Measuring the Odd Couples of the Senate

Several states have, by virtue of electing senators of opposite parties, virtually nullified their power in the Senate.

The oddest pair come from Wisconsin, where the senior senator, Ron Johnson, is a Republican and former manufacturing executive elected in the tea party wave of 2010. He was re-elected last year, outpacing President Donald Trump in the state by 3 percentage points. He has not parted with his party on any of the 134 votes that had split the parties this year, as of Sept. 28. He missed one of the votes.

The junior senator, Tammy Baldwin, is a Democrat and former representative elected in 2012, the year President Barack Obama won re-election. Like Johnson, she secured a narrow majority. She has bucked her party just twice this year, voting alongside Johnson on those two occasions.

Both votes came in June when Baldwin sided with 11 other Democrats, Maine independent Angus King and every Republican to approve the nomination of Marshall Billingslea as assistant secretary for terrorist financing at the Treasury Department.

The other vote was on the cloture motion clearing the way for Billingslea’s approval.

In July, Johnson missed a vote that split the parties. It was on a motion by Pennsylvania Democrat Bob Casey to send the bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (HR 1628) back to the Finance Committee with instructions to prepare an amendment protecting health insurance coverage for people with disabilities.

Baldwin voted for it, along with every other Democrat. Every other Republican voted no, killing the motion.

 

 

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