Represent!

Politics, government and public life for Southern California

UPDATE: California's GOP Congressional delegation split in shutdown vote

66823 full
66823 full

When the counting was done Wednesday night, the House voted 285-144 to end the standoff over the budget. Not a single Democrat voted against the continuing resolution and temporary lifting of the debt ceiling. But Republicans were split.

In fact, California’s 15 GOP members were split almost right down the middle: 8 yays, 7 nays.

Tulare Congressman Devin Nunes’ "yes" vote was no surprise. He’s been one of the most vocal critics of those on the more conservative side of his party, whom he has called “lemmings.” Nunes participated in Tuesday’s closed door negotiations in Speaker Boehner’s office.

Republican Congressman Paul Cook of Big Bear and Ken Calvert of Riverside also voted for the Senate compromise. The pair did not speak to reporters as they left the GOP conference meeting Wednesday afternoon, pushing their way into an elevator. Gary Miller of Rancho Cucamonga stopped to say he was voting "yes" and thought Speaker Boehner had done a “great job.” In a later statement, he explained his vote, saying the shutdown and threat of default “severely weakened job creation at a time when unemployment in San Bernardino County remains unacceptably high.”

Bakersfield’s Kevin McCarthy, the number three Republican in the House, followed his Speaker’s lead and voted to end the shutdown. So did a pair of House Committee chairmen: Vista’s Darrell Issa, head of Government Oversight, and Santa Clarita’s Buck McKeon, who heads Armed Services. In a statement, McKeon aimed a political jab at Democrats, saying they refused “to engage in bipartisan negotiations and neglect the opportunity to hash out real solutions to the problems threatening the prosperity of our country, instead choosing to use the shutdown to inflict pain on workers, critical programs, our veterans and our military families in hopes of shifting political blame.”

McKeon and Democrats agree on one thing: both want to reverse mandatory sequestration cuts, though Democrats want to restore funding for domestic programs and McKeon wants to stop cuts to the Pentagon.

Also voting yes was the Central Valley's David Valadao. He’s a member of the 16 member bipartisan freshman group called the United Solutions Caucus. Valadao was a co-signer on their endorsement of the Senate compromise, saying, “no legislation can be all things to all people, but we cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

So will a "yes" vote help in the midterm elections? Political analyst Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a senior fellow at USC's Price School of Public Policy, says California's new primary system means — for Republicans in competitive districts — moderation can be an advantage. "Some of them are betting on a yes vote to help them make it through the top two primary to a general election," she says, "perhaps having a better chance at [voters who declare] no party preference and moderate Democratic voters."

But it also makes those GOP members who voted with Democrats a target.

The emails started flying right after Wednesday night's vote. The libertarian group Americans for Limited Government sent missives "blasting" four California Republicans — Devin Nunes, Buck McKeon, Gary Miller, and Kevin McCarthy — alleging they were "nowhere to be found in the fight to defund Obamacare."

California's GOP "no" votes came from John Campbell of Irvine, Duncan Hunter of El Cajon, Doug LaMalfa of Redding, Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce of Fullerton, Dana Rohrabacher of Huntington Beach, Tom McClintock of Granite Bay and Jeff Denham of Fresno. 

Those "no" votes can also be a political liability in a blue state like California. UC Riverside political science professor Shaun Bowler says the California GOP already has a reputation for being obstructionist in the state legislature. And as a party, it hasn't yet come to terms with demographic changes in the state. He says voting to drive the government into default doesn't help its image. "The usual rule is when you're in a hole, stop digging," he says. "But the state GOP still seems to be digging a hole for itself."

Congressman Campbell is retiring. But Professor Bowler says there's some good news for the others running for re-election: "The poll numbers look bad now for the GOP, but this time next year, a lot of people will have forgotten this."

The shutdown is still likely to cast more than a shadow over next year's midterm elections, says Jeffe. "It may well have a greater influence in gaining contributions than in changing minds," she says. "But you need the money to work toward changing those minds." Money that can get out the vote…and pay for political ads that remind voters over and over again about the government shutdown of 2013.

It could be a rocky mid-term election. Americans are often mad at Congress, though they usually like their own member. But a Pew Research Center survey, taken in the middle of the debt crisis standoff, shows nearly four out of ten voters are ready to shove their member of Congress out the door. And with most Americans blaming the GOP for the shutdown, California's Republican delegation, which lost four seats in Congress in 2012, has the most to lose.

HOW THEY VOTED:

Representative Yes No
Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) X  
Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles) X  
Ami Bera (D-Sacramento) X  
Julia Brownley (D-Ventura) X  
Ken Calvert (R-Riverside) X  
John Campbell (R-Irvine)   X
Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara) X  
Tony Cardenas (D-North Hollywood, Sun Valley) X  
Judy Chu (D-El Monte) X  
Paul Cook (R-Barstow) X  
Jim Costa (D-Fresno) X  
Susan Davis (D-San Diego) X  
Jeff Denham (R-Fresno)   X
Anna Eshoo (D-Palo Alto) X  
Sam Farr (D-Santa Cruz) X  
John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek) X  
Janice Hahn (D-San Pedro) X  
Mike Honda (D-San Jose) X  
Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) X  
Duncan Hunter (R-El Cajon)   X
Darrell Issa (R-Vista) X  
Doug LaMalfa (R-Redding)   X
Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) X  
Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) X  
lan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) X  
Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento) X  
Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) X  
Tom McClintock (R-Granite Bay)   X
Buck McKeon (R-Santa Clarita) X  
Jerry McNerney (D-Pleasanton) X  
Gary Miller (R-San Bernardino) X  
George Miller (D-Martinez) X  
Grace Napolitano (D-Santa Fe Springs) X  
Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-Ontario) X  
Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) X  
Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) X  
Scott Peters (D-San Diego) X  
Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach)   X
Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Commerce) X  
Ed Royce (R-Fullerton)   X
Raul Ruiz (D-Palm Springs) X  
Linda Sanchez (D-Lakewood) X  
Loretta Sanchez (D-Anaheim) X  
Adam Schiff (D-Glendale) X  
Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) X  
Jackie Speier (D-San Mateo) X  
Eric Swalwell (D-Livermore) X  
Mark Takano (D-Riverside) X  
Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena) X  
David Valadao (R-Hanford) X  
Juan Vargas (D-Chula Vista) X  
Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) X  
Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles) X  
blog comments powered by Disqus

Enjoy reading Represent!? You might like KPCC’s other blogs.

What's popular now on KPCC