Who voted for the budget bill?

December 12, 2013

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who helped broker the bipartisan budget agreement. (AP)

It was never a question of if the bill would pass, just who might vote against it.

The House voted by an overwhelming margin Thursday night to pass a two-year budget agreement, the first time in years of strident fiscal fights that a spending plan passed with a majority of votes from both parties.

The outcome appeared certain Wednesday as members of both parties signaled they would support the deal -- many of them reluctantly -- in the spirit of bipartisan compromise and congressional productivity.

So what was the vote breakdown? Let's take a look:

Final tally: 332 to 94.

How many Republicans voted yes: 169.

How many Democrats voted yes: 163.

How many Republicans voted no: 62

How many Democrats voted no: 32

How many members didn't vote: 9.

Votes Notes: This was one of those votes where members of both parties cross their arms, stare up at the vote board and wait as long as possible to make a decision, because first they want to see how the other side is voting. Most lawmakers cast their votes in the closing moments, while the bill's lead sponsors and loudest opponents cast votes almost immediately.

As anticipated, most of the "no" votes came from the opposite political poles -- the cast-iron conservatives and dozens of mostly urban liberals.

The GOP opposition was led by Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), head of the Republican Study Committee, or the chamber's conservative caucus.

"We have to make stronger structural reforms to the mandatory spending programs that drive our debt,” Scalise said in a statement after the vote.

Scalise was joined by some of the most outspoken and renegade conservatives, Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Tom McClintock (R-Calif.).

Democratic opposition was led by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), a San Francisco liberal who was the first Democrat to cast a "no" vote. She was joined by several other liberals, including Reps. Sander Levin (D-Mich.), Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) (yes, they're sisters) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), among others. Several black lawmakers, led by Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio),voted no because there was no extension of unemployment insurance to millions of Americans.

There was a notable split in the Democratic leadership ranks as House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) voted against the spending plan. In a floor speech before the vote, Hoyer said the deal "does not deal with the fundamental issue of long-term fiscal stability," fails to extend unemployment insurance, and once again places a financial burden on new federal employees.

Not only was Hoyer the only top leader to vote against the deal, he also was the only House lawmaker from the Washington, D.C., region -- home to hundreds of thousands of active and retired federal employees -- to vote no. All other suburban Washington lawmakers of both parties voted in support of the budget deal, because they were relieved the deal didn't more harshly affect the federal workforce.

Among 2014 Senate candidates, all three Republicans running in the Georgia primary -- Reps. Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey and Jack Kingston -- voted no.  Ditto Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who's running to unseat Sen. Mark Pryor (R-Ark.). But Reps. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W. Va.) and Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), who are running for Senate seats in their states, voted yes.

Finally, it's worth noting that House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) broke with House norms Thursday night after having another "Bulworth"-like moment earlier in the day. Boehner not only voted for the budget agreement, but also rose to the speaker's chair and banged the gavel to announce the final vote tally. Historically, the speaker only casts votes on the most important pieces of legislation, or to make a political point. And, despite being speaker, Boehner rarely presides over the chamber.

Ed O’Keefe is a congressional reporter with The Washington Post and covered the 2008 and 2012 presidential and congressional elections.
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Chris Cillizza · December 12, 2013