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Voting With Pelosi

October 6, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Hopefully one of the effects of easier access to government information and the kind of detailed, independent reporting that you can get on the internet is that when people hear politicians called out on their voting record, they’re less willing to just accept what they hear as a fact. If you’ve spent any time looking at congressional vote data or reading quality blogs on Congress, you’d know that nothing is ever straight-forward.

Senators can vote in favor of procedural motions that set a bill up for passage and then vote against the actual passage of the bill just so they can claim they opposed it. Representatives can vote to defund the Iraq war and then moments later vote in favor of more war funding. The minority party can force votes on issues like child pornography and immigration in order to kill a totally unrelated bill. This stuff happens all the time, and it serves no substantive purpose other than to confuse us voters.

The National Republican Congressional Committee is running a new series of ads against moderate Democrats in districts they hope to win in November. Their strategy: link the Democrats to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi [D, CA-8].

Frank Kratovil [D, MD-1] wants you to think he’s independent, but he voted to make Nancy Pelosi speaker and voted with Pelosi 84 percent of the time,” one ad states, citing the Washington Post’s vote database as its source.

First off, the claim is simply not true. Kratovil votes with most Democrats 84% of the time, but he votes with Nancy Pelosi much less often than that.

But enough wit the nitpicking. The real problem with the 84% claim is that about 50% of the votes factored into that number are on things like naming post offices, honoring famous people, and congratulating sports teams. The Republican Leader, Rep. John Boehner [R, OH-8], voted for this stuff too. Perhaps Congress shouldn’t be voting on this stuff, but, since they are, the fact that Kratovil votes with most Democrats on these bills probably isn’t too big of a deal to most of his constituents.

The fact is, when you take out all the fluff legislation on naming post offices and such, the data shows that Kratovil votes with Pelosi about 66 percent of the time. How do I know this? Because we have built a tool on OpenCongress that compares the voting records of any two members of Congress on all substantive legislation. It excludes all non-binding resolutions and includes all important amendment votes. (From any senator or reprsentative page on OC, just scroll down about half way and you’ll see the option to “compare votes” to any other member of Congress.)

Using this view you can start to get some actually meaningful information about how members of Congress have voted. For example, you can see that Kratovil bucked Pelosi and the majority of Democrats over the past couple years by voting against health care reform, against the stimulus bill, against setting a withdrawal timeline from Afghanistan, and in favor of ending TARP. Those are some immensely important votes, and any vote analysis that doesn’t highlight votes like those over votes on naming post offices belies the true history of what’s been happening in Congress.

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  • KevinR 10/06/2010 7:05am

    I’d like to see how often Boehner and Pelosi voted together, ignoring the substantive issue. Only because I think it would be hilarious, especially if it broke 50%. Hopefully it could be used to show how daft these kinds of comparisons are.

  • Comm_reply
    donnyshaw 10/06/2010 8:20am

    Here’s the Pelosi/Boehner vote comparison:

    They have a voting similarity of 23%, and have voted together on things like the TARP bailout and giving retroactive immunity to telecoms that assisted the Bush administration in its warrantless wiretapping program.

    This doesn’t include all the votes on naming post offices and such. If it did, it may well be over 50%.

  • bugsy166 10/06/2010 7:23am
    Link Reply
    + -1

    (PAGE 1)

    The government is so far gone and corrupt it would take lots of RALLIES and revolts to turn this COMPLETELY around.

    It could very well be Gods punishment because our government has become so complacent, doing things that they know will cause future chaos and even having the gull to take Gods name out of everything and we the people have sit back and allowed it to happen.

  • bugsy166 10/06/2010 7:24am
    Link Reply
    + -1

    (PAGE 2)
    It seems that most politicians have become evil MANIPULATIVE, GREEDY and CORRUPT and even scandalous. Think about it, every time you turn around the past several years some elected official is on the news caught up in some kind of scandal or indirect racketeering. This is all by design and I am afraid we haven’t seen anything yet.

    ‘Now’ REPUBLICAN Senators are voting in favor of procedural motions that set a bill up for passage and then vote against the actual passage of the bill just so they can claim they opposed it, this way they can make the other party look bad. Its beginning to seem that all the REPUBLICAN PARTY goes to work for is to try and make the DEMOCRATS look bad!

  • bugsy166 10/06/2010 7:24am

    (PAGE 3)
    It is so obvious when hard working folks like us have lost our jobs through no fault of our own, then our credit becomes ruined for life, but yet the government can hand over billions of dollars to banks, Wall Street, and the big automakers because they all are at FAULT for screwing up. And do you think their credit and persona is ruined for life?

    I guess not since you see them on TV. ads intentionally rubbing in our faces about how good they have it NOW. This alone should be enough to never trust THE REPUBLICAN PARTY in our government.

  • bugsy166 10/06/2010 7:25am

    (PAGE 4)
    We have been funding a 9 year war, and when we finally leave Afghanistan do you honestly think they will have caught Bin Laden? No! Do you think the Taliban will do what they always did in their countries? Yes! Do you think when the Taliban start to fight their own government without us there that they will blame the United States and start a terrorist’s war with us? Most certainly.

    Why in the hell are we giving Afghanistan 7.5 billion dollars of American taxpaying money over 5 years? I don’t want the money I worked for going to a back stabbing terrorists foreign country…

  • bugsy166 10/06/2010 7:28am

    (PAGE 5)
    Why are we sending money to Greece and building schools in other countries when we need to help our own first? Where in the Declaration of Independence or Constitution does it say we must save the world!It does say that the people of this country have an obligation to change the government if it is not working and that is why weve been forced to developed the 99ers Union!!!

    Just heard that our government just spent 6 million dollars on how ants communicate yesterday money that could have given all the 99ers who states are over 7.5 percent a weeks’ salary of 2 to 3 hundred.

  • bugsy166 10/06/2010 7:28am

    (PAGE 6)

    Mitch McConnell easily pushed a REPUBLICAN bill through spending 350 million dollars to study what kind of effects of methane gas coming off cow crap patties has on the atmosphere. I wonder how many 99ers could have used this money as desperate emergency aid.

    What is wrong with this picture?

    All our politicians should be brought on charges of treason; they really don’t care about the people in the GOOD O’ USA ANYMORE!

  • travelsmile 10/06/2010 9:49am

    This way they can make the other party look bad. Its beginning to seem that all the REPUBLICAN PARTY goes to work for is to try and make the DEMOCRATS look bad!

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