House Republicans Vote for Popular Bills
Today’s WaPo fronts Jonathan Weisman’s “House GOP Shows Its Fractiousness In the Minority,” a shocking expose of some Republicans voting for some very popular programs being pushed by Democrats:
House Republican leaders, who confidently predicted they would drive a wedge through the new Democratic majority, have found their own party splintering, with Republican lawmakers siding with Democrats in droves on the House’s opening legislative blitz.
Freed from the pressures of being the majority and from the heavy hand of former leaders including retired representative Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), many back-bench Republicans are showing themselves to be more moderate than their conservative leadership and increasingly mindful of shifting voter sentiment. The closest vote last week — Friday’s push to require the federal government to negotiate lower drug prices for Medicare — pulled 24 Republicans. The Democrats’ homeland security bill attracted 68 Republicans, the minimum wage increase 82.
I’m by no means a Roy Blunt fan but he’s absolutely right to note that, “The Democrats will soon move from these issues that poll at 80, 90 percent to issues that really matter.”
In the House, the majority party only fails to enact legislation pushed by its leadership if the Leadership screws up. When the outcome is a foregone conclusion, Members are always free to vote their conscience and/or the way that would be most appealing in their Districts. Conversely, the Majority Leadership will twist arms of their caucus very hard on bills where they need every single vote.
My guess, too, is that Republicans who vote with Democrats on bills that are more-or-less split along party lines will change their vote if necessary to sustain a veto. Failure to do that would be a sign of “fractiousness.” What we’ve seen so far is business as usual. Usually, “dog bites man” isn’t news, let alone front page news.