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.


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