Boehner's 100 loyal soldiers might give him political cover on 'fiscal cliff'

Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) has about 100 Republican members he can count on if and when the Senate-passed "fiscal cliff" bill hits the House floor, according to an analysis by The Hill.

But it remains unclear if Boehner and his lieutenants will be able to convince the majority of the GOP conference to back legislation that increases tax rates on the wealthy and lacks significant spending cuts. The Senate passed its fiscal-cliff bill, 89-8, early on New Year's Day.

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Boehner has not expressed opposition to or support for the Senate legislation. But Rep. Tom Cole (Okla.), a member of the GOP leadership team, backed the bill during a Tuesday morning interview on MSNBC and later predicted a majority of Republicans will support it. The House will either pass the measure or amend it and send it back to the upper chamber. However, such a move would be difficult because House Democrats would likely oppose changing the bill, and keeping the entire Republican Conference in line has been a major challenge for Boehner this Congress.

To assess party loyalty, The Hill analyzed five controversial bills on fiscal matters that sparked outcry from factions on the right and significant defections from House GOP members: a March 15, 2011, stopgap funding bill; an April 14, 2011, bill that averted a government shutdown; an Aug. 1 roll call on the Budget Control Act; a Nov. 17, 2011, appropriations measure; and a Feb. 17, 2012, vote to extend the payroll tax holiday. Republican defections ranged from 54 to 101 on these bills.

Despite the GOP infighting, 92 House Republicans didn't buck leadership on any of those measures. This group includes leadership lawmakers, committee and subcommittee chairmen and a surprising number of freshman members. Some of Boehner's loyal legislators include GOP Reps. Cole, Steven LaTourette (Ohio), Pete King (N.Y.), Darrell Issa (Calif.), Gary Miller (Calif.), Tom Marino (Pa.), Jon Runyan (N.J.) and Steve Stivers (Ohio). Read the full list of the 92 members below.

LaTourette, a close friend of the Speaker, recently told The Washington Post, "I'm a Team Boehner guy, and I will support the Speaker [on the fiscal cliff]."

Members among the 92 hail from Pennsylvania (10), California (9), Ohio (8), Illinois (7), New Jersey (6) and New York (4). All of those states were won by President Obama in the 2012 presidential election, though some of the legislators represent very conservative districts.

There are an additional 51 House Republicans who broke ranks on only one of the five votes reviewed by The Hill, including GOP Reps. Bob Goodlatte (Va.), Jeb Hensarling (Texas), Tom Latham (Iowa), Steve Scalise (La.) and Frank Wolf (Va.).


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Of course, this doesn't mean that the 143 GOP members are guaranteed "yes" votes if the Senate bill comes to a floor vote. But it does suggest these members could be won over, unlike some Tea Party lawmakers who have consistently voted against leadership.

For the last several weeks, political operatives on both sides of the aisle have said Boehner needs to broker a deal that will attract the support of a majority of his conference.

Boehner has never adopted former Speaker Dennis Hastert's (R-Ill.) unwritten rule of not bringing a bill to the floor unless it has "a majority of the majority." But a vote on a fiscal-cliff bill that falls short of that would likely weaken the Speaker, who took a major hit when he couldn't muster the votes to pass his "Plan B" fiscal-cliff measure last month. Boehner has attracted a majority of the majority on every high-profile vote in this Congress.

There are 241 Republicans in the House now, though there will be fewer in the new Congress on Thursday as a result of Democratic gains on Election Day.

There are some positive signs for Boehner, who knows that Democrats by and large will back their president and vote for the Senate measure. But more importantly, Boehner has fostered some pockets of unity in various parts of his unruly conference.

He could also attract support from members who defected on two of the five fiscal roll calls reviewed by The Hill. Republican Reps. Virginia Foxx (N.C.), Jeff Miller (Fla.), James Lankford (Okla.), Ed Royce (Calif.) and Pete Sessions (Texas) fall in this category. All of them will be in leadership and/or will be committee chairmen in the new Congress. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who might run for president in 2016, also falls in this category. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), another possible 2016 White House contender, voted no on the Senate bill.

Since the election, Boehner and his leadership team have stressed the need for unity. They sent a clear signal to rank-and-file members by kicking four recalcitrant lawmakers off prized committees. The moves unsettled some conservatives in the conference.

The following is the list of 92 House Republicans who didn't defect on any of the five bills reviewed by The Hill.

Boehner's loyal soldiers

Rodney Alexander (La.)

Lou Barletta (Pa.)

Charlie Bass (N.H.)*

Rick Berg (N.D.)*

Judy Biggert (Ill.)*

Brian Bilbray (Calif.)*

Gus Bilirakis (Fla.)

John Boehner (Ohio)

Mary Bono Mack (Calif.)*

Vern Buchanan (Fla.)

Ken Calvert (Calif.)

Dave Camp (Mich.)

Eric Cantor (Va.)

Shelly Moore Capito (W.Va.)

Howard Coble (N.C.)

Tom Cole (Okla.)

Mike Conaway (Texas)

Rick Crawford (Ark.)

Ander Crenshaw (Fla.)

John Culberson (Texas)**

Jeff Denham (Calif.)

Charlie Dent (Pa.)

Mario Diaz-Balart (Fla.)

Robert Dold (Ill.)*

David Dreier (Calif.)*

Renee Ellmers (N.C.)

Jo Ann Emerson (Mo.)*

Mike Fitzpatrick (Pa.)

Bill Flores (Texas)

Rodney Frelinghuysen (N.J.)

Jim Gerlach (Pa.)

Bob Gibbs (Ohio)

Chris Gibson (N.Y.)

Paul Gosar (Ariz.)

Tim Griffin (Ark.)

Michael Grimm (N.Y.)

Brett Guthrie (Ky.)

Richard Hanna (N.Y.)

Gregg Harper (Miss.)

Doc Hastings (Wash.)

Nan Hayworth (N.Y.)*

Joe Heck (Nev.)

Darrell Issa (Calif.)

Bill Johnson (Ohio)

Sam Johnson (Texas)

Mike Kelly (Pa.)

Pete King (N.Y.)

John Kline (Minn.)

Leonard Lance (N.J.)

Steven LaTourette (Ohio)*

Bob Latta (Ohio)

Jerry Lewis (Calif.)*

Frank LoBiondo (N.J.)

Frank Lucas (Okla.)

Blaine Luetkemeyer (Mo.)

Donald Manzullo (Ill.)*

Tom Marino (Pa.)

Kevin McCarthy (Calif.)

Mike McCaul (Texas)

Buck McKeon (Calif.)

Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.)

Patrick Meehan (Pa.)

Gary Miller (Calif.)

Alan Nunnelee (Miss.)

Steven Palazzo (Miss.)

Todd Platts (Pa.)*

Dave Reichert (Wash.)

Jim Renacci (Ohio)

David Rivera (Fla.)*

Hal Rogers (Ky.)

Mike Rogers (Mich.)

Tom Rooney (Fla.)

Peter Roskam (Ill.)

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.)

Jon Runyan (N.J.)

Bobby Schilling (Ill.)*

Aaron Schock (Ill.)

John Shimkus (Ill.)

Bill Shuster (Pa.)

Adrian Smith (Neb.)

Lamar Smith (Texas)

Steve Stivers (Ohio)

Glenn Thompson (Pa.)

Patrick Tiberi (Ohio)

Bob Turner (N.Y.)*

Fred Upton (Mich.)

Greg Walden (Ore.)

Daniel Webster (Fla.)

Rob Wittman (Va.)

Steve Womack (Ark.)

Don Young (Alaska)

Bill Young (Fla.)

* Members who are retiring or were defeated in 2012 election cycle

Note: Emerson is retiring early in 2013.

** Members opposed to Senate-passed bill

Note: After this article was published, Rep. John Culberson's (R-Texas) office contacted The Hill to say the congressman is opposed to the Senate-passed bill.

— This article was originally published at 11:57 a.m. and last updated at 3:06 p.m.