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Democrats Dominated the Republican House Budget

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Thursday was the big day. One House staffer even compared it to the Super Bowl.

After all, budget day is the day Representatives force each other to vote on funding for their pet projects. Or it’s the day when they can try to defund the ones they dislike.

These goals are accomplished through the amendment process.

There are several ways of looking at it, but any way is clear — the Democrats won the House budget battle.



We’ve pulled the numbers for you to see for yourself.

Scenario 1: Including Article XI

Democrats Own 63% of Successful Amendments

Article XI is the so-called “wish list” (or “trash can”) of the budget. When a member moves his or her amendment to Article XI, they are telling the legislature that this is something they would like to pass into law, but something they know they cannot realistically get a majority vote on at the time.

These amendments are technically adopted into the budget, and in theory, the conference committee of Senators and House members are supposed to consider them when they produce a final proposal later in session.

In practice, however, these amendments are dead-on-arrival. The conference committee will discard virtually all of them.

So if you want to include those numbers in the totals, you will see the Democrats utterly dominated the night, authoring 63% of the total adopted amendments.

Scenario 2: Excluding Article XI

Democrats Own 57% of Successful Amendments

But we don’t think it’s really fair to consider Article XI’s “wish list” amendments, and there were 58 of them. The following chart shows only 198 amendments adopted, rather than the 256 above.

Scenario 3: Excluding Article XI and Un-Adopted Amended Amendments

Democrats Own 55% of Successful Amendments

The numbers in the last scenario are screwy too, because some of those adopted amendments were not actually adopted in the end. Now try to keep up here…

Rep. A. offered an amendment, but made a mistake and wrote “2020” instead of “2019.” Rep. A (or even Rep. B) catches the mistake and wants to fix it, and therefore amends the amendment. Whether or not the original amendment was then adopted, the amendment to the amendment was counted in the previous chart.

But if Rep. A fixes his amendment, and then subsequently withdraws it for whatever reason, it may not be fair to include the amendment to the amendment in the total. So the following chart shows the numbers after subtracting those instances.

However you look at it, anywhere from 55% to 63% of amendments to the budget were offered by Democrats. And that’s not to mention the fact that the budget withdraws $2.5 Billion from the Rainy Day Fund, a key objective of the Democratic membership.

In a state dominated by the Republican Party – the House is 63% Republican – the Democrats continue to exercise an impressively disproportionate amount of power. Attribute it to their political cleverness, or the Republicans’ distaste for imposing their will.

Either way, when the day comes that Republicans return to the minority, they’ll probably handle the loss just fine. After all, they’re getting plenty of practice right now.



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