Friday, September 09, 2005

"The Dirty Near-Dozen": Principled Deficit Hawks?

At TMV, I listed the 11 Republican congressmen who voted against the Katrina emergency relief funds--labeling them "the dirty near-dozen." QandO took me to task, saying that the Representatives voted nay because they thought the money was being spent too frivolously and needed more oversight--not because they opposed Katrina relief by the government in principle. I responded that it seemed a bit specious for Republicans to go back to the deficit hawk mantra when they've been big spenders all around for the past few years. Someone pointed out, correctly, that this was too broad a brush--it was entirely possible that these folks had held their ground and had bucked their party on major spending bills. Not being one who likes to stand behind allegations without backing them up, I decided to check into the matter myself.

The 11 Representatives in question, Republicans all, are:
Rep. Joe Barton - TX

Jeff Flake - AZ

Virginia Foxx - NC

Scott Garrett - NJ

John Hostettler - IN

Steve King - IA

Butch Otter - ID

Ron Paul - TX

James Sensenbrenner - WI

Tom Tancredo - CO

Lynn Westmoreland - GA

I looked through several House spending and tax cut bills, to see which representatives, if any, voted "nay" on both Katrina and the "control" spending/tax cut bill. Since the point of this exercise was to see whether or not the 11 had voted against bills which they might support "in principle," but objected to reckless spending on it, I tried to find bills that were supported by Republicans generally, or by the entire House generally. Voting nay on those would showcase an ability to cross party lines to enforce spending discipline. I'll admit it's an inexact proxy, but with the time and resources I had I couldn't think of another. The names listed are the cross-overs (who voted nay on both the bill in question and Katrina Aid).

HR 2744--Agriculture Appropriations Bill: Flake, Paul, Sensenbrenner, Tancredo.

HR 2863--Defense Appropriations Bill: Paul.

HR 2360--Homeland Security Appropriations Bill: Paul.

HR 3010--Labor, HHS, Education Appropriations Bill: Flake, Otter, Paul, Tancredo.

HR 6--Energy Policy Act of 2005: Flake, Paul.

HR 8--Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act: NONE.

In case you're wondering about Rep. Paul, he's a definitive libertarian, and votes accordingly. Here are the scores for everyone:
Rep. Joe Barton - TX (0/6)

Jeff Flake - AZ (3/6)

Virginia Foxx - NC (0/6)

Scott Garrett - NJ (0/6)

John Hostettler - IN (0/6)

Steve King - IA (0/6)

Butch Otter - ID (1/6)

Ron Paul - TX (5/6)

James Sensenbrenner - WI (1/6)

Tom Tancredo - CO (2/6)

Lynn Westmoreland - GA (0/6)

Six of the eleven voted nay on none of the bills, two more on one, and one each for two, three, and five nays. So, I suppose I'll grant "principled status" to Representatives Paul and (since I'm feeling generous) Flake. For the rest, "spending discipline" seems to be a fair-weather friend, no?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Paul voted against so many liberal measures in his many years as a Congressman that it is disrespectful to label him as an unprincipaled deficit hawk

Jon Henke said...

Because John Kerry had been such a principled deficit/accountability hawk prior to his No vote?

Yeah...I don't think those who defended him but criticize these people can get off so easily. Whatever Kerry is, he's no principled Small Government voter.

Jonathan C said...

Jon,

I am not entirely sure to what you are referring to. Could you fill me in? John Kerry Co-sponsored an ammendement to INCREASE aid over and above the house version of the Katrina aide bill (http://www.congress.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/D?d109:13:./temp/~bssT6FL::).

Jon Henke said...

If--in the context of the argument I made--you're comparing the prior history of these 11 Republicans against their vote on this bill, it also seems relevant to compare Kerry's prior history against his vote on the $87 billion bill.

i.e., "he wasn't a deficit/accountability hawk prior to the $87b bill" was not an argument broached by Kerry's defenders at the time.