Republican Moderates Showing Strain With Leadership
House Republicans have demonstrated remarkable party unity in this Congress, supporting a conservative agenda with relatively little internal opposition. The Ryan budget passed twice with very few defectors, party leaders held the line against any tax increases as part of a grand budget deal and members across the ideological spectrum took a firm line in support of spending cuts to balance the budget.
But there are some fresh signs of growing strains between leadership and the small moderate faction, particularly among the members who are facing competitive elections in November. Rep. Steve LaTourette, R-Ohio, abruptly announced his retirement Tuesday, saying he was sick of the increasing polarization in Congress. He also was feeling increasingly marginalized, as one of the few remaining union-friendly moderates within the Republican caucus.
Rep. Richard Hanna, a freshman from upstate New York, expressed his frustration with conservative colleagues to his hometown newspaper's editorial board, saying he was "frustrated" by how much House Republicans are "willing to give deferential treatment to our extremes in this moment in history,"
And now Roll Call is reporting that Reps. Bob Dold, R-Ill., and Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif, two center-right members facing challenging re-election campaigns, got into a confrontation with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor over his decision to schedule an abortion vote three months before Election Day. In the suburban, socially moderate districts they represent, that's the type of socially conservative vote that Democrats can exploit effectively.