Analysis or news about votes taken on the floor of the House.

Another Republican Heard From

Another Republican reader writes to point out that Eric Massa just voted for pay-as-you-go financing and against increasing the national debt.

Take a good look at that PAYGO vote. Not a single member of the "party of fiscal responsibility" voted for PAYGO.

Republicans are running the House like the House of Commons. They vote as a block, and they vote against the majority party, no matter if that vote is consistent with their principles. Along will all the other problems Tom Reed has, this is a big one. Republican enforcement of party line voting means that he has to give us a really good explanation of when and how he'll choose principle over party.

(I do understand that the debt ceiling vote was split to allow members to vote for PAYGO and for raising the debt ceiling. If anyone thinks that little footnote will keep Democrats from making this a campaign issue, you must be smoking something stronger than John Boehner's Barclay's.)

Better is the Enemy of Good Enough

True to his word, Eric Massa voted against final passage of healthcare reform in the House. Earlier, he voted against the Stupak amendment which restricted use of insurance for abortions.

In the comments and via email, some readers are wondering if this was an "insurance" vote which would help Massa's re-election among conservatives. I doubt it, for a couple of reasons.

First, Massa spent much of the last few months stating his opposition to the first House version of healthcare reform. The bill that passed last night is not fundamentally different from that first version. A last-minute reversal on Massa's part would have been surprising and difficult to defend, regardless of the politics of the final vote.

Second, the conservatives who don't agree with Massa on healthcare also don't agree with him on other issues, such as abortion. They'll have no problem finding a reason to vote against Massa, even if they appreciate his vote last night.

Finally, the election is a year away. By then, all the fussing and fighting over this bill will be over. As this McClatchy summary points out, there's nothing hugely radical in the bill. And even if the same measure passes in the Senate (a big "if"), it still won't go into effect until 2013. It's hard to see how last night's vote will be the pressing issue of the 2010 campaign.

The Second Most Important Vote of the Session

Eric Massa, and most other Democrats, voted for the economic stimulus package. All Republicans voted against.

Since the Senate bill is different from the House version, there will be another vote on the bill after it goes through conference. Swing-district Republicans who voted against this bill will probably vote for the "compromise" bill, and they'll highlight some change or other that supposedly tipped their hand.

John Boehner has apparently convinced endangered Republicans that this is a clever strategy. Randy Kuhl, a Boehner protegee, used it a few times on tough votes in the previous session. I've always felt that it was too clever by half.

Voters aren't moved by technicalities on tough legislation, and this bill is one of the biggest gut-checks to come around in recent memory. Our country is in big trouble, and we're facing the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Either you're for stimulating the economy with massive spending, or you're not. The bullshit expenditures that Republicans are bloviating about on talk radio (e.g., money for STD's !!) are nothing in comparison to the totality of this $800+ billion package. A few little additions or deletions are simply window dressing.

I think voters will see this for what it is: Republicans betting against the economic well-being of their country in hopes of a political advantage. I'm sad to see it, and I'm sad to say it, but I can come to no other conclusion.

The Most Important Vote of the Session

Today the House blocked an extension of the implementation deadline for digital TV. The same bill passed the Senate in a unanimous vote. Here's some background. Eric Massa voted for the extension.

If this stands, the "Nays" on this list who are in any kind of a competitive district are in serious trouble.

Two TARP Votes

Today, Eric Massa voted for a resolution which disapproves of further release of TARP funds.

Yesterday, Massa voted for a HR 384, which is a TARP reform package.

Two Votes: S-CHIP and Massa's First Vote Against Party

As promised, Eric Massa voted in support of S-CHIP. Also, he was one of only 15 Democrats to oppose a procedural vote allowing consideration of a bill to reform the TARP program. Since Massa supports TARP reform, it's likely that the bill up for consideration didn't meet his standards for TARP reform.

Also, I took down the vote stream on the left. It had a few problems. Once it's fixed, Massa's latest actions will be displayed automatically.

Massa's Labor Votes

The Buffalo News reports on Massa's votes for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Massa's First Votes

Eric Massa's first major vote of the 111th Congress occurred this afternoon, when he voted to support his party's rules package. The major change in this session's rules was a significant limitation in the use of the motion to recommit.

The motion to recommit requires that an amendment be added to a bill and the bill be reported back to the House. The sticking point is how quickly the bill will come back. In House jargon, "promptly" means that the bill will go back to committee and perhaps never be seen again. The alternative, "forthwith", means that the bill must come back to the floor in a few minutes for a vote on the amendment.

In the 110th Congress, Republicans would offer desirable amendments in their motions to recommit, but they would require that the motion contain the language "promptly", which killed a number of bills. The new rule, which Massa supported, requires that motions to recommit use the "forthwith" language.

Kuhl MIA

Randy Kuhl, who missed only 23 votes for the entire session, didn't vote in any of the 7 House roll calls yesterday.

Election Result Links

Here are all the county sites, some of which have election results tonight:

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