Strong Democratic Unity In Early House Votes

The first two pieces of legislation in the 110th Congress, have both passed--and how! Although a majority of Republicans voted against H.R.1, Implementing the 9/11 Commission Recommendation Act and H.R.2, Fair Minimum Wage Act, both not only passed, but passed with 100% Democratic unity and veto-proof majorities. Implementing all of the recommendations of the 9/11 commissioned passed with 298 Ayes, including 68 Republican defectors. Raising the minimum wage passed with an eye popping 315 Ayes, and 82 Republican defectors. If we can get similar numbers in the Senate, there won't be a damn thing Bush can do about this new legislation, except to start quacking.

During the Republican House majority, I often complained about the lack of voting cohesion among the Democratic caucus, at least compared to the Republican caucus. For the past four years, Republican unity on key votes was around 94-95%, while Democratic unity hovered only around 82-84%. However, if these two votes are any indication, being in the majority, and thereby being able to determine which bills are voted on, will allow Democrats to turn the tables on Republicans. Now, at long last, Democrats might be the more unified caucus than Republicans. In fact, right now, according to my Congressional Loyalty Scorecard for the 110th Congress, Democratic loyalty stands at 100%, while Republican loyalty is a paltry 63%. It is also fun to note that loyalty scores for the Progressive caucus, New Democratic caucus, and Blue Dog caucus are all currently identical: 100% down the line.

I know this won't last forever, but it certainly is fun while it lasts, and a good sign of things to come. Reports of Democratic disunity appear to be greatly exaggerated so far, as do reports of Republican unity in opposition. If Democrats vote together more often than Republicans, our majority in the House will effectively be much bigger than the 233-202 margin on paper.

Tags: congressional loyalty scorecards, Democrats, House 2008, Republicans (all tags)

Comments

13 Comments

Not bad!

I think my questions about the effectiveness of the Democratic leadership in the House have been answered. These same bills have to pass the Senate though, and that's going to be tricky...Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's reign of terror is about to begin.

by mihan 2007-01-10 01:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Strong Democratic Unity In Early House Votes

Of course, the people who complained in the past about the Democratic party's disorganization are now going to complain that the unanimity is a sign that Democrats are too partisan.

Sorry to be a poop.

by RickD 2007-01-10 02:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Strong Democratic Unity In Early House Votes

I think the people complaining about disunity in the past were Democrats, and the people complaining about unity in the future will be Republicans.

by bschak 2007-01-10 03:45PM | 0 recs
There's your trouble...

If we can get similar numbers in the Senate...

If Uncle Harry thought he could, he and Baucus would not be talking tax sweeteners for the Senate minimum wage bill (as per Jonathan's next door piece).

Plus - my piece - if 82 GOP vote for a clean bill in the House - again - why the sweeteners talk in the Senate?

by skeptic06 2007-01-10 02:05PM | 0 recs
Filibuster

The Senate is a different animal than the House.

by mihan 2007-01-10 02:10PM | 0 recs
Basically agree

The striking thing about the 82 GOP reps, apart from the sheer number, is that there's no room for any interpretation of their motive other than they wanted to be seen as supporting the minimum wage hike - even sans sweeteners.

If a similar proportion of GOP senators wished to demonstrate their support for the minimum wage hike, and they voted accordingly, a clean bill would pass handily with a clear margin above the 60 votes needed for cloture.

But they can demonstrate support for the hike, and get an economic rent on top, in the form of sweeteners, because of the doubt over securing cloture.

What's the ceiling on the value of sweeteners that will have to be given away? We're assuming that the hike-supporting GOP need to show their support in a RCV - so they need that vote to take place. If they ask for too much, Reid might just not bring it to the floor.

But, of course, in reality he can't do that. His need to pass the bill is greater than theirs to record their support for the hike.

Perhaps the ceiling is reached when the demands for sweeteners get so outrageous that Reid is provoked to bring a clean bill to the floor and make the GOP filibuster. (Bobby Byrd-style - not the usual stealth filibuster.)

That would be fun.

by skeptic06 2007-01-10 02:45PM | 0 recs
Not a lot of moderate Republicans left though

I'd hope Reid and Durbin would at least consider trying to pass a clean bill, definitely. But they would need 9 Republicans to vote for cloture, as well as every Democrat, without the vote of Tim Johnson. I'm not sure that will happen. You can count the number of Republican moderates and sympathetic mavericks on one hand.

by mihan 2007-01-10 04:23PM | 0 recs
Re: There's your trouble...

There's a simple answer for this.

The "sweeteners" are needed because the Rs know that they can keep enough of their Senate members home on a cloture vote.  By being able to bottle up an unadulterated bill in the Senate, they set their House members free to vote for the original bill if they think it will make a good campaign issue.

by Shocker Jim 2007-01-10 11:10PM | 0 recs
Re: There's your trouble...

Now that I re-read the thread, I think a similar point was made a post or two above this one.  I suppose that particular point can stand to be made twice.

by Shocker Jim 2007-01-10 11:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Strong Democratic Unity In Early House Votes

Props to Pelosi and Hoyer. Teamwork, uh, works! (and those who work will now be doing better and will be safer). Good day.

by Bob Brigham 2007-01-10 02:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Strong Democratic Unity In Early House Votes

Obstructionists!  Partisan!!

If Bush vetoes or McConnell filibusters, we pile on them relentlessly.

by bigdavefromqueens 2007-01-10 06:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Strong Democratic Unity In Early House Votes

Chris,
Cool observation and post amid the hoopla of our annual "new plan for 'victory'"day.

Has anyone looked at the pros / cons of a concurrent tax break for small businesses? Especially as proposed. In almost all cases, we're not talking about the rich.

NOT that I'm sayin' life wouldn't be better with a pure raise in the min.wage.

by Eqbal00 2007-01-10 08:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Strong Democratic Unity In Early House Votes

I'm with the clean bill folks. Make them filibuster a minimum wage increase.  Then we can start talking obstructionist republicans thwarting the will of the people.

They don't want these votes. Make them cast them. Make Collins, Sununu and Hagel to make some choices.

by jayackroyd 2007-01-11 09:02AM | 0 recs

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