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The Iraq supplemental vote: Breakdown of Democratic votes

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) got her magic number of 218 today.

She won passage of the Iraq war supplemental spending bill, setting benchmarks for progress in Iraq and a timetable for withdrawal of troops from the battlefield by the end of August 2008, with a final vote of 218-212.

Three members did not vote because of health reasons and one -- Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) -- voted present.

Pelosi got to 218 with the help of just two Republicans, Reps. Walter Jones (N.C.) and Wayne Gilchrest (Md.), who have become the most outspoken GOP critics of the war.

Pelosi's biggest problems were within in her own caucus, as fears rose and fell all week about how many moderate-conservative Democrats would oppose the bill as well as how many liberal-progressives.

In the end, Pelosi just managed to get the bill across the finish line, losing 14 Democrats voting 'nay' and Stark voting present. Of the no votes, she lost equally from the right and left wings of her caucus.

The bill is a long way from becoming law, as the Senate takes up the supplemental bill next week, and President Bush has vowed to veto any bill that sets a timeline for withdrawal. Regardless, this is Pelosi and her leadership team's biggest victory to date.

Here's a breakdown of which Democrats broke from the pack:

The moderate-conservatives: 7

Reps. John Barrow (D-Ga.), Dan Boren (D-Okla.), Lincoln Davis (D-Tenn.), Jim Marshall (Ga.), Jim Matheson (D-Utah), Michael Michaud (D-Maine), Gene Taylor (D-Miss.). These no-votes for Pelosi are the most predictable in the caucus, as they are almost all members of the Blue Dog coalition, which includes members who are socially more conservative than most of the caucus but also are budget hawks opposed to large deficit spending.

Of the group, Barrow and Marshall are the most endangered politically, as they both won by less than 2,000 votes. They both hail from rural districts and are already being targeted by House Republicans in 2008. As unpopular as the war is nationally, it would be almost as unpopular in their districts to cast a vote that Republicans have called a "slow-bleed" measure against the troops.

Matheson is the type of incumbent who is talked about perennially by GOP strategists, although they've yet to knock off the incumbent, who cruised to a more than 20-point victory in 2006.

In Michaud's case, he voted no because he is strongly anti-war and, like the anti-war liberals below, is opposed to additional spending for the war.

The anti-war liberals: 7

Reps. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), John Lewis (D-Ga.), Michael R. McNulty (D-N.Y.), Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Diane Watson (D-Calif.), Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.). These votes come largely from the Out of Iraq Caucus, chaired by Waters, who opposes any further spending on the war. Unlike the mostly rural moderate-conservatives who voted no, this group is largely urban, representing several large cities: Los Angeles (Waters and Watson), Oakland (Lee), Cleveland (Kucinich), and Atlanta (Lewis).

With several dozen members, this caucus posed the greatest threat to Pelosi this week. Her margin of error was narrow, given that the potential GOP votes she was dealing with started with just 17: those 17 Republicans who voted with Pelosi last month on the non-binding resolution opposing the troop surge into Iraq.

As expected, the non-binding resolution was easier than binding legislation that deals with funding for troops in battle. So, starting with 233 Democrats, knowing two of her members were ill, Pelosi could only afford to lose about 15 votes among Democrats and have enough margin for error to pass the bill. (Republicans were down one seat because of the death of Rep. Charlie Norwood (R-Ga.) and another because Rep. Jo Ann Davis (R-Va.) is recovering from surgery.) Pelosi managed to coax enough members of the Out of Iraq Caucus into supporting her way forward in trying to end the Iraq war.

Not a single member of leadership, or a single chairman, opposed her on the vote, including Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.). As chairmen of the House Judiciary Committee and Ways and Means Committee, respectively, Conyers and Rangel were also founding members of the Out of Iraq Caucus. They voted aye for Pelosi, in helping to deliver the speaker's biggest victory so far.

[Update: A Briefing reader points out that Pelosi was only missing one member for health reasons, Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.), who underwent heart bypass surgery earlier this week. The other missed vote for Democrats was Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.), who just plain missed the most important vote of the 110th Congress. Watt later clarified for the Congressional Record that he would have voted 'aye' with Pelosi.]

By Paul Kane  |  March 23, 2007; 4:45 PM ET
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Yeah!!! Our troops are coming home!!! Our blood should not be shed anymore.

Posted by: martybop | March 23, 2007 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Congrats to the Dems! Perhaps now we can turn our attention to the real war in the mountains of Afghanistan.
Bush's Iraq escapade has done nothing but help the spread of terrorist ideologies throughout the Middle East. The only thing his unilateral military actions have accomplished, is that he's united the entire region against us.
It is time for the U.S. to use our diplomatic and financial means to bring that country together and begin to repair our damaged repuatation.

Posted by: CheeseHead | March 23, 2007 6:19 PM | Report abuse

I am ww 2 infantry, bronze star. I am in favor of the vote. I think the troops should be brought out earlier. Most of the hawks never saw combat or military service.
Change the voting day to Saturday and Sunday and give the people a chance to vote.

Posted by: Jim O'Brien | March 23, 2007 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Pelosi and her Defeat-ocrat friends.... if they want to end the way, just de-fund it.

The left wing imperial congress is not the commander in chief!

Pelosi and her defeatest friends should either pay up or not. They do not get to make war policy.

Posted by: American Patriot | March 23, 2007 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations to Pelosi for taking Bush's Iraq plan and adding some accountability into it. Bush unveiled benchmarks in January with no consequences for failure. Pelosi has now added them. Kudos to Pelosi.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 23, 2007 9:13 PM | Report abuse

hey american patriot-

your petty name calling adds nothing to an important debate.

Posted by: ny | March 23, 2007 9:24 PM | Report abuse

The bush administration should get more bang for all the $100s billions in bonds they have signed up Americans to repay after they leave office in 2009. The soldiers already executed Saddam & sons and can declare "victory" and come home to their "victory parade" and their "flowers and chocolates". Americans don't care what happens in the mideast or asia.

Posted by: go | March 23, 2007 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Beware the dangerous words of CheeseHead above:

"Perhaps now we can turn our attention to the real war in the mountains of Afghanistan."

These wars are not our wars! If CheeseHead or Cheney Head want to go fight in Afghanistan, let them go and leave the rest of us out of it. Arresting criminal terrorists like Bin Laden and Bush does not require a war for control of any country. More then enough damage has already been done.

Posted by: Alan | March 23, 2007 10:00 PM | Report abuse

It's all a Charade. August 2008!!! Good grief. That's eighteen months, Over 540 days. And then there is no assurance that we'll pull out. Bush and his cohorts are building the largest embassy on earth - 104 acres, 21 building. They, meaning big oil, plan to stay there permanently. How about the 14 permanent military installationswith with all the comforts of home and the three super airports. Get real. The bill is window dressing. A CHARADE.

Posted by: eagleeye | March 23, 2007 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Same old crap from the Liberal Socialists who don't seem to realize how their being sold out by our present congress. We are no longer capable of raising our own children, they steal our property from us, they tell us what we can't eat, we can't smoke in our own house,they want to globalize health care; and the list goes on and on. when they finally take our guns it will be to late to wake up. You wanted change - wait till you see what is next.

Posted by: | March 23, 2007 11:16 PM | Report abuse

As a victim/veteran of the Nixon-Kissinger Fig Leaf Contingent, Vietnam 1970-1972, I strenously oppose any further spending for the Cheney-Bush Buy Time Brigade in Iraq and Afghanistan (two already long-lost crusades). I favor NO spending bill for further occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan because no President can veto a bill that does not exist. Furthermore, no Senate can compromise or undermine a bill that does not exist. Most importantly, no dishonorable and discredited President can attach a worthless "signature" -- accompanied by his trademark and simulataneous un-signing "signing statement" -- to a bill he has no intention of honoring except for taking the money offered, with not even a snarling "kiss my scrawny, lying ass" for a thank-you. No bill at all avoids all these charades and in effect "ends" America's illegal and unneccsary occupation of both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Deputy Dubya "bait and switch" Bush will not veto any bill that he can just as easily "sign" and ignore at the same time. Just wait and watch for yet another shameless betrayal of the troops and the American people. Note also, when the betrayal comes as expected, that the Republcans who voted against "supporting the troops" note correctly that THEY did not vote to continue Dick-and-Dubya's war and occupation, but that the Democrats did. Some "victory" for Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats. What a monumental screwing for the American, Iraqi, and Afghan people.

Just like the Clintons and Holy Joe Lieberman: "working with" Republicans who oppose and despise them to make sure that Republicans get whatever they want while simultaneously blaming Democrats for the royal pooch-screwings and soup-sandwich-making that have become hallmarks of the modern, reactionary Republican Party.

Posted by: Michael Murry | March 23, 2007 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Kudos to the House of Representatives for passing this bill! That said, I realize it has no chance of becoming law. I hope that at least this administration is beginning to figure out that the days of "we can do whatever we want without real debate and without any oversight" are over. That, I believe was the true message of the last election.

Posted by: MN | March 24, 2007 12:03 AM | Report abuse

Finally Democratic leaders are doing some thing for their voters. It is just about time to stop talking and start taking action against the war which has been nothing but destruction, killing, and destroying economy and our future......
Lets support our troops by bringing them home before being injured and before losing their arms and legs.....

Posted by: Bijan | March 24, 2007 12:52 AM | Report abuse

The Democratic "Plan" approved in the House demonstrates all that is wrong in Congress. Party is placed above country, and the Democrats have shown that they are as corrupt as the Republicans, when they had to use $20 billion to bribe their own members to vote for the plan. Or conversely, the members extorted billions from the leadership to sell their votes. No one has any principles left except a stubborn President who will dig in his heels even when he is wrong, as usual. - It is American government at its typical worst.

Posted by: G. Steinberg | March 24, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

The democrats brought the war. Who do we turn to now?

Posted by: Ashamed | March 24, 2007 9:04 PM | Report abuse

What a great victory stuffing billions of pork barrel spending one peanuts and spinach to bribe her own members and getting the watchdog fo congress to stop listing earmarks. These dems are making the republicans they replaced look like angels

Posted by: JD | March 27, 2007 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Ummm, I beg to differ with JD's comment above.

I don't think that it can get much more corrupt, or evil than what's already been done. Think about it, the staged tradgedy of 911 which leads to the unlawful occupation and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan just so that these fatcats can get richer by exporting a full-out economy over there to supposedly clean up the mess with businesses that they have ties to and are making big bucks from. That, along with all of the outright lies, coverups and wasting of so many lives for their own gain. The world is an absolute travesty because of these goons! It's really like they are not even human.

This is indeed a great day and hopefully the beginning of something better.

Posted by: The Truth | March 27, 2007 9:59 PM | Report abuse

I find it outrageous that the uninformed persons who applaud the Democrats for this bizarre bill consider themselves justified. I doubt they have bothered to read the bill and certainly do not understand the numerous issues which will cause this bill to be vetoed. The attack on the Constitution is thinly veiled in this attempt by the Congress to aquire Presidential powers for themselves. This bill is unconstitutional and all those who voted for it have certainly sold out their country for a pickled pigs foot.


Posted by: Mollypitcher | March 28, 2007 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Reading the success of this vote is like the sun breaking through the black clouds of a long cold winter. Thank you to Nancy Pelosi and all those who worked to bring together a majority vote. An immediate withdrawal would be my preference but in light of the virtual quagmire our lawmakers have found themselves, and us, this is an important victory. This bill points towards the exit which nothing else in the past four years has done. Congratulations.
If the bill is vetoed, I encourage continued movement using the impeachment process and take back our country from this inside coup attempt on the United States Constitution.

Posted by: Mary Alice Comar | March 28, 2007 1:53 AM | Report abuse

"These dems are making the republicans they replaced look like angels" = obviously has NO idea of the scale of Republican pork in the 109th. And will stubbornly refuse/deny that knowledge, also. Ignorance remains bliss, as always.

Posted by: ashamedtobeGOP | March 28, 2007 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Back when the Democrats had the power in the sixties, heard in the halls of the Pentagon SecDef Robt. McNamarra purportedly commented that "War was too dangerous to be left to Generals and Admirals". Hands-on politicians would not allow a blockade of North Vietnam, nor mine the harbor in Hanoi, restricted air action against certain targets or dictated the bomb loads, ignored Soviet vessels carrying trucks, tanks, etc through the area of naval operations, sending out air strikes to hit like targets earlier delivered by sea. When diplomacy fails it is an axiom that the use of the military is to totally defeat the enemy, not to be thwarted by "rules of engagement" that hamstring military operations and encourage the enemy with a lack of resolve.
If you don't want to win a war, don't send the military as if it were a crime scene.

Posted by: Interlopers | March 28, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

The only thing a lib can do is run away like a little schoolgirl. Not one of them talks of being more agressive. We'd all be lampshades if Murtha and Pelosi were in Congress under FDR.

Posted by: EarthHASaFEVER,LOL | March 28, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

I am writing to say that I am thoroughly disgusted with the Senates decision to put forward a bill that puts timetables on the war in Iraq. This action clearly shows that our Senators care more about politics than they do the long term security of our country. The recent actions by Iran with Britain should show any thinking person how serious the war on terror and Muslim extremists are, but apparently our Senators don't get it. I will absolutely not vote for Senators that have supported this action and will do my best to convince everyone I know to take similar action. If our Senators want to make it about politics, then let's play politics. You can count on the fact that you won't get my vote and everyone else I can inform.

Posted by: CJH | March 29, 2007 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Chalk one up for the Constitutionalists -militarism and empire building be damned.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 1:53 PM | Report abuse


Go ahead, whine with your fellow 30%ers on not voting for those who heed the wishes of the people to end this illegitimate occupation that is taking the lives of so many soldiers and innocent Iraqis, not to mention the billions of dollars it is draining from the pockets of the American people. Meanwhile, us 70%ers will be making policy! Ain't government by the people grand?

Posted by: Eric C | April 7, 2007 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Now that Bush has pledged to veto this bill, I hope that the Democrats will keep sending him the same bill or even tougher bills, such as the one Reid and Feingold are proposing in the Senate to cut off funding after the withdrawal/redeployment deadline has passed. The progressive base of the party has to keep the pressure up on our representatives, especially on Blue Dog Democrats and on moderate Republicans. We have to make sure to use electoral threats as a bludgeon on those Republicans in marginal districts/states who vote against the popular will on the war.

Posted by: Eric C | April 7, 2007 7:42 PM | Report abuse

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