Delivering on the first of two parts in a controversial federal aid package, the House of Representatives passed a $9.7 billion Hurricane Sandy relief bill Friday by a large margin — 354 to 67. And yet, we can't help but ask: Who are those 67 jerks? They have a few things in common. They're all Republicans. Many of them are Republicans who voted against John Boehner as Speaker of the House, or were rumored to be considering voting against him. And here's a shocker: They're not from the states hit hardest by Sandy.
Paul Ryan. Ryan, Mitt Romney's running mate last year, is a potential presidential candidate for 2016. Like all potential presidential candidates serving in Congress, that means from time to time he'll have to cast a series of potentially politically perilous votes. Fellow maybe-2016er Marco Rubio voted against the deal to fix the fiscal cliff earlier this week, for example, while Ryan voted for it. (Photo via Talking Points Memo's Sahil Kapur.)
The Would-be Boehner Ousters. Of the nine Republicans who voted against John Boehner in his election as speaker Thursday, eight voted against the Sandy bill: Kansas's Tim Huelskamp, Texas's Louie Gohmert, Georgia's Paul Broun, Oklahoma's Jim Bridenstine, Florida's Ted Yoho, New Mexico's Steve Pearce, Kentucky's Thomas Massie, and Michigan's Justin Amash. Texas's Steve Stockman, who voted "present" in the speaker vote, also voted against the Sandy bill. They've gotta register their unhappiness somehow.
The (Maybe) Would-be Boehner Ousters Who Chickened Out. Politico reported Friday that during the speaker vote, Huelskamp was brandishing an iPad with a message titled, "You would be fired if this goes out." It listed Republican lawmakers Huelskamp expected to vote against Boehner. (We don't know whether the lawmakers knew they were on the list, but one of the representatives who was on it told The Atlantic Wire he always intended to vote for Boehner.) Of the six names on Huelskamp's list, three voted against the Sandy bill: Tennessee's Scott Desjarlais and Steve Fincher, and Arizona's Paul Gosar.
The grand unifier? Not being from a state hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. Here's a map showing which states lawmakers who voted against the Sandy bill are from. Darker states mean more votes.
Compare that to where Sandy hit the U.S., at left, from the Weather Channel. This is partly a phenomenon of the Republican Party's strength being in the South. And it's worth keeping in mind how big each state delegation is. Eight Texas representatives voted against the measure — less than a quarter of the state's 36 representatives. But four South Carolina representatives voted against the Sandy bill — a majority of its seven representatives. The states with the most anti-Sandy relief were Texas (eight), Georgia and Tennessee (five each), followed by Arizona, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Wisconsin (four each).