RINOs Strike Again

Twenty-two House Republicans joined 202 Democrats today to defeat the fiscal 2006 Labor-HHS appropriations bill on a 224-209 vote.

The latest coalition of GOP defectors includes some of the same moderate and liberal Republicans who thwarted party leaders two weeks ago on the budget reconciliation package that cut spending by $54 billion and included a provision to finally open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling.

This time, the moderates banded together to oppose the elimination of pork-barrel projects. (There were some exceptions: Reliably conservative congressman, we’re told, voted against the bill on the grounds that it didn’t go far enough in its cuts.) The bill would have shaved $1.4 billion from last year’s spending bill.

The most surprising defector: Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas (Calif.), who always brings home the bacon for his district but typically doesn’t buck leadership given his committee chairmanship.

Here’s the list of GOP defectors, followed by their lifetime American Conservative Union ratings:

Michael Castle (Del.) = 59%

Jo Ann Emerson (Mo.) = 88%

Mike Fitzpatrick (Pa.) = N/A

Jim Gerlach (Pa.) = 72%

Jim Gibbons (Nev.) = 91%

Nancy Johnson (Conn.) = 48%

Mark Kirk (Ill.) = 67%

Jim Leach (Iowa) = 43%

Jerry Moran (Kan.) = 92%

Timothy Murphy (Pa.) = 92%

Devin Nunes (Calif.) = 94%

Butch Otter (Idaho) = 95%

Ron Paul (Tex.) = 83%

Chip Pickering (Miss.) = 95%

Todd Platts (Pa.) = 83%

Jim Ramstad (Minn.) = 70%

Rick Renzi (Ariz.) = 88%

Michael Rogers (Ala.) = 90%

Rob Simmons (Conn.) = 55%

Cliff Stearns (Fla.) = 95%

Bill Thomas (Calif.) = 80%

Heather Wilson (N.M.) = 83%