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October 17, 2013 9:25 AM The Vote to Free the Hostages

By Ed Kilgore

It was a foregone conclusion that the bill to end the manufactured fiscal crisis would sail through Congress once Ted Cruz foreswore a filibuster and John Boehner abandoned the “Hastert Rule.” The actual votes were anticlimactic, but still interesting.

The eighteen Senate Republicans who voted against the bill were far short of what it would have taken to sustain a filibuster, obviously. But still, the “nays” included all three senators thought to be mulling a 2016 presidential campaign (Cruz, Paul and Rubio), plus one previously mainstream senator facing a right-bent primary challenge (Enzi).

The 285-144 House vote showed why abandonment of the Hastert Rule was necessary. Actually, the 87 Republican votes cast for the bill (as against 144 GOP “nays”) was higher than most people anticipated. But it showed that unreasonable conservatism remains a majority proposition in the House Republican Conference.

The only “yea” vote that surprised me was that of Rep. Tom Cotton of Arkansas. But I’m guessing he really, really wanted to get money fully flowing to the Pentagon. More predictably, all three House members from Georgia running for the Senate voted “nay,” as did the putative GOP Senate candidate from Louisiana, Bill Cassidy. Shelley Moore Capito, the likely GOP Senate nominee from WV, voted for the bill.

At TNR Nate Cohn has some interesting insta-analysis of the GOP vote patterns in the House, noting that it was a lot like the “fiscal cliff” vote in January.

The underlying divisions are similar to the fiscal cliff vote, as well. Last January, commentators marveled at the outlines of a GOP civil war, between north and south, tea party and establishment. Tonight, red state and Southern representatives voted overwhelmingly against the Senate compromise: 27-91 in the red states, 25-88 among Southern representatives. Republicans from the Northeast and Pacific voted “yes” by 30-16 margin; the blue states voted “yes,” 32-17.

Cohn also notes that House GOPers with distinctly less ideologically conservative voting records and those from very marginal districts voted overwhelmingly for the deal. But any way you slice it, the majority of the Conference voted to continue a government shutdown and a debt limit threat that were not working very well for the GOP or for the country.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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