When the House voted last week for final approval of $39 billion in spending cuts over five years for entitlement programs including Medicare, Medicaid and student loans, not one Democrat voted for the bill.
The 216-to-214 vote was a victory for the conservative House Republican Study Committee, chaired by Rep. Mike Pence (R.-Ind.). The RSC had launched "Operation Offset" last fall to push for cuts to offset the huge relief expenditures in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Thirteen Republican defectors joined Independent Rep. Bernard Sanders of Vermont and all 201 House Democrats (except Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, who was absent) in opposing the bill.
The 13 Republicans voting against the cuts were: Timothy Johnson (Ill.); Walter Jones (N.C.); Jim Gerlach (Pa.); Steven LaTourette (Ohio); Jim Leach (Iowa.); John McHugh (N.Y.); Bob Ney (Ohio); Ron Paul (Tex.); Jim Ramstad (Minn.); Rob Simmons (Conn.); Chris Smith (N.J.); John Sweeney (N.Y.); and Heather Wilson (N.M.).