclosky, are probably coming from the same mindset, whatever that might be; they’re tight, and are some of the last remaining members of that John Murtha/Norm Dicks appropriations clique that didn’t really fit within any of the Dem caucuses.

Jarman doesn’t talk about Bobby Scott and John Lewis but both are in the Black Caucus as well as in the Progressive Caucus.  Lewis just didn’t vote, but Bobby (who I knew from back in my Virginia Days) represents a district that touches Eric Cantor’s and he might also have had the conservative white voter from his district in mind.

Jarman leaves us with this to think about

Fifteen of the GOP “yes” votes were members who, either because of defeat or retirement, won’t be coming back (Charlie Bass, Judy Biggert, Brian Bilbray, Mary Bono Mack, Bob Dold, David Dreier, Jo Ann Emerson, Elton Gallegly, Nan Hayworth, Tim Johnson, Steve LaTourette, Dan Lungren, Todd Platts, John Sullivan, and Bob Turner). Twenty end-of-the-liners, however, voted “no” (Sandy Adams, Todd Akin, Steve Austria, Rick Berg, Quico Canseco, Chip Cravaack, Jeff Flake, Frank Guinta, Connie Mack, Sue Myrick, Mike Pence, Ben Quayle, Denny Rehberg, David Rivera, Bobby Schilling, Jean Schmidt, Tim Scott, Cliff Stearns, Joe Walsh, and Allen West), though I suspect some of the more establishment-flavored names on that list would probably have been willing to offer a “yes” if the vote had looked closer than it actually was.

Tomorrow starts a new Congress so we can’t really look to this vote when we are reading the tea leaves about the upcoming fight on the debt ceiling and the budget.  There will be more Democrats – enough so Nancy Pelosi won’t need so many Republican votes (I think it may be 21, 17 with vacancies) – if John Boehner can be persuaded to bring things to the floor.

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