House: Vote to Extend the Debt Ceiling for Three Months (No Budget, No Pay Act)

Below we use Optimal Classification (OC) in R to plot the House‚Äôs 285-144 vote on the No Budget, No Pay Act. The measure extends the debt ceiling for three months (until 18 May 2013) but requires that the House and Senate (which hasn’t passed a budget since 2009) agree on a budget by April 15. Otherwise, members’ pay will be withheld.

House Republicans voted 199-33 in favor of the measure, while House Democrats opposed it by an 86-111 margin. As can be seen in the plot, the cutting line divides the Democratic Caucus between the more liberal wing (which mostly opposed the bill) and its centrist wing (which mostly supported it). Many of the 33 Republican Nay votes came from the more conservative, “anti-establishment” (with low second dimension scores) faction of the caucus. Consequently, this vote features a “two ends against the middle” pattern, in which the ranks of both ideological poles (i.e., Reps. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) and Paul Broun (R-GA) / Reps. Alan Grayson (D-FL) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)) vote against the middle.

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As a technical note, we are able to plot members of the 113th House so early in the new Congress by combining the roll call voting records of returning members in the 112th House with the 28 roll call votes held so far in the 113th House. Until more votes are compiled for the 81 freshman members, the estimation of their ideal points will remain somewhat imprecise, but by bridging data from the 112th this problem will not be too severe.

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