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Which House Members Voted Against Their Leadership on the Budget Deal

Both Democrats and Republicans bucked their party's leaders

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., was able to deliver enough of his GOP colleagues to pass the latest stopgap spending bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., was able to deliver enough of his GOP colleagues to pass the latest stopgap spending bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House’s early Friday morning passage of a bill to reopen government after a brief shutdown was not your typical budget deal vote.

Unlike similar measures Congress has passed in recent years to lift sequestration spending caps and suspend the debt ceiling, this one drew a limited amount of Republican opposition and minimal Democratic support.

Typically it’s just the opposite. A sizable number of House Republicans, usually a third to a half of the conference, would vote against such a deal. And the vast majority of Democrats would normally support it.

But only 29 percent of House Republicans voted against the budget deal Friday that hitched a ride on a six-week stopgap funding measure. And 62 percent of House Democrats voted against it.

“I see Republicans producing a bigger number than we have on big agreements traditionally, especially since 2010 taking the majority,” Chief Deputy Whip Patrick T. McHenry, R-N.C., said. “I feel like this is a bold move, and the difference maker is the White House and the president.”

Most Democrats opposing the bill did so because Speaker Paul D. Ryan would not give them a specific commitment to an immigration vote under a rule known as “queen of the hill” that allows debate on multiple measures with the one getting the most vote above the required simple majority threshold prevailing.

Watch: Ryan: I Don’t Want to Risk a Veto On Immigration Bill That Trump Doesn’t Support

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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in a floor speech before the vote said she wished Ryan would treat the House “with the dignity that it deserves by giving us an opportunity, just an opportunity” to work its will. Earlier in the week, she had called on him to “man up.”

On the other side

Despite Pelosi’s push against the bill for that reason — which included a record breaking eight-hour floor speech Wednesday — 73 Democrats still voted “yes.”

That included members like Rep. G.K. Butterfield who left a Thursday night Democratic Caucus meeting fired up about the plan to vote against the bill absent a commitment on immigration.

“Ryan’s either set for a government shutdown or he needs to talk to the leader and work out a deal,” the North Carolina Democrat said, predicting fewer than 40 Democrats would support the bill.

The members who voted “yes” effectively had Pelosi’s blessing, as she did not make a significant effort to whip against the bill. Many members say she wanted the bill to pass, despite her push for an immigration commitment, and that her public comments showing support for the spending part of the deal reflected that.

Watch: Watch: Pelosi Holds House Floor Seeking DACA Commitment From Ryan

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The exact reasoning so many Democrats supported the bill is hard to break down into coalitions, as there are a variety of reasons why Democrats would be inclined to support the budget deal.

It boosts nondefense spending by $63 billion above the sequestration caps in fiscal 2018 and by $68 billion in fiscal 2019. Some of that money is earmarked for priorities important to the party like opioid abuse prevention, veterans and infrastructure.

The Democratic supporters came from a variety of groups, like the centrist New Democrat Coalition, the Congressional Black Caucus, members of the Appropriations Committee and representatives from states standing to benefit from $90 billion in disaster aid.

Fiscal conservatives

Of the 67 Republicans who voted against the measure, the vast majority were fiscal conservatives who felt the amount of deficit spending in the bill — $320 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office — was far too much to swallow.

Ryan tried to play it off, saying mandatory spending on entitlements is the real driver of the debt, not discretionary. And President Donald Trump blamed the increased spending on the lack of a GOP supermajority.

“Without more Republicans in Congress, we were forced to increase spending on things we do not like or want in order to finally, after many years of depletion, take care of our military,” the president tweeted Friday morning.

Trump said in another tweet that the bill included “much waste in order to get Dem votes.”

Of note were the small number of Republicans willing to vote for fiscal discipline, particularly in the wake of the passage along party lines of a tax overhaul measure that is estimated to add $1.5 trillion to the deficit.

“If Nancy Pelosi was right about anything, it was that the fiscal hawk is becoming more and more of an endangered species in the Republican Party,” Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz said Wednesday after House GOP leaders briefed rank-and-file members on the budget deal. Gaetz voted “no” on Friday morning.

The 36-member, hard-right House Freedom Caucus, per an official position it took against the bill, largely voted against it, with roughly 27 voting “no.” (The Freedom Caucus does not publish its membership roster so it’s difficult to determine an exact count, although most members of the group are known).

Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker and about two dozen other members of that group, plus several Republicans who are in both the Freedom Caucus and RSC, also opposed the measure.

Some surprises

More surprisingly, four members of the moderate Tuesday Group voted “no:” Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, Tom Reed of New York, James B. Renacci of Ohio and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida.

“It’s going down the path of uncontrolled spending that continues to add to our national debt,” Reed said in a YouTube video explaining his vote.

While Reed said he ran for Congress in 2010 to fix the debt crisis, he was one of the tax writers who helped craft the deficit boosting tax bill. As a moderate Republican who co-chairs the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus it is a bit odd for Reed to vote against a budget deal that advanced many bipartisan spending priorities.

Renacci, who is running for Senate and hopes to take on incumbent Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown, said the bill did not help put the country on a path of a fiscal sustainability. Like Reed, he is on the Ways and Means Committee that helped write tax bill.

Renacci’s primary opponent, Mike Gibbons, came out against the budget deal. But Renacci has the support of the entire Ohio GOP delegation, including Sen. Rob Portman, who supported the bill.

Neither Herrera Beutler nor Ros-Lehtinen had public statements out explaining their positions.

With the measure including additional disaster relief funds for Florida, Ros-Lehtinen’s opposition was a bit surprising.

Gaetz and Reps. Bill Posey, Daniel Webster and Ted Yoho are other Florida Republicans who voted against the bill. Texas Republican Reps. Joe Barton, Louie Gohmert, Jeb Hensarling and John Ratcliffe of Texas, as well as California GOP Reps. Tom McClintock, and Dana Rohrabacher also voted “no” despite their state’s standing to benefit from the disaster aid.

Also notable is that three committee leaders — Small Business Chairman Steve Chabot of Ohio, Education and the Workforce Chairwoman Virginia Foxx of North Carolina and Hensarling, chairman of Financial Services — voted against the deal. Members with committee posts or other prime positions in the conference are typically expected to align with leadership.

Freshmen lawmakers also made up a significant contingent of those who took a stand against their leaders.

Watch: Rand Paul Objects to Expedited Vote on Budget Package

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In the GOP, 11 freshman voted against the bill: Reps. Ted Budd of North Carolina, John Curtis of Utah, James Comer of Kentucky, Warren Davidson of Ohio, Greg Gianforte of Montana, Tom Garrett of Virginia, Trey Hollingsworth of Indiana, Mike Johnson of Louisiana, Ralph Norman of South Carolina, and Lloyd K. Smucker of Pennsylvania.

On the flip side, eight Democratic freshmen voted in support: Reps. Lisa Blunt Rochester of Delaware, Salud Carbajal of California, Charlie Crist of Florida, Dwight Evans of Pennsylvania, Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, Al Lawson of Florida, Tom O’Halleran of Arizona and Jacky Rosen of Nevada.

Political considerations

A handful of Republicans’ more vulnerable members, as well as some of Democrats’ targets in their more expanded battlefield, voted against the deal.

The most vulnerable among them is likely Minnesota Rep. Jason Lewis. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates his likely rematch with Democrat Angie Craig a Tossup. Rohrabacher is another top Democratic target who voted “no.” His race is rated Tilt Republican.

Others, like Smucker and Kansas Rep. Kevin Yoder, face Leans Republican races. New York Rep. Lee Zeldin’s race is rated Solid Republican, but he’s another top Democratic target who voted “no.”

Democrats are also targeting some more conservative Republicans, whose no votes were more predictable. Virginia Reps. Dave Brat and Tom Garrett, for example, face several Democratic challengers.

Budd, their Freedom Caucus colleague, also voted no. He was narrowly outraised last quarter by his Democratic challenger, who had more cash on hand at the end of the year.

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Indiana Rep. Todd Rokita voted no, while fellow Hoosier and Senate primary opponent Luke Messer, a member of leadership, supported the deal. Their different positions on this vote could provide an interesting contrast in a primary that’s largely been consumed with personal attacks.

Most of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Frontline members, which represent their most vulnerable incumbents, supported the deal. They included California Reps. Ami Bera, Raul Ruiz and Carbajal, Illinois Reps. Cheri Bustos and Brad Schneider, Pennsylvania Rep. Matt Cartwright, Florida Reps. Stephanie Murphy and Crist, Connecticut Rep. Elizabeth Esty, New Hampshire Rep. Ann McLane Kuster, Iowa Rep. Dave Loebsack, Gottheimer and O’Halleran.

But four Frontline members sided with the majority of their caucus in opposing the deal. California Rep. Julia Brownley, New York Reps. Sean Patrick Maloney and Tom Suozzi, and California Rep. Scott Peters all voted no. Republicans would like to target conservative Democrat Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota. He also voted against it.

Three House Democrats who are running for Senate — Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Arizona Rep. Kyrsten Sinema and Nevada’s Rosen — all backed the deal.

Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman contributed to this report.

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