Meet the 'Party of No'

After listening to both parties lay out the dire policy and political effects of various budget proposals this month, a few dozen House members avoided getting branded with any of the spending documents this week.

Thirty-six House members — mostly vulnerable Democrats, but with some Republicans sprinkled in — didn't support a single budget in a set of six votes on the House floor Wednesday and Thursday. A few other members were absent for all six votes. The list includes 30 Democrats, 17 of them freshmen.

Six of the seven Democrats the National Republican Congressional Committee designated as "top targets" are among this new "party of no": Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick and Ron Barber of Arizona; John Barrow of Georgia; Collin Peterson of Minnesota; Mike McIntyre of North Carolina; and Jim Matheson of Utah. All of them represent GOP-leaning districts that each of the past three Republican presidential nominees has carried.

The list is also littered with newly elected Democrats likely to face strong challenges in 2014, including a quartet from California: Reps. Ami Bera, Julia Brownley, Raul Ruiz, and Scott Peters. A veteran Golden State Democrat, Rep. Jim Costa, also avoided supporting a budget this week. Many Democrats voted "present" instead of "no" on a conservative budget proposal in a parliamentary maneuver to try and force Republicans to support it.

Two Republican members from territory President Obama carried voted "no" on all six budget votes: Reps. Joe Heck of Nevada and Chris Gibson of New York.

Between proposals from the liberal Congressional Progressive Caucus, the conservative Republican Study Committee, Senate Democrats, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and more, this year's budgets were more about trying to define the edges of the debate than about reaching a solution. None of the proposals on the House floor this week occupied the middle ground that many of these battleground-district members have tried to cultivate. Several of the members decried this on Wednesday.

"Unfortunately, none of the budget proposals on the table this week reflect the type of bipartisan compromise that New Hampshire families expect and deserve," freshman Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H., said in a statement Wednesday. "Now that both parties have offered proposals, it's time for Republicans and Democrats to come together and negotiate a balanced, bipartisan plan that will reduce the deficit, help create jobs, and grow the economy."

"Folks in the 12th District are tired of Washington's false choices," Barrow said in his statement. "This week, our options are to raise taxes or cut Medicare benefits, and neither is necessary."

Heck aired a similar sentiment, releasing a statement Thursday saying he agreed with some of the Ryan budget's general principles, like balancing the budget and repealing "Obamacare," but that he didn't like the specific ways the budget tried to achieve those goals.

Here's the full list of House members who were in Washington this week but didn't support a budget proposal:

  • Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz.
  • Ron Barber, D-Ariz.
  • Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.
  • Rick Crawford, R-Ark.
  • Ami Bera, D-Calif.
  • Jim Costa, D-Calif.
  • Julia Brownley, D-Calif.
  • Raul Ruiz, D-Calif.
  • Scott Peters, D-Calif.
  • Patrick Murphy, D-Fla.
  • Joe Garcia, D-Fla.
  • John Barrow, D-Ga.
  • Daniel Lipinski, D-Ill.
  • Brad Schneider, D-Ill.
  • Bill Foster, D-Ill.
  • Bill Enyart, D-Ill.
  • Cheri Bustos, D-Ill.
  • Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa
  • Collin Peterson, D-Minn.
  • Joe Heck, R-Nev.
  • Ann McLane Kuster, D-N.H.
  • Grace Meng, D-N.Y.
  • Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y.
  • Chris Gibson, R-N.Y.
  • Bill Owens, D-N.Y.
  • Dan Maffei, D-N.Y.
  • Walter B. Jones, R-N.C.
  • Mike McIntyre, D-N.C.
  • Jim Langevin, D-R.I.
  • Jim Cooper, D-Tenn.
  • Ruben Hinojosa, D-Texas
  • Pete Gallego, D-Texas
  • Jim Matheson, D-Utah
  • J. Randy Forbes, R-Va.
  • David B. McKinley, R-W.Va.
  • Ron Kind, D-Wis.