Local House Republicans yes men on big issues

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Area House Republicans are yes men for Speaker John Boehner, according to a database compiled by The Washington Post.

With the House GOP seeming incapable lately of agreeing on anything, the Post's politics team looked at six fractured votes this year and determined which lawmakers made up the "always no" faction of the GOP and who are, as the Post called them, "the Boehner base." Check out the graphics that break down the votes here.

As it turns out, Republicans in and around the Lehigh Valley - Reps. Charlie Dent, 15th district, Jim Gerlach, 6th district, Mike Fitzpatrick, 8th district and Lou Barletta, 11th district - all supported the six measures that divided the GOP: the fiscal cliff deal, the vote for Speaker, the Hurricane Sandy relief bill, the delay of the debt limit, the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization and the farm bill.

What does this mean about these suburban eastern Pennsylvania districts? Put simply, the districts are, by national standards, more moderate and the voters expect their elected officials to accomplish something.

Dent recently spoke to this during a panel discussion at a DC-based GOP think tank, The Ripon Society. He described himself and others in the Tuesday Group - the Republican center right caucus in the House - as the "governance wing" of the party.

"At the end of the day, if you were against the bill then you got nothing, you're for the status quo which is far worse than what is being advanced," Dent said about the farm bill that the vote "no" faction of House Republicans helped defeat. "We talk to Boehner about this regularly and he gets it, but it limits his ability to lead."

The Lehigh Valley Republican argued to the group that the GOP needs to push for things that bring them together and divide the Democrats. He called it being "ruthlessly pragmatic."

He suggested that during the next debate over raising the debt ceiling this fall, the Republicans tie it to a repeal of the medical device tax, the construction of the Keystone Pipeline and a fix to the formula that pays Medicare doctors - all ideas that have some Democratic support.

"Send it over to the Senate and watch Harry Reid choke," Dent said. "I mean, seriously. In other words, unite the Republicans and divide the Democrats. That’s how we have to be."


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