Which Senate Republicans have voted the most often with the Obama Administration so far?
Yes, the Senate is actually voting on stuff. Not a lot of stuff, but there are perhaps seven nontrivial votes for us to chew over. These include confirmation votes for Tim Geithner and Hillary Clinton, the bailout extension, both a cloture vote and an up-and-down vote the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and both a cloture vote and an up-and-down vote on the Omnibus Public Land Management Act.
One Republican, Olympia Snowe of Maine, has taken the administration’s position on all seven votes, as indicated by a blue square in chart below. Two, David Vitter of Louisiana and Jim DeMint of South Carolina, have gone 7-for-7 in opposing the administration (as denoted in red). A couple more thoughts follow after the graphic.
After Snowe, two Republicans have supported the administration on 6 of 7 votes: George Voinovich of Ohio and Judd Gregg of New Hampshire. Voinovich, who always ranks as among the most moderate Republicans, isn’t really a surprise, but Gregg, who has a fairly conservative voting record, perhaps is. Such are the perils of running for re-election in a state that Obama won by 10 points.
All of the Republican women voted for Ledbetter, although they’re also a fairly moderate lot with the possible exception of Kay Bailey Hutchinson; it would have been interesting to see how Elizabeth Dole would have voted on the measure. A bunch of western senators supported the administration on the Land Management vote, which may reflect regional considerations rather than partisan ones.
Susan Collins has broken with Olympia Snowe twice, on Geithner and on TARP. I don’t know if anything in particular is driving this, although Snowe has two fewer years to go until re-election.
Arlen Specter has not been particularly helpful to the administration so far, nor really has John McCain. Lamar Alexander and the two senators from Utah, somewhat surprisingly, have been on some issues.
On the Ledbetter Act, there were quite a few more votes for cloture than there were for passage, a pattern that may tend to repeat itself on other fairly popular pieces of legislation. Might that include the stimulus? I don’t know.
But overall, there aren’t too many surprises here. If there’s news, it’s that Judd Gregg may have emerged as a top-tier potential filibuster-breaking vote.