House Republicans have been united recently, opposed to Democratic attempts to impeach President Donald Trump.
All Republicans voted against opening an impeachment inquiry into the president, a remarkable display of unity in what has been a fractured caucus in years past. Still, even in the midst of impeachment proceedings, the House still has votes to take, and if the past is any indicator, these five Republicans may briefly switch sides.
Elise Stefanik: The congresswoman from upstate New York is becoming a celebrity on the Right because of her repeated clashes with House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, but her voting record shows her to be the most liberal member of the Republican caucus. Stefanik was one of eight Republicans to vote for the Equality Act, which would among other items, require the inclusion of biological males in female sports. She also signed a discharge petition last year in an attempt to force a vote to give amnesty to illegal immigrants, opposed Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, and is a supporter of Net Neutrality. Additionally, Stefanik scores just 24%, according to Conservative Review’s scorecard, 29% according to Club for Growth, and 39% according to Heritage Action for America. (RELATED: ‘Holy Cow’: Adam Schiff Spars With Jim Jordan, Elise Stefanik At Second Impeachment Hearing)
Will Hurd: The outgoing Texas congressman made waves at the beginning of the year for his staunch opposition to the president’s proposed border wall. Hurd even went as far as to call the border crisis “a myth.” While Hurd has opposed additional border security measures, he has repeatedly supported amnesty for illegal immigrants, and was one of eight Republicans to join all Democrats in voting for the Equality Act. Hurd also opposed Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare in 2017. Additionally, conservative groups give Hurd low marks. Heritage Action gives Hurd a score of 31%, while Conservative Review scores him at 26%, and Club for Growth gives him a score of 46%. (RELATED: Don’t Buy Into The Hype About Republicans Losing Texas)
John Katko: The New York congressman has stood out for breaking with the Trump administration on critical issues such as immigration and health care. Katko was one of the first Republican members of congress to vote to end the January shutdown that was caused by a dispute over border wall funding, and later opposed the Trump Administration’s efforts to increase security by declaring a national emergency at the border. Katko also repeatedly opposed Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare, and voted to rebuke the Trump administration’s attempts to overturn the law through the courts. Additionally, Katko scores poorly among conservative groups. Conservative Review gives Katko a score of 25%, while Heritage Action and Club for Growth give Katko scores of 47%, and 34% respectively.
Brian Fitzpatrick: Along with Katko, the Pennsylvania congressman was one of two original Republican co-sponsors of the Equality Act. Fitzpatrick has also broken with his party on issues such as gun control, gay marriage, health care, and immigration. Fitzpatrick was one of the only Republicans to receive an endorsement last election cycle from former Democratic Arizona Rep. and gun control activist Gabby Giffords. Fitzpatrick has also repeatedly voted against increased border security and in favor of amnesty for illegal immigrants. Additionally, Fitzpatrick was one of several moderate Republicans to help Democrats block attempts to repeal Obamacare in the outset of Trump’s presidency. Fitzpatrick has received low marks from conservative groups, including a score of 31% from Heritage Action, 28% from Club for Growth, and 22% from Conservative Review. (RELATED: The Four Ways Washington Can Fix America’s Broken Immigration System)
Christopher Smith: The long-time New Jersey congressman was first elected alongside former President Ronald Reagan in 1980, Smith has broken with his party on major issues including immigration, taxes, and gun control. Smith has repeatedly voted to expand background checks for gun purchases, and has opposed concealed carry. Smith also received an endorsement last cycle from Giffords, and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Smith has also voted to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants, and was one of just a few congressional Republicans to oppose the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Additionally, Smith has received low scores from conservative groups, including a 32% rating from Conservative Review, a 28% rating from Club for Growth, and a 43% rating from Heritage Action. (RELATED: Impeachment Proceedings Usually Move Swiftly, But Democrats Are Playing It Slow)
While even the most moderate to liberal Republicans vote with their caucus more often than not, Republicans still appear to have a tough time keeping their caucus together. For example, House Republican leadership was not able to repeal Obamacare or pass stringent border security measures when they were in the majority, but Democratic leadership has been able to keep their caucus unanimous in support of several landmark bills this year.
These bills include the Equality Act, the American Dream and Promise Act, and the For The People Act, which all passed with near unanimous Democratic support. The one notable exception to this rule was the impeachment vote. All Republicans voted to stand with the president, while Democratic Reps. Colin Peterson of Minnesota and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey broke with their party.
Over the past decade, House Republicans have rarely been united, but now all wings of the party appear to be coming together to oppose impeachment.