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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Friday, October 23, 2015

House GOP Factions, 2015

At FiveThirtyEight, David Wasserman writes of the factional divisions that will challenge Paul Ryan as he becomes speaker-in-waiting.
The Cook Political Report has plotted House GOP members on this leadership/anti-leadership spectrum by assessing members’ records on five critical votes in 2015. On all but the election of the speaker, the GOP required at least some Democratic votes to obtain a majority needed for passage:
Share of House Republicans who backed leadership on five key 2015 votes
  • 87% — Election of John Boehner for speaker (Jan. 6)
  • 86% — Long-term fix for Medicare physician reimbursement rates (March 26)
  • 53% — Reauthorizing federal support for Amtrak (March 4)
  • 37% — Funding government without defunding Planned Parenthood (Sept. 30)
  • 30% — Funding Department of Homeland Security without overturning Obama’s immigration executive order (March 3)
Then we grouped members together according to their propensity to vote for or against party leadership on these votes, using a rubric devised by Cook National Editor Amy Walter in 2013:
House GOP factions in 2015
  • 51 “Dependables”: voted with leadership all five times
  • 39 “Allies”: voted with leadership four of five times
  • 51 “Helpers”: voted with leadership three of five times
  • 53 “Skeptics”: voted with leadership two of five times
  • 25 “Agitators”: voted with leadership one of five times
  • 11 “Rebels”: voted with leadership zero of five times
Note: 17 Republicans didn’t cast enough votes to be counted in one of the above groups.
Most House Republicans aren’t simply “establishment” backers or “tea party” rebels. In fact, the plurality in the middle belongs to what The New York Times has dubbed the “Vote No, Hope Yes” caucus. These Republicans vote strategically with the leadership just enough of the time to jockey for plum committee assignments, but they voted against Boehner enough to shield themselves from a tea party primary back home.