Blue Dogs add another member

The fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition has added a new member, bringing its membership to 52.

 The group announced Monday that it has admitted Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper (D-Pa.) to its ranks.

“Rep. Dahlkemper has firsthand knowledge of the struggles facing small-business owners and employees in today’s struggling economy,” said Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-La.), a Blue Dog leader.

 With the Democratic Caucus bulging with centrists from Republican districts, the Blue Dog leadership decided earlier this year to set aside its longstanding membership cap of 20 percent of the caucus. That would have allowed only 51 members. The Blue Dogs now have 56 slots, so four remain unfilled.

 Dahlkemper stressed her belief in “fiscal discipline and responsibility” as reasons for joining the Blue Dogs. She’s also more socially conservative than many Democrats. In February, she joined Blue Dog Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) in protesting changes to longstanding foreign-aid riders favored by abortion opponents.