Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers—former NRCC chair and Republican shutdown defector
House Democrats are doing everything they can to re-open the federal government and put pressure on their GOP colleagues to get on board. To that end, they’ve been holding votes on a series of bills that would restore funding for shuttered agencies, one at a time, and we’re keeping track of those roll calls to see how many Republicans (and which ones) defect on each vote.
The number seems to slowly be growing: On the first day of the new Congress, a bill to re-open the Department of Homeland Security received just five Republican votes, while more recent measures to fund other departments have reached double-digit defections, with a bill to fund the Transportation Department getting 12.
For the most part, these GOP dissenters are vulnerable members trying to protect their own hides, such as Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis, who won re-election last year by less than 1 percent of the vote. However, there are some surprises, particularly Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers, who ran the NRCC last cycle—a maximally partisan position—but nevertheless voted in favor of the Transportation Department bill. Meanwhile, his immediate predecessor as NRCC chair, Oregon Rep. Greg Walden, has also popped up on the roster of defectors five times so far.
Stivers has refused to comment on his vote, while Walden has suggested that, by golly, it’s the right thing to do. You’ll forgive our skepticism, considering that Walden was the architect of the GOP majority that, under Paul Ryan, initiated the shutdown in the first place. Oregon Public Broadcasting does note, however, that the congressman’s 2018 re-election was by far the closest race of his career, though he still won by a comfortable 56-39 margin and should be safe in the state’s deeply conservative 2nd District.
Whatever the reason for these votes, we’ll be staying on top of each one, so bookmark our tracker to keep tabs on all of the Republicans who’re getting anxious about the Trump shutdown.