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Meet the New 'Party of No'

Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., one of 36 members who didn't support any budget proposals in the House this week, decried a lack of bipartisan options.(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

photo of Scott Bland
March 21, 2013

After listening to both parties lay out 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, and six Republicans.

Six of the seven Democrats the National Republican Congressional Committee designated as "top targets" are among the "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: Ami Bera, Julia Brownley, Raul Ruiz, and Scott Peters. Veteran Golden State 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, Rep. 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.

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

Arizona 1: Kirkpatrick (D)
Arizona 2: Barber (D)
Arizona 9: Sinema (D)
Arkansas 1: Crawford (R)
California 7: Bera (D)
California 16: Costa (D)
California 26: Brownley (D)
California 36: Ruiz (D)
California 52: Peters (D)
Florida 18: Murphy (D)
Florida 26: Garcia (D)
Georgia 12: Barrow (D)
Illinois 3: Lipinski (D)
Illinois 10: Schneider (D)
Illinois 11: Foster (D)
Illinois 12: Enyart (D)
Illinois 17: Bustos (D)
Iowa 2: Loebsack (D)
Minnesota 7: Peterson (D)
Nevada 3: Heck (R)
New Hampshire 2: Kuster (D)
New York 6: Meng (D)
New York 18: Maloney (D)
New York 19: Gibson (R)
New York 21: Owens (D)
New York 24: Maffei (D)
North Carolina 3: Jones (R)
North Carolina 7: McIntyre (D)
Rhode Island 2: Langevin (D)
Tennessee 5: Cooper (D)
Texas 15: Hinojosa (D)
Texas 23: Gallego (D)
Utah 4: Matheson (D)
Virginia 4: Forbes (R)
West Virginia 1: McKinley (R)
Wisconsin 3: Kind (D)

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