Democrats Reject Democrat Budgets
Yesterday, House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) led his fellow Democrats down what has become a predictable path: vote “Present” on the Republican Study Committee’s (RSC) budget amendment. Under the headline “Dems force GOP to vote down RSC budget,” The Hill explained the strategy:
Democrats voted present to force more Republicans to vote against the Republican Study Committee’s (RSC) budget. Democrats hoped that by getting their members to vote present instead of against the budget, it might be approved by the House.
That would have allowed Democrats to train their campaign ads on the RSC budget, which would boost the Social Security age to 70 and cut Medicare benefits, including for people now 59 years old. The RSC blueprint would balance the budget in four years.
Democrats urged their members in an email just before the ballot to vote present.
“Voting ‘present’ takes Democrats out of the equation so the American people can see just how extreme the Republican conference truly is,” the Democratic email said.
If you cannot win the argument, you may as well invoke the word “extreme” and vote present. But Hoyer and his colleagues should be careful when throwing stones in a glass house.
Yesterday, lawmakers in the House had the opportunity to vote on four separate Democrat-drafted budgets. Although those votes did not make headlines, they did reveal massive dissension – perhaps even extremism – within the Democrats’ ranks.
Amazingly, 26 House Democrats – 13% of the entire caucus – voted against all four budgets. Were these 26 House Democrats saying Senator Patty Murray’s budget was too extreme? If so, surely the Congressional Progressive Caucus Budget was too extreme. Was Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s (D-MD) budget extreme? And how about the Congressional Black Caucus Budget?
Nine voted for just one of the four Democrat budgets and another 44 could only support two of the budgets. Widespread Democrat support, especially for the Progressive Caucus Budget and the Black Caucus Budget, was hard to come by. Overall, less than half – just 95 out of 200 – of House Democrats voted for every single Democrat-drafted budget.
Glass houses, Mr. Hoyer.