UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The budget, the President and the 97th Congress Berlin, Peter 1986

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T H E BUDGET , T H E PRES IDENT A N D T H E 97TH C O N G R E S S by P E T E R B E R L I N A T H E S I S S U B M I T T E D I N T H E R E Q U I R E M E N T S M A S T E R P A R T I A L F U L F I L M E N T O F F O R T H E D E G R E E O F O F A R T S in T H E F A C U L T Y O F G R A D U A T E S T U D I E S Department of Poli t ical Science We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard T H E U N I V E R S I T Y O F B R I T I S H C O L U M B I A December 1986 © Peter Ber l in , 1986 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department The University of British Columbia 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Y3 Date DE-6(3/81) ABSTRACT This thesis looks at House budgetary actions in the 97th Congress in 1981 and 1982. In 1981, despite the opposition of the economic committees and the Democratic majority leadership, the House voted through a budget d r a w n up by the White House. In 1982, however, they refused to pass a budget d r awn to President Reagan's blueprint. The first chapter is a narrat ive of the events of those two years . The second chapter is an account of the theoretical l i terature on the subject which pose several questions about those events and also suggest some answers. The third chapter is a statistical analysis of nine House rol l calls over the two years. It attempts, first, to identify those Representaitives who made the difference between Presidential victory in 1981 and frustration in 1982. Second, it tries to explain what these marginal presidential supporters had i n common and what made them switch sides. TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract i i Chapter I. A T A L E O F T W O B U D G E T S 1 A . Calendar 1981 and F i sca l 1982 1 1. Reagan's goals 1 2. The ear ly t r iumphs 4 3. The F i r s t Budget Vote 6 4. Tota l V ic to ry for the President 9 5. The T a x Cu t 12 6. A u t u m n : the second round of cuts 15 B . The 1983 Budget 19 1. Spr ing: No F i r s t Budget Resolution 19 2. The F i r s t Budget Resolution 23 3. S u m m e r and F a l l 1982: Congress Fa i l s to Produce a Budget 28 4. Veto Overr ide 30 C. 1982, The Tide Turns 31 Chapter II. T H E O R I E S O F C O N G R E S S I O N A L V O T I N G B E H A V I O U R 33 A . Introduction 33 B . The Electora l Connection 33 C. Other Legis la t ive Goals 37 1. M a x i m i z e r s and Mainta iners 38 2. Homestyles 39 D . Coali t ion bui lding 44 E . Conclusions 48 Chapter III. A N A L Y S I S O F D A T A 51 A . Introduction 51 1. The Pres ident ia l Strategy 52 B . The Var iab les 53 1. Dependent Var iab les , The Nine Roll Calls 53 2. The Independent Variables 58 C. Expectations 61 D . A glance at the r a w data 62 1. The Democrats 62 2. The Republicans 65 E . The Rol l Ca l l s 66 1. G r a m m - L a t t a I 66 2. G r a m m - L a t t a II 68 3. The T a x Cu t 69 4. The A u t u m n Cuts 71 5. The O a k a r Amendment 72 6. L a t t a Budget Substitute 73 7. T a x Increases 75 8. The Veto Overr ide 77 9. Jobs Appropr ia t ions 78 F . The Overa l l Pa t te rn 79 ii i 1. Constituency variables 80 a. Northern Republicans 81 b. Southern Democrats 82 2. Committees 84 G. Conclusions 85 iv C H A P T E R I. A T A L E OF TWO BUDGETS A. CALENDAR 1981 AND FISCAL 1982 In 1981, the first year of his presidency, Ronald Reagan enjoyed a series of sweeping budgetary victories in Congress. Not only was the Adminis t ra t ion able to steer their budget and tax cuts through the Republican-controlled Senate but they were also able to push them past the Democratic majority in the House. They were able to do this because a sufficient number of conservative Democrats , par t icular ly Southern Democrats, voted against their own party. It seemed to the President and his advisors that they had forged a conservative coalition which could dominate Congressional politics for the forseeable future. Bu t the next year some of Reagan's erstwhile supporters defected leaving h i m without a majority of votes in the House and unable to pass his budgets. A n understanding of who these Representatives were and why they changed sides wi l l contribute to an understanding of how Congress decided to vote. This paper starts w i th an account of the events of 1981 and 1982. The second chapter discusses the theoretical literature on Congressional voting and derives from them explanatory hypotheses. In the the th i rd chapter those hypotheses are used in a statist ical analysis of nine of the key budget and tax votes over the course of the two years. 1. Reagan's goals. Federal politics in 1981 revolved around economic policy as Reagan concentrated al l his energy on forcing Congress to accept what was perceived to be a fundamental change in budgetary policy. The new President had three fiscal priorities. He wanted to cut taxes, balance the budget, and increase mi l i t a ry expenditure. Reagan was a believer in 'supply side economies'. He was convinced that this would produce a ' trickle down effect' which would stimulate the sluggish U . S . economy. F o r this reason a cut in taxes would lead, paradoxically, to an increase in government revenue. A balanced budget would lead to a fall in the 1 A T A L E O F T W O B U D G E T S / 2 interest rate (a belief not unique to the supply-siders) which would further stimulate the economy. The healthy economy would be able to sustain a very high level of mi l i t a ry expenditure. M a n y Presidents have entered office wi th bold new schemes only to see them become bogged down in Congress and finally emerge a compromised and anaemic shadow of the documents which entered that deliberative insti tution. A n d , in spite of the Republican conquest of the Senate, the continued Democratic majority in the House of Representatives appeared to represent an insuperable barrier to the kind of undiluted victory Reagan demanded. B u t in the November elections the Democrats had lost thir ty seats in the House to the Republicans and Reagan, dubbed the 'great communicator ' by the media, found enough Democrats prepared to listen to his overtures to enable h i m to start building what he called a 'bipart isan ' majority. The President argued that i f Congress co-operated and passed his budget and his back-dated tax cuts, the economy would pick up by the end of 1981 and the budget would be balanced by 1983. It is the abiding i rony of Reagan's presidency that his total political success in 1981 exposed the poverty of his economics. There can be little doubt that Reagan was not jus t position-taking: he was playing to win . He did so to the extent that he largely ignored other areas of policy. B y doing this he raised the stakes to a level which he could not hope to repeat in subsequent years. He could not dedicate more energy to economic matters. Indeed, i f Reagan wished to attend to any of the other areas of Presidential responsibilty he would have to spend less time on the budget. Reviewing congressional action in 1981 Republican Senator and majority leader Howard Baker declared, M e n and women m a y disagree on the policies adopted by this Congress and by this administration, but almost no-one, I think, wi l l A T A L E O F T W O B U D G E T S / 3 dispute the proposition that this Congress has made more fundamental changes i n the public policy of this nation than any Congress in decades. 1 These 'changes' were brought into being by a series of major victories in Congress. Some of the victories were in votes: on the first budget resolution, on the reconciliation b i l l , in the 'bidding war ' over tax legislation, and the continuing appropriations i n December at the end of the session. These involved major shifts in taxation and expenditure, but changes of such magnitude had occurred before. W h a t real ly encouraged the political r ight was that the President persuaded Congress to adopt his economic model and his assumptions (as opposed to those offered by the Congressional Budget Office). It must have seemed reasonable to B a k e r to see the events of 1981 as signalling a sea-change in the w a y the economy was viewed and the expectations they had of the budgetary process. Congress had acted in 1981 to cut the domestic budget, to increase mi l i ta ry expenditure, and to cut taxes in order to improve the 'climate' for capital formation and investment. It was a move away from the priorities and assumptions of the economic liberals. Reagan's remarkable success in 1981 was also due to innovative use of the Congressional budgetary process. Some of the administration's most dramatic coups were masterminded by Office of Management and Budget director, D a v i d Stockman, who used the provisions of the 1974 Budget Reform A c t to take the legislative ini t iat ive away from the House spending committees. The committees refused to adopt Reagan's budget plans but when the Budget Committee put their proposals forward in a bi l l Stockman used the reconciliation procedure and the alliance of Representatives forged by the President to replace the Democrats ' budget, in to to, w i th his own. The alliance was made up of the entire House Republican par ty together wi th conservative Democrats. It was, Reagan and his supporters believed, a logical replacement for the l iberal ism of the N e w Deal coalition and it represented the future of Amer ican politics. 1 N o r m a n Orns te in , 'Assess ing Reagan's F i r s t Y e a r ' in , Ornstein ed, President and Congress: Assessing Reagan's First Year (Washington D . C : A m e r i c a n Enterprise Institute, 1982.) A T A L E O F T W O B U D G E T S / 4 Al though this winning coalition lasted just 12 months its legacy the following year was a House rendered almost impotent by bitter divisions on the budget. The House was forced to swallow the President 's budget whole in 1981 and this proved a great shock to its delicate legislative sys tem. In 1982 some of its major fiscal organs almost seized up and the House budgetary mechanism was, for a while, rendered incapable of action. W h e n the Reagan 'revolution' lost momentum the effect was not to hand power straight back to the Democratic hierarchy. 2. The early triumphs The new President officially unveiled his plans on the 18th Februa ry 1981 when he addressed Congress and announced his budget proposals. H e asked Congress to cut $41.4 bil l ion from the fiscal 1982 spending request submitted by President Carter the previous fall . The cuts would a l l come from what The Economist called the 'post-New D e a l ' social services. 2 Money for the ' t ru ly needy ' 3 would not be cut. It would grow from 37 per cent to 41 per cent of the budget while arms expenditure would go from 24 per cent to 32 per cent . 4 B y the tenth of M a r c h when Reagan sent his full budget proposals to Congress the sum for proposed cuts had climbed to $48.6 bi l l ion. Senate passed a budget almost identical to the President 's 88-10 on the second of A p r i l . The President scored another significant victory when, on the seventh, the Senate Budget Committee voted to adopt the more sanguine prognostications of the O M B which were based on the economic theories favoured by the White House over the predictions of their own C B O . The uninterrupted success of Reagan's budgetary strategy may have encouraged the right-wingers to want even more. O n the ninth of A p r i l the Senate Budget Committee voted 12-8 to reject the President 's budget, wi th three balanced budget Republicans Arms t rong (Colo.), Grass ley (Iowa), and Symms 2 ' L e t The Budget Batt le Begin ' , The Economist, 21 .2 .81, p. 21. 3 Ibid. • Ibid. (Idaho) voting w i t h the Democrats. A T A L E O F T W O B U D G E T S / 5 B u t the r ight-wing, even i f they were beginning to doubt Reagan's ideological p u r i t y , 5 were not going to sabotage his legislation. The Senate as a whole, wi th conservative Republicans toeing the line, passed the Reagan-supported fiscal 1982 resolution. O n the 19th of A p r i l the House Budget Committee endorsed a Democratic budget, proposed by their chairman J i m Jones (Okla.) which was significantly different from the administration's by 17 votes to 13. H e n r y Reuss (Dem. Wise.) told L o y o l a U n i v e r s i t y students that the Jones alternative was: a pale and somewhat more human imitat ion of the Republican program - a little tougher on the fat cats, a little easier on the thin cats; and a bit more responsible about the deficit. In short, an improvement , i f hardly a call to the barricades. 6 President Reagan, however, had already set his heart on total victory and resolved not to build any bridges over the allegedly smal l gulf that separated h i m from the House Democrats. B y late A p r i l , when the recuperating President was ecstatically received by Congress , 7 majority leader Tip O 'Ne i l l (Dem. Mass.) estimated that letters from constituents were running five to one in favour of the White House's 'Economic Recovery P r o g r a m ' . 8 Maclean's reported that Reagan's economic policies had a two thirds approval rat ing in a national opinion p o l l . 9 The impetus for the adminis t ra t ion budget plan was enhanced by the economic upturn which occurred in the first quarter of 1981. 5 E v e n before Reagan took office Representative Jack K e m p (R. N . Y . ) was convinced the administrat ion would renege on the promised three year 30 per cent tax cut he favored. The Economist 7.1.81, pp.27-31. 6 ' B o l l Weevi ls of A Polit ical Breed' Maclean's 11.5.81, p .41. 7 Reagan had survived an assasination attempt on the 30th of M a r c h . 8 ' R e a g a n Takes Control A g a i n ' The Economist 2.5.81, pp. 23-4 9 11.5.81 A T A L E O F T W O B U D G E T S / 6 It was becoming increasingly clear that, in spite of the Democratic majority in the House, the administrat ion had a good chance of passing their budget without compromise. In addition to P h i l G r a m m there were over forty Democrats associated wi th the 'Conservative Democratic F o r u m ' , nick-named 'boll-weevils', who were assumed to be sympathetic to Reagan's economics. The informal organiser of the C D F Representative Char les W . Stenholm (Dem. Tex.) said, 'this part icular issue is about 80 to 85 per cent of the platform I campaigned o n . ' 1 0 Another Texas Democrat, K e n t Hance, said, 'we are Democrats, but the only hope for the Democratic party is a turn in the conservative direction. ' 1 1 The C D F members had found an unexpected early ally in O 'Ne i l l . In J a n u a r y he co-operated wi th their requests and allocated important positions on, amongst others, the Budget, W a y s and Means and Appropriat ions Committees, to fiscal conservatives. When chided for his actions by liberals he said 'let them read the election re turns . ' 1 2 3. The First Budget Vote One of the C D F appointees was P h i l G r a m m , an ex-economics professor who represented the northern suburbs of Houston, Texas . G r a m m gained a position on the House Budget Committee. G r a m m and the r ank ing Republican on the Budget Committee, Delbert L a t t a of Ohio, formally sponsored an administration supported budget in the Committee and in the House. G r a m m - L a t t a I was defeated by the Democratic majority on Committee. Bu t , since the debate on the budget was 'open', they were able to reintroduce their budget on the floor as an amendent and to t ry to substitute it, in its entirety, for the official Budget Committee bi l l . Reagan launched a major lobbying effort before the vote on the seventh of M a y to substitute G r a m m - L a t t a I for the Jones budget. He met over sixty members of Congress in the White House where he attempted to charm them 1 0 ' The ' B o l l Weevils ' Bore In ' Newsweek 11.5.81, p.24. 1 1 Ibid. In the 1980 election Reagan had won 72 per cent of the vote in Hance 's district. US News & World Report 22 .6 .81 , p.66. 1 2 Ibid. A T A L E O F T W O B U D G E T S / 7 and gave them Presidential cuff-links. H e also gave the White House's Kennedy Centre box tickets to wavering Democrats. Meanwhi le White Houses aides were us ing the mixture of serious politics and attention to banal details which was the administrat ion 's hal lmark to keep the G O P itself in line. Waver ing Republicans were threatened with the wi thdrawal of both Presidential endorsement in the November 1982 elections and White House tour passes they could give constituents. 1 3 O 'Ne i l l (with perhaps a hint of relief?) said 'there is no question that this is the greatest lobbying in the history of the country . ' 1 " O 'Ne i l l ' s hyperbole might well have been intended to show his own lack of lobbying effort in a better light. While Reagan was building up political momentum the House leader was on an Easter tour of the Ant ipodes . 1 5 Time drew attention to O ' N e i l l ' s discreet strategy at the t ime. 1 6 H e said 'I know when to fight and when not to fight.'1 7 A n d on this occasion he felt their was no point in fighting, because; 'There is a feeling among the Amer ican people to give the President what he's asked f o r . ' 1 8 O ' N e i l l consoled himself wi th plans of revenge. Jus t wai t until middle Amer i ca finds out what happened wi th these budget cuts. A m I going to get some Republican scalps down the road? Y o u bet I a m . 1 9 US News raised a more interesting question. If, as it appears, O ' N e i l l had given up on the Democratic plan in advance, then why did Reagan force the vote? It m a y be that the White House could not be sure of the extent of the Democrats ' demoralisation, or it may be the case that legislative inertia rather than White House pressure carried the bil l through to a rol l cal l . T 3 ' H o w Reagan Wooed Congress' US News & World Report 18.7.81, p. 17. US News noted that Congressmen had now voted to restore the White House yacht, deemed an unnecessary luxury by Carter , and suggested they did so because they fancied being lobbied while sai l ing romantical ly wi th Reagan on the Potomac. 1 4 'Reagan's B i g W i n ' Time 18.5.81, p.8. 1 5 Time 11.5.81 p.14. 1 6 Op. Cit. 18.5.81.pp.8-10 and 11. 1 7 Ibid. p.9. 1 8 Ibid. 1 9 ' T i p O ' N e i l l On The Ropes' Time 18.5.81, p.9. A T A L E O F T W O B U D G E T S / 8 B u t there are two other plausible explanations worth noting. F i r s t , some observers 2 0 argued that Reagan was t ry ing to create a permanent 'bipart isan' coalition, presumably by forcing the ' B o l l Weevi ls ' to declare in a roll cal l vote their support for the President 's policies and so create a visible division between them and the rest of the Democratic par ty . He may have believed that making the Democrats look like 'losers' would strengthen his coalition. The second argument is that Reagan, motivated by an intense dislike for, or adversarial attitude to, either the l iberal ideology the Democrats represent or for the personality of some of their leaders, par t icular ly O 'Ne i l l , badly wanted to humiliate them. O ' N e i l l and Reagan were consistently caricatured in the Amer i can media as a pair of old, feuding, I r i sh widows, or two Ir ish drunks fighting in a bar. It was no secret that they did not get on and in particular that O ' N e i l l was impressed by neither Reagan's cha rm, his policies nor his intellectual powers. O n the seventh of M a y the House approved the Reagan plan rather than the one proposed by its own Budget committee. Sixty-three Democrats voted wi th the Republicans as the House voted 257-176 to substitute Gramm-La t t a I for the Budget Committee resolution. O n the 12th Senate approved its version of the first resolution 78-20. Two days later conferees reached agreement on fiscal 1982 spending targets and on reconciliation instructions to the authorising committee requir ing them to make $36 bil l ion in additional cuts by the 12th of June. O n the 21st of M a y , only six days after the 15th of M a y deadline specified in the 1974 budget reform act timetable, Congress completed approval of the fiscal 1982 first budget resolution, which was 'd rawn ' , in the words of Congressional Quar ter ly , 'to Ronald Reagan's b luepr in t . ' 2 1 Congress kept up the pace. B y the 12th of June, the deadline for committee reports, al l but one of the twenty-nine committees (fourteen in the Senate, fifteen in the House) had completed their reports. B y the 17th of June the Budget Committees had totalled up the cuts made by the committees in their chambers 2 0 e.g. U.S. News 18.7.81. 2 1 Congressional Quarterly Almanac 1981, p .247. A T A L E O F T W O B U D G E T S / 9 and reported the resulting reconciliation packages. The House resolution included $37.3 billion in cuts. The White House reaction to the committee repor ts 2 2 was not very-enthusiastic. The administration found the cuts the House committees made 'unconscionable. ' 2 3 Stockman said the House bi l l was an example of 'congressional backsliding and a return to business as u s u a l . ' 2 " The Democrat-controlled committees in the House, had tried to distribute the cuts they had been ordered to make in the least painful manner, they had made smaller cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, aid to education, welfare, child nutr i t ion, food stamps and larger cuts in the Export-Import Bank ' s budget. 2 5 They had also tried to undermine some proposed cuts: for example they had cut the budget for foodstamps but not the conditions of entitlement. The money would then run out before the end of the year necessitating emergency appropriat ions. 2 6 P a r t of the problem was that the Democrats remained sceptical of Reagan's economic assumptions. 4. Total Victory for the President O n the 26th of June the House voted 217-211 to substitute a budget d r awn up in the White House, G r a m m - L a t t a II, for the resolution sponsored by the Budget Committee and derived from the work of the spending committees. Th i s vote was preceded by a series of G O P victories on procedural votes. The most important was the passage of a rule which made the substitution of G r a m m - L a t t a II a straight either/or vote. The Democrats had favoured six independent votes on different parts of the budget; their strategy was to expose the cuts the Republicans were making, rather than allow them to escape from the cr i t ic ism of voters and lobbyists by saying individual cuts were inseparable parts of a larger 2 2 About 4,000 pages worth of output, which is as good an indication of how work the committees had done as any. ' B i g Batt les on Two Fron t s ' Time Magazine 29.6.81, p. 15. 2 3 Quoted without source in, 'Block Grants : Categorically N o . ' The Economist 20.6.81, p.22. 2 4 Time 29.6.81. p. 14. 2 5 ' H e Got What He Wanted ' Time 6.7.81, p.10. 2 6 The Economist 20.6.81. A T A L E O F T W O B U D G E T S / 10 package. G r a m m - L a t t a II was one of the Reagan supporters' key victories. The result was an increase in cuts to $37.8 bi l l ion. In addition to raising the absolute total of cuts, G r a m m - L a t t a II resembled the Senate bil l a great deal in the way it distributed those cuts and the assumptions it made. The votes were preceded by another bout of energetic lobbying by the administrat ion. Reagan, who was s tay ing at the Century P laza in Los Angeles, phoned 19 Democrat Representa t ives 2 7 on the morning of the votes while House Republicans made as many speeches as possible to give h i m time to talk to more potential defectors. Th is is when, as Stockman later put it in his infamous interview wi th The Atlantic Monthly, the 'Hogs really fed . ' 2 8 A t the time he called it 'considerations and adjustments. ' 2 9 Newsweek estimated that $10 billion of the $37.8 bil l ion G r a m m - L a t t a II was supposed to save was spent on incentives to Southern Democrats . It was Stockman who phoned three key Southern Democrats to promise that the administration would drop opposition to sugar price support, a programme which cost $2 billion per y e a r . 3 0 One member of this trio was J o h n Breaux (La.) who also asked for modification of the subsidies which encouraged utili t ies to switch to coal and gas and away from oil fuel. Reagan called Breaux at the Capi tol half an hour before the vote to promise h im what he wan ted . 3 1 B reaux was asked afterwards i f this meant his vote could be bought: 'No , but it can be rented,' was his r e p l y . 3 2 The Presidential victory meant that six weeks of work by the specialist House committees was thrown out in favour of a budget drafted entirely by the O M B and D a v i d Stockman. The committee members traditionally take pride in 2 7 Time loc. cit. 6 .7 .81. 2 8 The Atlantic Monthly, N o v . 81 . 2 9 ' Reagan's Sweet T r i u m p h ' Newsweek 6.7.81, p.18. 3 0 ' H o w L o n g C a n Reagan's Coal i t ion Las t ? ' Business Week 13.7.81. p.99. W h a t Business Week calls 'sugar price support ' Time (6.7.81.) calls 'federal loans to sugar producers. ' 3 1 Time 6.7.81. 3 2 Business Week 13.7.81. inter alia. A T A L E O F T W O B U D G E T S / 11 their work and were unhappy at having it al l rejected, especially since what was put in the place of the Budget Committee resolution was a sloppy piece of legislation. Commonweal, in a part isan attack on the vote, reserved its greatest scorn for Stockman's work: They voted for a 'document' that was real ly a collection of over five hundred mostly unnumbered pages and handwrit ten notes, full of pen and pencil deletions that abolished entire programs and gave duplicate authority for others, much of it wi th far-reaching implications that could not be discussed or debated because the content was unknown. 3 3 Indeed, Time implied that Reagan himself had only the vaguest knowledge of the document's con t en t s . 3 4 It may seem petty to carp over the appearance of a b i l l , but the fact that the President wanted Congress to pass a piece of legislation which they (and he) had not seen, into which they had had no input, and which was a scruffy affront to their institutional pride, was further humil ia t ion for them. There was a string of horror stories surrounding the document. The name and phone number of an O M B analyst had not been deleted from one page . 3 5 ' O n his w a y to the podium to present the b i l l ' relates Time melodramatical ly , ' . . .Delbert Latta.. .discovered the drafters had left out any money for bi l ingual education: he he pencilled in a sum, but mistakenly made i t $85 mi l l ion rather than the $157 mill ion requested by the President and approved by. . .Senate . ' 3 6 Fur thermore the Head Star t school-leaver programme had been accidentally left out of the b i l l altogether. 3 7 In this case the accident turned out to be genuine, whereas some deletions observers supposed were mistakes were later found out to have been intentional. A programme for the blind was originally deleted altogether, and 3 3 'June 26: A D a y in the Life of Congress' Commonweal 31 .7 .81, p.427. 3 "6 .7 .81 . 3 5 Newsweek 6.7.81. 3 6 ' T h i s M a y H u r t a L i t t l e ' 13.7.81, p.8 3 7 Ibid. A T A L E O F T W O B U D G E T S / 12 then, in the document that reached the House, had been reinserted in one section only. A s imi la r th ing happened to an education programme, funding for which was cut in one par t but not a n o t h e r . 3 8 O 'Ne i l l claimed that Republican leader Miche l had told Reagan 'this is such a mishmash we ' l l be the laughing-stock of A m e r i c a . ' 3 9 Reagan for his part crowed happily over his victory, 'The Conservat ive Democrats made their break today. They aren't going to be back in T ip O 'Ne i l l ' s par ty - eve r . ' * 0 A n d an unnamed 'Republican staff leader' said it 's 'not dollars anymore - it's w inn ing . ' 4 1 B u t not a l l the loya l soldiers were so happy; B i l l F ranse l (R. Minn. ) said 'there's a fair amount of resentment among Republicans that Conservative Democrats are wr i t ing a l l our policies for us . ' 4 2 O n the 15th of J u l y , 250 conferees from 58 sub-committees convened to work out the differences between the House and Senate bills. They reached Final agreement on the 29th on what Congressional Quarter ly called 'The deepest and most widespread package of cuts in the history of Congress . ' 4 3 5. The Tax Cut Meanwhi le , Reagan's tax cut proposal was advancing steadily through Congress. The conventional wisdom was that this was Reagan's most popular campaign promise, and therefore that the proposal would easily pass. Interestingly it began to appear that the electorate was keener on eliminating the deficit than on tax cu ts . 4 4 The adminis t ra t ion wanted a 10 per cent income tax decrease in each of the next three years , which would apparently work out at 23 per cent overall . The 3 8 ' The G O P ' s Hidden Agenda ' Newsweek 13.7.81, p.22. 3 9 Time 6.7.81. 4 0 Newsweek 6 .7.81. 4 1 Ibid. 4 2 Business Week 13.7.81. 4 3 Congressional Quarterly Almanac 1981, p.257. col.2. 4 4 See infra pp. 109-111. A T A L E O F T W O B U D G E T S / 13 Ways and Means Committee 's original proposal was for 15 per cent spread over two years, skewed to favour those with incomes under $50,000 a year. The two sides then became embroiled in a bidding war , which the President won when the tax bi l l passed the House 238-195 on the 29th of J u l y wi th forty-eight Democrats and one Republican voting against their parties. Reagan had again displayed a willingness to pay whatever it cost to buy the Bol l Weevils ' votes. The Senate had original ly proposed $6.1 bil l ion in tax relief for the oil industry. House W a y s and Means cha i rman D a n Rostenkowski, 'freely conceded' 'it 's a bidding w a r , ' 4 5 and his Democrat-controlled Committee upped that to $7.1 bill ion before Reagan added the two together and offered $13.1 billion. Newsweek calculated that this came to $1.1 bi l l ion for each of the twelve votes of concerned Representa t ives ." 6 What the Democrats never did was to t ry to oppose the cuts, and the final differences between the Democrat and Presidential proposals were not great. They centered mainly on the questions of to whom and by how much the tax cuts would be biased. The President would settle for nothing less than another total victory. In addition to the financial incentives he dangled before part icular Congressmen, he made a 22 minute television pitch. The television appeal was a great success. O ' N e i l l said the next morning that the Democrats faced defeat because of ' a telephone blitz l ike this nation has never seen.'" 7 Telegrammes came into the Washington post office at ten times the normal rate and ran 12-1 in support of the President. Ca r ro l l Hubbard (Dem. K y . ) reported receiving 516 calls in one day, Bo G i n n (Dem. Ga.) 600, and S a m H a l l (Dem. Tex.) 32 in one hour immediately after the speech; all " 5 'Bidding W a r For T a x Votes ' Newsweek 3.8.81, p.20 " 6 Ibid. " 7 ' Y e a s 238-Nays 195' Time 10.8.81, p.28. A T A L E O F T W O B U D G E T S / 14 three were potential defectors. 4 8 A n d Kent Hance reported that his ma i l was running 50-1 i n favour of Reagan . 4 9 A characteristic Reagan touch came after the vote when he called a radio phone-in show in Texas to congratulate local Congressman Ra lph H a l l (Dem. Tex.) for voting for the tax cut. Thir ty-one of the self-designated 'Bol l Weevils ' supported the the Reagan tax b i l l . B u t many were adamant that they were not turncoats and had not surrendered their independence. K e n Holland said: We Southern Democrats had been for such changes before and then Reagan came along and plagiarized them. 5 0 W i l l i a m Chappel l (Fla.) said 'I 've been preaching this philosophy al l along, so I don't see any defection. ' 5 1 A n d M a r v i n Lea th explained the 'defectors' were ' saving our par ty , not destroying i t . ' 5 2 A n even more defiant tone was struck by Neely L e w i s , the Democratic chair of Brazos County (which lay wi th in P h i l G r a m m ' s constituency): I think a lot of us here take some pride that P h i l has become something of a national figure who gets on the nightly news . 5 3 A g a i n the Whi te House did little to hide its happiness, which Democratic congressman Richard Gephardt (Mo.) remembered in 1982 as 'sheer p leasure ' 5 4 at the vic tory. One of Reagan's political advisors, L y n Nofziger, predicted that 4 8 'Rest in Peace, N e w Dea l . ' Newsweek 10.8.81, p. 16. 4 9 ' The 'Bo l l Weevi l s ' - . . .Who. . .What . . .Why. ' US News & World Report 17.8.81, p.36. 5 0 US News 17.8.81. 5 1 Ibid. 5 2 Ibid. 5 3 US News ' H o w a Mave r i ck Lawmake r Goes Over Back Home' 17.8.81, p.37. 5 4 infra. 'The 1983 Budget ' A T A L E O F T W O B U D G E T S / 15 the Republicans ' w i l l be in power for the rest of the cen tu ry . ' 5 5 Reagan signed both the tax bi l l and the reconciliation b i l l into law on the 13th of August , saying that it signalled 'an end to excessive growth in government bureaucracy and government taxing. ' Str ic t ly speaking, the first budget resolution is non-binding and can be overturned in the second resolution which should be passed, according to the schedule, in September. The reconciliation process, therefore, should be used on the second resolution. Congress had, however, included in the reconciliation bi l l the provision that i f no second resolution was passed then the first resolution would become binding. In other words there was no need to produce a second budget resolution. A n d so, according to Congressional Quar te r ly , 'Congress left Washington for its Augus t recess th inking it had taken care of its economic problems for the yea r . ' 5 6 6. Autumn: the second round of cuts. B y the end of the summer recess it was clear that the economy was not reacting as the President and his advisors had hoped. B y the first week in September the White House was openly ta lking about further cuts. The Economist quotes an unnamed White House aide who said that because of the slower than expected rate of growth, and that further cuts of $10 bi l l ion to $15 billion were needed, even the Pentagon was no longer ' sacrosanct ' . 5 7 According to Time Reagan asked his advisors for ways to t r i m $15 bil l ion from the fiscal 1982 budget and $74 bil l ion from fiscal years 1983 and 1984 to offset deficits which would clearly be larger than they had expected. 5 8 Bo th The Economist and Time agreed this action was taken to appease W a l l Street, which had kept the prime rate at 20 per cent apparently because its inhabitants did not believe the government debt would shrink or that the economy would recover. 5 5 US News 'The 'Bo l l Weevi l s . " 17.8.81. 5 6 CQ Almanac p.267 col 1. 5 7 1 A President in the Hands of the M o n e y - M e n . '12 .9 .81 , p.23 5 8 21.9.81, p.44. A T A L E O F T W O B U D G E T S / 16 If these cuts were to be made then Congress would have to pass a second budget resolution. O n the 13th of September Reagan asked Congress for further cuts totaling $13 bill ion and for an increase in appropriations to bring in $3 bill ion more. The Senate appropriations committee rejected his request. Reagan managed to get just $4 billion in total cuts from them. E v e n his allies on the H i l l were sceptical. Senator Howard Baker asked h im: W h a t the hell difference does it make? If we cut another $10 bill ion or $15 bil l ion the financial community wi l l just come back and ask for another $15 billion cut . 5 9 The President made a thir ty minute television appeal on behalf of what he termed 'phase two' of his programme, which involved $13 bill ion in further cuts and $3 bi l l ion in increased revenue by closing tax loop-holes. Accord ing to Time6 0 the Republicans were unhappy and sent Baker scurry ing up to the Whi te House. There Reagan told h i m that 'I a m not prepared to do anything that would have me appear to be backing off . ' 6 1 Nevertheless Reagan promptly agreed to drop proposed cuts in cost of l iv ing allowance deferments. The package had again been hastily cobbled together by the over-worked Stockman, i n order to beat the start of the new fiscal year on the first of October . 6 2 One of the proposed cuts was for $87 .2m in the labor, health, human services, and education bi l l . On the s ix th Regula (R. Ohio) proposed that this bi l l be recommitted to the W a y s and Means Committee, who could then redraft it to include the cuts proposed by the White House. Regula's proposal was defeated 168-249. While this vote did not compromise Reagan's record of never hav ing lost a 'budget' vote, it was undoubtedly a defeat for his economic strategy. 5 9 Ibid. 6 0 Ibid. 6 1 Ibid. 6 2 Ibid. A T A L E O F T W O B U D G E T S / 17 The defeat of this proposal, as wel l as the rout of the whole package, can be traced to several influences. The dramatic change of strategy was far too reminiscent of the old Car ter indecisiveness; and it also showed a lack of understanding of Congress's workings or a lack of sympathy for its members. They could not have been happy when, six days before the start of the fiscal year, Reagan sent them another badly drafted piece of legislation which would take a lot of ext ra work to enact. Fur thermore , the President's conviction that he was a lways right must have begun to wear. H i s insistence to B a k e r that he must not be seen to back down was one example. In his television speech the President characterised his opponents as ' A chorus of other voices protesting that we haven't had full economic recovery . ' 6 3 But , clearly, the economy had not recovered, otherwise why the President would not have needed to ask for $16 bill ion more in cuts. Things did not look up for the adminis t ra t ion. In November The Atlantic Monthly p r in ted 6 4 an article based on a series of interviews wi th Dav id Stockman. The budget director displayed d i sa rming frankness and little political sense i n admit t ing that a lot of his figures were good, guesses, that nobody was sure that 'Reaganomics ' would work, and - worst of a l l for the administration's relations wi th Congress - that he had been less than straightforward when dealing wi th Congressional committees (an admission Democrats would cheerfully throw in his face whenever he and they disagreed in the next year). Congress voted another continuing resolution for November. But on the 20th of November the President vetoed one of them, this (theoretically) left the Federal Government without money and (again theoretically) closed it down for a day. Reagan used this br inksmanship to force Congress to pass $4 billion of his proposed cuts. He threatened to keep on vetoing stop-gap resolutions until they did what he wanted. B y means of this tactic the President was able to dictate 5 3 Ibid. 6 4 Op. Cit. A T A L E O F T W O B U D G E T S / 18 terms. A n d , according to Time6 5 this is what happened: Reagan's lieutenants...conferred only wi th Republican leaders and did not so much negotiate as tell them what the President would and would not accept. Moreover Congress gave Reagan power wi th in broad l imits to take the $4 billion out of whatever programs he chose. 6 6 The House Budget Committee had agreed on the 12th of November to reaffirm the first budget resolution rather than accede to Reagan's demands for further cuts. They did not report the bi l l to the House unt i l the eighth of December. O n the tenth the House voted 206-200 to reaffirm the first resolution. Since they were already in the process of passing a new set of appropriations, programme by programme, that resolution was, said Congressional Quar ter ly , 'meaningless ' . 6 7 Because the Senate, encouraged by President Reagan had been dragging its feet on new appropriations bills (by late November, fourteen out of the fifteen House spending committees had completed work while only eight Senate committees had done so) the House also passed a continuing resolution on the eleventh of December which funded the neglected programmes unti l M a r c h 1982. So, at last, barely noticed outside Washington the bulk of a budget f inal ly emerged from Congress. While the tired ' l awmakers ' crawled home for Chr i s tmas Reagan set the seal on a year of almost uninterrupted tr iumphs by signing into law the appropriations bills and continuing resolution which seemed to mark the f inal surrender of the legislative branch. 6 5 'Look ing Back on a Budget Coup' Time 11.1.82, p. 14. 6 6 Op. Cit. 6 7 'The law requires that before a session of Congress can adjourn the second budget resolution must be in place. There should be no confusion about the fact that this. . . second budget resolution wi l l take us through the Fiscal year, meeting the spending targets and revenue targets as outlined therein... the fact is that this is the only way we could reach an agreement,' said Jones opening the debate ( Congressional Record vol 127 part 23 p.30592) and L a t t a agreed,'there is no question that we wi l l have a third budget resolution... we are at the closing days of this session...we do not have the time or the economic Figures...for a full-blown review of the budget.' ( op. cit. p. 30593.) B. THE 1983 BUDGET A T A L E O F T W O B U D G E T S / 19 1. S p r i n g : No F i r s t B u d g e t R e s o l u t i o n In 1981 Reagan had had his way on almost every vote, or at least had been able to c la im every vote as a victory. In 1982 his only consolation could be that i f he got very little of what he wanted, his opponents did no better when it came to generating a budget of their own. Enough members of the President's coalition drifted away to destroy his abi l i ty to command a majority of votes in the House. Bu t they did not automatical ly fall in behind the Democratic leadership. The President 's actions of the previous year seem to have created expectations across the House which could not be fulfilled. The Bol l Weevils had received special considerations. They presumably wanted that to continue. B u t now other groups whose votes the President had been able to take for granted, like the l iberal Republican G y p s y Moths , wanted s imi lar treatment. H i s r ightwing supporters did not want to see the programme diluted, which would be difficult to avoid i f the G y p s y Moths were to be appeased, and all his supporters wanted the economy to recover as he had promised, but which it had not. A t first Reagan presented Congress wi th a budget containing provisions for a $55.9 billion deficit reduction plan. Accord ing to administration estimates the deficit would be brought down to $91.5 bi l l ion, from their latest estimate of $98.6 billion for the fiscal year 1 9 8 2 . 6 8 The President explained that there were several good reasons why the deficit had soared when he had predicted that his policies would reduce it. F i r s t there was the unexpected recession; secondly the unexpectedly high interest rates (which were originally expected to fall after the debt was reduced); thirdly the failure of Congress to enact al l the cuts he had requested; and finally the success of the government in reducing inflation (which meant incomes were rising less fast and so less was being raised from people crossing a higher tax threshold). 6 9 It is difficult to see how the adminis t ra t ion could claim to have been entirely 6 8 ' N o Time to Retreat ' Time 15.2.82, p.12 6 9 Ibid. A T A L E O F T W O B U D G E T S / 20 responsible for a drop in inflation which occurred during its first three months in office. Furthermore, while Reagan supporters outside Washington might have been prepared to believe that an unco-operative Congress was to blame for the failure of Reagan's budget, the audience on Capi tol H i l l would have been reluctant to agree. The reaction from Congress was indeed hostile. Republican minor i ty leader Miche l said shortly after the President revealed his plans that, There is close to no chance that Reagan's budget wi l l pass. V e r y few Republicans would vote for it. I know of no o n e . 7 0 B y early M a r c h the President was clearly going to have to compromise on his budget. 'Suggest something and we ' l l look at i t , ' he told Congressional leaders . 7 1 He did, however, make it clear that the mi l i t a ry budget and the $91.6 bil l ion tax cut were non-negotiable. 7 2 The President had predicted that the fiscal 1983 deficit would be $91 bi l l ion. B y mid-March Time predicted it would be $96.4 b i l l ion . 7 3 The same week Newsweek, not to be outdone, quoted Stockman as saying it might go over the magic $100 billion m a r k . 7 ft A n d the fiscal 1982 deficit also looked like it would hit twelve figures. In early A p r i l The Economist reported that revised predictions, based on 'favourable' economic forecasts, indicated a $101.9 bil l ion deficit, $10.4 bil l ion higher than that predicted by Reagan on the eighth of F e b r u a r y . 7 5 It is difficult to avoid wondering where Reagan was getting his numbers. They were consistently optimistic, and consistently suggested that his approach was work ing ; but they were also increasingly inaccurate. H o w could Reagan hope to w i n over Congress to his beliefs i f he made economic predictions for 1982 that were wi ld ly wrong even before Congress began to consider his budgetary proposals for 7 0 ' A L ine drawn in the D i r t ' Time 22.2.82. 7 1 ' A Budget that wi l l Bare ly Budge' Time 11.3.82, p.17 7 2 Ibid. 7 3 ' P l a y i n g it Cool on Frozen Ice. '22.3.82, p.34 7 " 'Reagan Versus the F isca l 5' 22.3.82, p.30. 7 5 ' T o K i l l A Monster ' 17.4.82, p.43. the next year? A T A L E O F T W O B U D G E T S / 21 Furthermore there were other, more consistently accurate, predictors available. The C B O , allegedly free from par t i san ideological influences, had used far more conventional assumptions, and had been consistently nearer the mark than the O M B , which was struggling wi th the untested 'trickle-down' and 'supply-side' theorems even when, as S tockman had freely admitted to The Atlantic Monthly, they had no idea how meaningful were the numbers their models generated. 7 6 The differences between the two began to become mildly comical when, in A p r i l , their deficit predictions differed by 300 per cent. The C B O said the Reagan budget would produce a $240 bill ion deficit in 1985, the O M B said it would be $81.8 b i l l i on . 7 7 In 1981 Congress had accepted the White House's figures as opposed to those of its own staff. W h y should it do so again? A t the end of A p r i l the Admin i s t r a t ion agreed to use the C B O ' s figures, a good indicator of how far the balance of power had swung in Washington . 7 8 The dislike the Congressional leaders had for the President's budget had sent them manifested itself in a reluctance to deal wi th it. It was not unt i l the 25th of M a r c h that they began to take action. O n that day they began a series of private negotiating sessions wi th Whi te House Chief of Staff J . O. Baker . The talks were t r iangular , wi th Senate Republicans, House Democrats and the Adminis t ra t ion occupying the three corners. They became bogged down on Reagan's refusal to consider the repeal of part of his 1981 tax cut and O 'Nei l l ' s s imilar intransigence on the subject of social security benefit cutbacks. O n the 28th of A p r i l O ' N e i l l was f inally prevailed upon to go and talk wi th the President. Thei r meeting was disappointingly unproductive and marked the break-down of negotiations. Time, not normal ly given to harsh cri t icism of the President, said that Reagan 'has an almost messianic faith in the viabi l i ty of his / 6 L o c . Cit. 7 7 ' S t u m b l i n g to a Showdown' Time 26.4.82, p.14. 7 8 'In Quest of P a x Reaganomica ' Newsweek 3.5.82, p.20. A T A L E O F T W O B U D G E T S / 22 economic program. ' 7 9 After rejecting the President 's original budget 20-0, the Senate Budget Committee came up wi th a budget that Reagan found acceptable and which the chamber passed 91-7. This was clearly the easy part for the adminis t ra t ion. The House Budget Committee passed its version of the first budget resolution, 17-12, in a vote along par ty lines wi th P h i l G r a m m abstaining. In 1981 the President's greatest legislative t r iumph had been the w a y he steered his budget through Congress. B u t this time the auguries were much less favourable. The previous year Reagan had offered a miracle cure for the ai l ing economy. Even those who disagreed had been unwil l ing and unable to resist because Reagan and his policies seemed to have such great public support. A s Time said, 'Congress was awed by a President who claimed a mandate for change and had a gift for persuading the p u b l i c . ' 8 0 Bu t the patient had, in spite of the President's diagnosis, neither recovered nor died. Voters seemed to have lost their enthusiastic faith for his prescription, though this did not mean they had embraced the cure suggested by his opponents. According to a poll published in Newsweek, Presidential approval, which had been 60 per cent in M a r c h 1981, had fallen to 52 per cent by J anua ry 1982, and then to 45 per cent in M a r c h . The same poll revealed that in the first three months of 1982 those who saw a cut in mi l i ta ry spending as the best way to reduce the deficit had grown from 33 per cent to 45 per cent, while support for non-mil i tary cuts held steady at 40 per cent. Seventy per cent of Amer icans said they were prepared to forego the second part of the tax cuts and 54 per cent said Reagan should compromise more with Congress . 8 1 Moreover, people m a y have been less wi l l ing to l isten to the President when he predicted doom and disaster. He had cried ' w o l f on four occasions the previous year, and people wi l l only write or phone their 7 9 24.4.82. 8 0 Ibid. 8 1 'The G O P ' s F a m i l y Feud ' 15.3.82, p.24. A T A L E O F T W O B U D G E T S / 23 Congressmen so often. If Reagan's lustre had faded wi th the voters, it had also worn off in Congress. The Democratic leadership, of course, respected h im only insofar as he could command votes, but they were reluctant to contemplate deals wi th h im. They believed he had in some way double-crossed them in 1981. 'There 's a real paranoia about what he's rea l ly up to,' said Representative Gephardt (Dem. M o . ) . 8 2 A n d to back up a l l these changed perceptions of the President were the unchanging facts of the economy. According to The Economist factories were operating at 71.1 per cent of capacity in M a r c h and the unemployment rate was somewhere between 9 and 10 per cent for A p r i l . 8 3 2. The First Budget Resolution On the 22nd of M a y the House adopted a unique rule of extreme complexity for its first budget resolution debate. Seven different budget plans were to be considered. Three of these were judged to be major plans, and these were designated 'category B ' . The other four were called 'category A ' . The four 'category A ' plans were to be considered first, and then the other three plans would be considered. The three 'category B ' bills were the Michel -Lat ta plan, which was closest to the administrat ion position, the A s p i n or 'moderate/bipartisan' plan, which was sponsored by Budget committee Democrats and some 'Gypsy Moths ' - as a group of northern Republicans had called themselves - and the Jones/Budget Committee plan, the official work of the C h a i r m a n and the Democratic majority on the Budget Committee. Th i s last was the bi l l which the Democratic leadership 8 2 ' In Quest of a P a x Reaganomica ' Newsweek 3.5.82, p.20. 8 3 ' T h e Budget: A n Irresistible Urge to Spend' 22.5.82, p.26. The Economist is suspiciously inconsistent in its choice of economic indicators. There may be good reasons for this. Bu t , it could also be that, once they have noted inflation and unemployment, they select those which most unambiguously support whatever point they are t ry ing to make. A T A L E O F T W O B U D G E T S / 24 supported. The four category ' A ' bills were one put forward by the Black caucus, the M i l l e r (Dem. Calif.) 'pay-as-you-go' budget, Rosselot /Dannmeyer (both Repub. Calif.) balanced budget proposal and the Obey (Dem. Wise.) ' l iberal ' plan. This unique rule allowed eight separate budget plans to be defeated in the five day debate that ended in the early morning of the 28th of M a y . 8 4 The debate saw Reagan's first major budget defeat; at the same time the Democrats could not pass a counter-proposal of their own. The rule was, according to Richard Boi l ing , the Rules Committee chai rman, the most complex budget rule ever adopted in the H o u s e . 8 5 Boi l ing told the Washington Post 'I think there is much more opportunity for members to participate in shaping this year 's budget than last year but it is s t i l l a makeshift process. Y o u can' t repair the damage of last year overn ight . ' 8 6 The previous year Boi l ing had called the Stockman budget ( G r a m m - L a t t a II) a 'distortion of the intent of those who wrote the Const i tut ion as wel l as the intent of the 1974 budget act . ' 8 7 H i s motive in concocting such a complex budget rule this year was, said the Washington Post, 'to avoid the polit ical and public relations disaster the Democrats would suffer i f the House failed to find a way to pass any budget in the midst of the severe economic s l u m p . ' 8 8 The rule, however, had unexpected consequences. The class A type were voted on first to placate their smal l , but vocal, bands of supporters before the House moved on to the peculiar three-cornered fight between the bills the leadership took seriously. However , one of the A bil ls , a balanced budget proposed by John H . Rousselot, a California Republican, did surpr is ingly wel l . It 8 " After the seven A and B budgets had been defeated the House went back to the original, unamended, Budget Committee proposal and defeated that for good measure. 8 5 Washington Post, 27.5.82, p. A 1 3 . 8 6 Ibid. 8 7 Ibid. 8 8 Ibid. A T A L E O F T W O B U D G E T S / 25 was beaten only 242-182. This left the conservative Republicans far from humbled and instead complaining about the 53 G O P defectors whose votes had helped defeat the Rousselot bi l l . The support the Rousselot bil l had drawn emboldened Republicans who were unhappy at the high level of social security and Medicare expenditure in a l l three class B proposals. They believed they formed the bulk of the Republican group in Congress and that the leadership was pandering too much to the smal l gang of vaci l la t ing l iberal G y p s y Moths and taking their votes for granted. So they resolved to send a warn ing shot over their leadership's bows. The strategy backfired. It helped precipitate the defeat of the Republican leadership's own Miche l -La t t a budget b i l l . The M i c h e l - L a t t a bi l l came closer to passing than any of the other bills but was s t i l l defeated 192-235. This resolution was very s imilar to the budget that the Senate had passed, 49-43, at the end of the previous week. The difference was that while they used almost the same figures their expenditure total had come to $15 bil l ion less when they added them up. When asked how the House Republicans a r r ived at these, more palatable, Figures an unnamed Senate Republican replied that 'they l i e . ' 8 9 'Our figures are no phonier than anybody else's' retorted an unnamed aide to a senior House R e p u b l i c a n . 9 0 These remarks echo Stockman's interview and indicate, again, the extent to which ideological considerations determined economic facts. Miche l blamed a Democrat amendment proposed by M a r y Rose Oakar (Dem. Ohio) for the defeat of his bi l l . The Oakar amendment was a straight guns versus butter vote, or, as some Representatives put it: grannies versus battleships. It involved substituting $4.85 billion in Medicare outlays for a s imilar total earmarked for defence by the bi l l . Not even the Democrats expected the amendment to pass but when 62 'Yel low Jackets ' (as the conservative Republicans were quickly dubbed) voted 'present' the effect was to ra l ly the 8 9 'Does Anyone have a Budget ' Time 31.5.81, p.28. 9 0 Ibid. A T A L E O F T W O B U D G E T S / 26 Democrats and liberal Republicans. It became clear that the amendment might succeed and in the last 60 seconds of the vote 51 of the Yel low Jackets switched their votes to 'nays ' although 11 did not and some, including Jack Kemp , persisted with their protest and voted for the amendment. Miche l called the Yel low Jacket revolt 'a typical Young Republican s t u n t . ' 9 1 But, said Mickey Edwards (Oklahoma) of the three class B proposals, 'doing nothing is better than doing th i s . ' 9 2 Some Republicans felt that the White House was betraying them by supporting the Miche l -La t t a b i l l . ' A n administrat ion that set out to change the country is increasingly in recent months t ry ing to accommodate itself to the conventional wisdom of the Washington political establishment, ' said N e w t Gingr ich (Republican, Georgia) . 9 3 Conservative Republicans, on the other hand, would not support a bill which had been amended in such a wa y as to cut mi l i t a ry expenditure and increase Medicaid. B u t most Democrats st i l l found the bi l l unacceptable and wanted to see if they could pass their budget rather than a sl ightly amended Republican one. Afterwards Miche l told colleagues that for a budget to pass it would have to 'move several degrees to the r igh t . ' 9 4 Another significant amendent, proposed by Jamie Whi t ten , (Dem. Miss.) was added to each bi l l . The effect of Whit ten 's amendment would have been to remove the abil i ty of the Budget Committee to review his Appropriations Committee's actions. This would have removed a l l the teeth from reconciliation and made it impossible to force the committees back into line i f they had decided to exceed the expenditure suggested in the first resolution. The Budget Committee had, unti l 1981, taken care not to be seen to be encroaching on the turf of other committees. This deference had l imited its effectiveness but had 9 1 Ibid. 9 2 Ibid. 9 3 Ibid. 9 4 Congressional. Quarterly Almanac 1982, p. 193 col.2. A T A L E O F T W O B U D G E T S / 27 allowed it to avoid making powerful enemies. Whi t ten was reacting to the events of the previous year , and although the amendments were ult imately futile because the bills were al l defeated, the move signalled Whit ten 's determination not to al low the administrat ion to repeat the tactics of the previous year. The Whi t t en and Oakar amendments were only two out of 68 different amendments wh ich had to be voted for separately for each of the three major proposals. W h a t had appeared to be a compromise of dazzl ing cunning by the Democrat - run Rules Committee had turned into a marathon legislative stalemate. 'Right now you haven' t got the votes out there to pass the Lord ' s prayer , ' said A s p i n . 9 5 O n the seventh of June the Budget Committee proposed a new budget plan to the House. It was defeated 202-225 on the tenth. B u t an amended G O P resolution, proposed by Delbert La t t a , passed 219-206 the same day, wi th forty-six Democrats and fifteen Republicans defecting from their respective parties. Th is budget p lan called for a deficit of $99.27 bil l ion, while the one that the Senate had passed estimated a $116 billion shortfall. The difference is important because one total is above, and the other below, the polit ically crucial $100 bil l ion mark . (The Congressional Quarterly used the lower figure twice but explained that dubious accounting methods were adopted to keep the budget below $100 b i l l i o n . ) 9 6 W h e n it came to acting on the instructions contained in the bi l l the W a y s and Means Democrats consistently refused to make the necessary cuts. They tied themselves in such a knot that chairman Dan Rostenkowski had to adopt a strategy that appeared to concede one of their constitutional prerogatives because he could not get them to produce a tax proposal that had a chance of mak ing it through the House. O n the 23rd of June, nearly six weeks after the 15th of M a y deadline, the 9 5 'Chaos Ap len ty but no Budget' Time 7.6.82, p.22. 9 6 Congressional Quarterly Almanac (1982) p. 195. col. 1. A T A L E O F T W O B U D G E T S / 28 Conference Committee finally finished wi th the first budget resolution for fiscal 1983. 3. Summer and F a l l 1982: Congress Fails to Produce a Budget. N o w the various committees in both houses had to go about the business of fill ing in the details of the budget resolutions. Inflation jumped to over 10 per cent i n M a y (it had averaged 3 per cent over the previous seven months) . 9 7 B u t Reagan said the recession was 'bottoming out ' . 9 8 E v e n though the budget resolution passed by Conference Committee and backed by Reagan allowed for a fiscal 1983 deficit of over $100 bill ion and for a $20.9 billion tax increase, the President said to his cabinet: 'let's understand. We're not changing course, and I don't want people saying that we might be . ' 9 9 Meanwhi le Congress had started work on two large reconciliation bills. On the 13th of J u l y the Senate Finance Committee reported the first of these which they entitled: the 'Tax Equi ty and F i sca l Responsibi l i ty A c t of 1982.' The bil l had started life as a minor budget bi l l in the House. Therefore, strictly speaking, the Senate was not breaking wi th convention and ini t ia t ing fiscal legislation when it tacked a very large tax reconciliation package onto the end of the original bi l l . The package contained provisions designed to raise $98.3 billion in extra revenue by closing tax loopholes, ra is ing taxes, and make cuts of $17.5 billion on Medicaid , Medicare , welfare, and savings bonds between 1983 and 1985. It passed Senate 50-47 with no Democrats support ing it. This was because, Time said, they were not going to commit Congress 's cardinal s in and vote for a tax increase in an election year . ' 0 0 The House also wanted nothing to do wi th the bi l l and renounced its 9 7 'Reaganomics on the Ropes' Newsweek 5.7.82, p .31 . 9 8 ' A Tense Truce in the Budget Bat t le . ' Maclean's 28.6.82, p.24. "Newsweek 5.7.82. 1 0 0 ' B i t i n g the Budget Bullet ' 2.8.82, p.20. A T ALE OF TWO BUDGETS / 29 primacy in fiscal matters when it voted 208-197 on the 28th of July to send the Senate bill to Conference. 164 Democrats and 44 Republicans supported the motion while 137 Republicans and 60 Democrats opposed it. This was partly a product of the Democrats' desire to spare themselves the embarrassment of voting for a tax increase in an election year but it was also the result of the need to help the Ways and Means Committee escape from a potentially disastrous internal deadlock. After the Latta proposal passed, the Ways and Means Committee had met on numerous occasions to find ways to pay for it. On the 13th of July they found $5.9 billion dollars in Medicare 'cuts': half of what the bill specified. On the 15th they met behind closed doors and found ways to bring that total up to just under $11 billion, only half a billion dollars short of the target. But, the bulk of that total came from tax increases and accounting sleights of hand. Rousselot, a Republican Committee member, complained that the Democrat strategy had been to get the Republicans to push for cuts and that they still planned to blame the GOP for the cuts they had made. 1 0 1 On the 21st of July Rostenkowski presented a tax-increase package to the Democratic caucus. Rostenkowski had drawn up the proposal in cahoots with Barber Conable (N.Y), the ranking Republican in his Committee and it resembled the tax increase proposals just passed by the Senate with a few added wrinkles such as increased taxes for oil companies, a tax on tips and a tightening up of corporation tax. The Democrats hated it. The next day the Ways and Means Committee rejected their chairman's proposal. Already, according to the Congressional Quarterly, some Democrats were toying with the idea of going directly to conference in order to get out of this embarrassing impasse. 1 0 2 On the 28th of July Rostenkowski proposed that course of action to his Committee. They voted for it. Four Republicans voted with the Democrat majority, one of them, Conable (N.Y.), from the North East. 1 0 1 CQ Weekly Report Vol 40, No 29, 17.7.1982, pl696, col 3. 1 0 2 Op. Cit. Vol 40, No 30, 24.7.82, p.1749, col 3. A T A L E O F T W O B U D G E T S / 30 One Democrat committeeman, James Shannon (Mass), voted with the Republicans. They presented the proposal to the House that day and it passed. Rostenkowski said that any attempt to draft a tax-increase bi l l in the House would lead to political chaos, severely reducing chances of passage. 1 0 3 Tip O ' N e i l l was much less defensive: he wanted to embarrass Reagan: I want h i m to use that smiley countenance, that sweet-talking voice of his, and be as hard knuckled wi th the Republicans as he has been along the line. H o w can a Democrat vote for a tax increase wi th opponents hammer ing you to death, unless the President is right out t h e r e . 1 0 " Gephardt voiced s imi lar sentiments; 'I wan t there to be Presidential leadership and sheer pain, as there was sheer pleasure last y e a r . ' 1 0 5 There can be little doubt that senior House Democrats bore a deep grudge for their humiliat ion in 1981. The second reconciliation bi l l (entitled the Omnibus Reconciliation Ac t of 1982) passed conference on the 18th of Augus t . Between them the two reconciliation bills included savings expected to amount to $130 billion over three years, a larger total than the $125.5 bil l ion requested in the original reconciliation instructions. 4. Veto Override O n the 24th of J u l y Reagan vetoed an emergency supplemental bil l for the current year. The bi l l had started life as a routine supplemental designed to raise an ext ra $4.9 bill ion for the fiscal-1982 budget. The House had added $3 bil l ion onto it in emergency housing aid and a $3,000 cap on the tax deductions which members of Congress would be allowed to c la im. They also amended the bi l l to repeal a long forgotten provision of a 1978 law requiring a balanced 1 0 3 ' A No-Fingerprints T a x Bi l l* Newsweek 9.8.82, p. 16 1 0 " Ibid. 1 0 5 Ibid. A T A L E O F T W O B U D G E T S / 31 budget by 1981. The veto was sustained the same day. The next day Reagan vetoed another emergency supplemental b i l l , which was identical to the first except that the housing plan had been left out. The House sustained the veto on the 13th of J u l y . O n the 28th the President vetoed a $14.2 billion emergency supplemental b i l l , calling it a 'budget buster'. The bi l l contained $6.16 bil l ion for federal pay increases due the first of October and general supplemental appropriations including $5 billion for agriculture and $0.8 bill ion for health, education, labour, and human services. The House rejected the veto by 301-117, and the next day the Senate followed suit, 60-30 (21 Republicans defecting). Time argued, plausibly, that Reagan knew his veto would be overturned but calculated that the cost of losing was better than the cost of not vetoing and appearing to give ground. 1 0 6 The other media disagreed. Newsweek pointed out that what the President called a 'budget buster' was $1.5 bil l ion under his original request. 1 0 7 Business Week said that the Republican defections showed how nervous the G O P was about the upcoming e l e c t i o n s ; 1 0 8 a far c ry from the days when withdrawal of an electoral endorsement was one of the chief sticks the Whi te House had to beat fractious Republicans into line. C. 1982, THE TIDE TURNS The second year of Reagan's presidency, which ended wi th a par t icular ly frustrat ing lame-duck session, saw no further smashing tr iumphs for Reagan. The Democrat leadership were able to deprive Reagan and his allies of their momentum and to stop them passing a budget in the Reaganomic mould. Thei r successes were, however, almost entirely negative because for they too were unable to pass a budget that was the coherent product of a macroeconomic theory. Instead 1982 saw the start of a re turn to 'business as usua l ' as the 1 0 6 "You can't win them a l l ' Time 20.9.82. 1 0 7 ' R e a g a n ' s F i r s t Defeat' Newsweek 20.9.82, p.24. 1 0 8 ' T h e Recession Unnerves the G O P ' Business Week 18.10.82, p.40. A T A L E O F T W O B U D G E T S / 32 committees re-established their equi l ibr ium and their control of the budgetary process. E v e n i f they were unable to use the budget as a tool of economic management they was able to re turn to the time-honoured tradition of using it to meet the par t icular needs of members and their constituencies. The alliance which was to have kept the Republicans in power for the rest of the century lasted less than a year . It had involved the President encouraging a rebellion by the majority of Representatives against the majority par ty leadership and the sys tem it controlled. It involved short-circuiting the long-established system for considering legislation. Congress is a ruminat ive body which chews over the same piece of legislation in its various digestive organs (the two chambers, the various House and Senate spending, W a y s and Means and Budget Committees and the Conference Committee) before producing its final bills. A long the w a y al l Representatives, or groups of Representatives, w i th sectional interests to protect have the chance to barter their votes for considerations. That w a y an acceptable budget is produced. The 1974 Budget Reform act was an attempt to impose a structure which would allow macro-economic considerations to overrule sectional interests, but the Budget Committee was too t imid and too weak to make it work. For one year Reagan had managed to t ransform Congress into an almost parl iamentary system. The reaction in 1982 was a case of severe legislative indigestion before the system settled down to produce a 'business-as-usual' budget with something for everybody, including a few nods to the President which he had to make the best of. The difference between the crushing Presidential victories of 1981 and the painful compromises of 1982 was a handful of votes. The majority of Representatives on both sides remained safely at anchor wi th their parties for nearly al l the votes but some were tossed back and forth between the two sides. In order to identify the important currents in Congressional politics it wi l l be revealing to chart the courses of these margina l voters and to try to discover w h y they, and not others, bobbed so far on the political tides. C H A P T E R II. THEORIES OF CONGRESS IONAL V O T I N G B E H A V I O U R . A. INTRODUCTION Scholars attempting to explain why Representatives vote as they do have offered, broadly, two types of answer. There are those who argue that re-election is the only consideration Representatives allow themselves and there are others who argue that, while the voters are important, Representatives can be swayed by non-constituency motives. The pattern of the votes in 1981 and 1982, especially among the marginal Representatives, wi l l provide a test for these theses. Pure constituency theorists, for example Dav id M a y h e w in The Electoral Connection, argue that in order to understand the way Representatives vote i t is necessary is to discover what their constituents want. More scope is given to Representatives by Richard Fenno and Mor r i s F io r ina . Bo th suggest w a y s in which Representatives can develop a measure of electoral independence. Fenno argues that they can develop a 'home style' . If they attend to casework diligently or are skilled at explaining their votes they m a y be able to earn enough trust to allow them some leeway on House rol l calls. F i o r i n a says that Representatives' first concern is a lways reelection but, i f they believe they have done enough to guarantee that, they may allow themselves the l uxu ry of cast ing a vote in pursuit of a secondary legislative goal of theirs. F i n a l l y , there is a group of theorists who concentrate not on individual Representatives but, instead, on the creation of effective legislative coalitions in the House. B. THE ELECTORAL CONNECTION 'Vote your district first, ' said speaker S a m Rayburn , and few modern wri ters on Congress forget that every two years Representatives must answer to their voters. Some have gone so far as to argue that when we want to know w h y Representatives vote as they do we need only look at the desires of their constituents. Dav id M a y h e w lays out this extreme position clearly in The Electoral 33 T H E O R I E S O F C O N G R E S S I O N A L V O T I N G B E H A V I O U R . / 34 Connection.^ Here he creates a model of congressional behaviour very s imi lar to the type used by economists discussing the perfect market. I shal l conjure up a vis ion of congressmen as single-minded seekers of re-election, see what kinds of activity that goal implies, and then speculate about how congressmen and women so motivated are l ikely to go about building and sustaining legislative institutions and mak ing po l icy . . . 2 M a y h e w suggests four advantages of this emphasis on re-election as a goal. F i r s t , ' i t fits polit ical reali ty rather w e l l . ' 3 Second, it 'spotlights...directly...men...(not) parties and pressure groups (which are)... analytic phantoms. ' 4 T h i r d , the 're-election quest establishes an accountability relationship wi th the electorate. ' 5 Th is means that the goal of re-election enjoys 'putative empir ical p r i m a c y , ' 6 or, in other words, ' i t has to be the proximate goal of everyone, the goal that has to be achieved over and over again i f other ends are to be enter tained. ' 7 A n d fourth, 'politics is best studied as a struggle among men to gain.. .power and (of) the consequences of that struggle. ' 8 M a y h e w rejects the notion that in any assembly a min imum winning coalition w i l l a lways form, ensuring the winners each receive the largest possible slice of the cake and the losers as little as possible. M a y h e w employs the traditional arguments concerning the weakness of parties in Congress, and adds that: '...the satisfaction of electoral needs requires remarkably little zero-sum competition among members . ' 9 'So we are left w i th 535 men and women, rather than two parties, as the units to be e x a m i n e d . ' 1 0 ' D a v i d M a y h e w The Electoral Connection (New Haven: Ya l e Univers i ty Press 1974). 2 The Electoral Connection pp. 5-6. 3 Ibid. p.6. 4 Ibid. 5 Ibid. 6 Ibid. p. 17. 7 Ibid. p. 16. 8 Ibid. p. 17. 9 Ibid. p .83. ^°Ibid. p .27. T H E O R I E S O F C O N G R E S S I O N A L V O T I N G B E H A V I O U R . / 35 But these conditions obtain only while there is pork to be distributed; when the vote is on building a dam here, a factory there, or support ing the price of some crop, then the cost to the members not directly involved is quite smal l when compared to the benefits for the few Representatives who stand to gain. According to M a y h e w ' s figures Representatives who ignore constituency considerations and spend too much time and energy on nat ional issues are not investing their capital wisely i n the electoral market place and w i l l receive a poorer return in votes than they might otherwise have. Whi le only a third of the variance in par t isan percentages in House elections is due to nat ional factors, over half, says M a y h e w , is local. So, marg ina l Representatives, who must t ry to gain the support of every possible voter, ought to be more l ikely to be district-oriented or 'delegates' than non-marginal members. Bu t , a l l Representatives have had close shaves at one time or another during their electoral careers and it may be that a non-marginal is 'safe' precisely because the Representative a lways keeps the need for re-election foremost in his or her mind when voting. (In fact it is not quite true that all members of Congress have had a close shave at one time or another. Bu t , as Fenno's Home Style reveals, they a l l tend to think they are in constant danger of a close shave , 1 1 which , given the purposes of the argument, comes to the same thing.) A logical consequence of seeing Congress as an insti tution in which legislative effectiveness is completely subservient to members ' re-election goals is to argue that legislation itself is of no great interest to members. M a y h e w says, 'Part icularized benefits aside...congressmen have less stake i n winn ing victories than they normally appear to have . ' 1 2 Thus, to put too much into mobilization would be to misallocate resources. For members who make the motions or car ry the bills there m a y be 1 1 Fenno,R. Home style (Boston: Li t t le , B r o w n 1978.) 1 2 M a y h e w Op. Cit. pp. 117-8. T H E O R I E S O F C O N G R E S S I O N A L V O T I N G B E H A V I O U R . / 36 a value in winn ing , but how much value?.. .Would Senators (Hatfield and McGovern ) . . . have been any less esteemed by their followers i f their ant i -war amendment had won rather than lost? 1 3 H o w can the 1981 and 1982 budgets be accounted for in terms of this k ind of argument? The success of the Reagan administration in obtaining majorities in Congress can be explained either as the result of the part icularized rewards the budget offered or as a side effect of position-taking by Representatives. Cer ta in ly there was an element of good, old-fashioned vote buying i n the 1981 votes on reconciliation and the tax cut when the administrat ion promised some Southern Democrats concessions on sugar, cotton, and oi l . The next year a group of Nor the rn Republicans tried the same maneouvre. They called themselves the ' G y p s y Moths ' and attempted to barter their votes for benefits such as heating oil subsidies which would provide special concessions for their constituents. M a y h e w concentrates on the relationship between Representatives and the par t icular interests of their constituents. For the politicians the important thing is to be seen to be doing what the constituents want. If the constituents do not get the legislation that they want passed then the Representative can explain that they did their best but were betrayed by the inequities of the system. They would have been legislat ively successful, they might say, as Reagan did in 1982, i f Congress were not dominated by members preoccupied wi th their own self-interest. Th is is a point Fenno develops. He points out that while 90 per cent of Representatives are re-elected, Congress as a whole usual ly receives no better than a 25 per cent approval rating. The rat ing for Congress as a body is, he adds, highest when it is passing Presidential legislation, as it was in 1981 . 1 « This means that one popular strategy among candidates is to run for 1 3 Ibid. p. 117. 1 * Richard Fenno If, as R a l p h Nader says, Congress is a Broken Branch , then how Come we Love our Congressmen so much? in N o r m a n Ornste in ed., Congress in Change (New Y o r k : Praeger, 1975.) T H E O R I E S O F C O N G R E S S I O N A L V O T I N G B E H A V I O U R . / 37 Congress by running against i t . 1 5 . Th i s , presumably, applies not only to members of Congress. Reagan's presidential campaign i n 1980 was in part a campaign against big Federal government. The difference between a President and a Representative is that the former would be expected to follow through on a promise to do something about the way Washington worked. Fenno's argument raises the question of Representatives developing presentational styles. Th is is an issue irrelevant to the m a i n thrust of Mayhew ' s argument so we w i l l return to it later. In The Electoral Connection M a y h e w is quite clear that the voting behaviour of Representatives can be understood almost entirely in terms of their desire for reelection. In order to expla in the votes in 1981 and 1982 we must look mainly for the local benefits each rol l cal l offered, i f there are none then the attitudes of constituents to nat ional issues wi l l have provided Representatives with their voting cues. Perhaps the change in the type of budget votes, from the general in 1981 to the par t icular in 1982 was a result of a desire by Representatives to re turn to work that would yield a greater margina l return come the election. Nevertheless, says M a y h e w , whether the votes had national or local content, we need look no further than the constituents for the entire explanation of Congressional action. C. OTHER LEGISLATIVE GOALS While M a y h e w ' s theory is coherent, logical, and elegantly simple it does jar wi th the accounts Representatives gave of their own actions dur ing 1981 and 1982. There are other writers who give pr imacy to the need for reelection but describe how Representatives m a y be able to pursue, some of the t ime, other legislative goals. This section wi l l look at two such wri ters . The first is F i o r i n a who argues that certain Representatives m a y be able to vote independently some of the time. The second is Richard Fenno who argues that votes in Congress are only part of a Representative's overall 'home style' and that wha t counts on a vote is not what constituents want, but how Representatives think they can explain, or avoid having to explain, their vote back home. T H E O R I E S O F C O N G R E S S I O N A L V O T I N G B E H A V I O U R . / 38 1. Maximizers and Maintainers F i o r i n a divides Representatives into two types: maximizers and mainta iners . 1 6 The maximizers a lways have re-election as their first goal i n any action they take. The maintainers also have re-election as their main goal, but are aware that they do not need every possible vote they could gain to win . For them, under certain circumstances, the extra votes an action might bring them w i l l have less u t i l i ty than the other goals they might satisfy by r i sk ing those votes. The maintainers are those Representatives with large majorities who feel safe (which is a feeling, Fenno suggests in Home style, that few congressmen or women actual ly allow themselves). 1 7 According to Fior ina ' s statistics, 33 per cent are maximizers and the rest are maintainers . 1 8 The other goals members m a y hold include: legislative influence, policy, prestige, party loyal ty, and higher office. 1 9 These would a l l be lost, the argument runs, i f the Representative were to lose the next election. Representatives, therefore, w i l l a lways start their legislative careers as maximizers and wi l l only act on their secondary preferences so long as they can st i l l maintain their chances of reelection at a safe level. F i o r i n a also divides constituencies into two types: homogeneous and heterogenous. H e goes on to argue that maintainers a lways come from homogeneous districts and that heterogeneous districts are a lways represented by maximizers . Th i s is because homogeneous districts tend to be safe and heterogeneous ones marginal . A Representative from a highly heterogeneous district can never hope to win by much. B u t for one from a homogeneous distr ict it is a l l or nothing: It m a y be that the great bulk of congressmen achieve reelection precisely because they vote o p t i m a l l y . 2 0 F i o r i n a argues that the fact that voters are ignorant does not mean that 1 6 M o r r i s R F i o r i n a , Representative, Roll Calls, and Constituencies (Lexington, 1974) 1 7 op. cit. 1 8 Ibid. 1 9 F i o r i n a , op. cit. p.35. 2 0 Ibid. T H E O R I E S O F C O N G R E S S I O N A L V O T I N G B E H A V I O U R . / 39 Representatives are not electorally accountable: 'what counts is the potential damage of a vote . ' 2 1 E v e r y time Representatives record a vote in a roll call they give a hostage to the future. E a c h vote could be that fatal misstep which is exploited by a smal l group of interested constituents to br ing about electoral disaster. The possibility that somebody at home might be watching and could make an issue out of it is enough to force the member of Congress to pay close attention to the desires of his or her constituents in every roll call vote. The surv iva l routine of al l Representatives must be to ask themselves before every action ' w i l l I offend anybody or lose any votes?' When they have calculated the potential damage, they m a y decide that it is bearable. F i o r i n a adopts another micro-economic argument when he argues that Representatives can never foresee the future and therefore must act in every case as i f this vote is their l a s t . 2 2 They must assume that i f this vote alienates their constituents they may not be given the opportunity to redeem themselves. There wi l l be patterns to Representatives ' voting behavior, but these are due to the make up of their constituencies. This explanation rules out the possibility that the Republican defectors on Miche l -La t t a , for example, knew they would have another chance to pass a budget when they dragged down their party 's proposal. B u t the Yel low Jackets seem to have picked that vote as the time to signal a warning to their leadership not to take their votes for granted. Indeed the budget is part icularly wel l suited to strategic voting because, unlike any other area of legislation, Congress is obliged to pass a budget every year. 2. Homestyles Fior ina arr ives at his theory deductively whereas Fenno approaches the problem inductively. Fenno spent eight years t ra i l ing 18 politicians round the country. While F i o r i n a believes that, logically, Representatives must treat every vote as their last Fenno argues that, in practice, they do not. Reelection is, at almost 2 1 F io r ina , op. cit. 2 2 Ibid. T H E O R I E S O F C O N G R E S S I O N A L V O T I N G B E H A V I O U R . / 4 0 . a l l t imes, their p r imary goal but, first, they can w i n the approval of their voters in other ways and, second, provided their representatives do not cast a s t r ing of unpopular votes, constituents are usually happy to let them act as ' trustees'. Fenno quotes the three of his Representatives from the most ' issue-oriented' districts as saying their constituents have little idea of how their Representatives voted on the vast majority of roll calls. 'People don't care about m y votes,' said one. 'They are indifferent. It 's amazing to m e . ' 2 3 Fenno's data suggests that F io r ina is wrong to argue that even though voters consistently display a very low level of political knowledge, Representatives must s t i l l act on the assumption that political enemies wi l l make the m a x i m u m capital out of every vote. H e says that most Representatives believe that no one rol l cal l w i l l cost them the election. Fenno argues that roll call votes account for only a part of Representatives ' s tanding back home. Representatives also w i n approval by attending to casework, m a k i n g themselves visible to voters through the media and personal appearances, by winn ing their share of pork barrel and by cl imbing to positions of power, status and high visibil i ty in Washington. Which of these they choose to concentrate on depends on their home style but once they have the trust of their constituents they earn a certain amount of flexibili ty on roll calls. Fenno quotes a congressional adage that ' i f you've got to explain you're in trouble' but argues that, since Representatives m a y have to defend any given rol l ca l l , wha t matters is not how they voted but how they can explain the vote. It would, however, be a mistake to expect those explanations to be of a very sophisticated kind. Mos t constituents are ignorant of the way Washington works and, says Fenno, Representatives are generally happy to keep them that way . T h e y ra re ly go out of their way to educate voters on the obscure ways of Congress and concentrate instead on contrasting their performance wi th the corrupt w a y s of the institution and the bulk of the rest of its members. 2 3 Home style p. 142. T H E O R I E S O F C O N G R E S S I O N A L V O T I N G B E H A V I O U R . / 41 Al though Fenno does not spell the point out in Home style, the way Congress conducts its business means that some votes are less visible, without being less effective, to constituents than are others. It may be easier to avoid the scrutiny of constituents on a voice vote than on a rol l call because the latter is recorded. The extent to wh ich any given vote is procedural or substantive wi l l also effect the w a y the vote is viewed by Representatives. If they wish to take positions they w i l l do so on substantive votes; i f they wish to block legislation they can do so on procedural votes. When, in 1982, the House was t ry ing to avoid becoming associated wi th an unpopular tax bi l l , they voted for a confusingly worded procedural motion which let the Senate take the full blame. Representatives like to hide their less seemly work in procedural votes, which, though arcane, m a y wel l have substantive effects. The whole process by which the House avoided voting on the budget in 1982 was so tied up in complex procedural votes that outsiders might wel l have found it difficult to comprehend. This was precisely the intention of the Democratic leadership. In 1981, on the other hand, they had been unable to escape the three unambiguous blockbuster votes. Fenno suggests, however, that voters have a limited attention span and a l imited supply of polit ical passion. W h e n Reagan tried to rouse them for a fourth time in the fall of 1981 they failed to respond. Fenno also deals wi th the question of changes in the attitudes, styles and, consequently, voting behaviour of Representatives as they gain seniority. Fenno opens Home style w i th an account of a congressman returning to his constituency fresh from the glamorous legislative wheeler-dealing of Washington where he had just resisted a personal telephone appeal from the President. Now he had to re turn to handing out shopping bags to const i tuents . 2 * M a n y veteran politicians become frustrated wi th the demands of constituency work. Often they have attained positions of power in Congress and they believe they serve the country as a whole best when they have a degree of freedom from the myopic desires of their own constituents. They believe that the more independent members of Congress are, the better the legislation they can pass. There are a var iety of reasons why more senior members come to think this way. A s almost al l the 2 * Ibid, pp .xi -xi i . T H E O R I E S O F C O N G R E S S I O N A L V O T I N G B E H A V I O U R . / 42 power in Congress is directly related to length of continuous service, (the p l u m committee and sub-committee chairs, the House and party leadership, and so on), senior members have less incentive to spend much time on their constituents' demands. Furthermore, more senior members tend to identify their personal prestige with that of the institution. This is part ly because more of wha t the insti tution does is either their work or the work of close friends, and par t ly because they become 'socialized' to the values of Congress. They m a y also become weary of the constant struggle to maximize votes. They m a y lose their enthusiasm for the t ir ing trips to the constituency every weekend and the endless menta l alertness it takes to ensure that they 'maximize ' on every vote . 2 5 Fur thermore , Representatives can develop a home style based on their role as statesmen and power-brokers, telling their constituents that they can do more for them than a rookie ever could and that their position reflects wel l on the whole constituency. The attitude of the more senior members is expressed by Fenno in Home style. It was re-articulated in 1982 in Time as part of its feature on the budget 'battle' . Time presented a pessimistic view of the younger generation of Representat ives. 2 6 It quotes J i m Wright : (T)he moral s tamina in terms of basic integrity and guts has declined. Members are much more concerned about image than substance. 2 7 A n d an anonymous senior House member agrees that being able to resist the folks back home is a laudable character trait . The new breed are scared of their shadows. They want to do what is immediately popular rather than what w i l l w o r k . 2 8 This explains why the quest for pork-barrel is sometimes set aside by members 2 5 cf. Home style 2 6 Time 26.4.82. loc. cit. 2 7 Ibid. 2 8 Ibid. T H E O R I E S O F C O N G R E S S I O N A L V O T I N G B E H A V I O U R . / 43 as their committees at tempt to preserve their reputation for highly qualified non-partisan work and for their effectiveness in pushing measures through Congress . 2 9 In the light of this, the use of the reconciliation process in 1981 is highly s t r iking. The spending and tax committees were al l 'rolled', that is their budget proposals were overturned, as the President took the decision-making away from them. Pa r t of Reagan's failure the following year comes from the determination of the committees to protect their ' t u r f . Offended institutional pride may explain the decline in the support which Reagan enjoyed in the House between 1981 and 1982. Some of those who voted wi th the President and against the system in 1981 might have done so as a result of a sense of crisis or of powerful pressure from their constituents. Wi thout such strong motives they went back to supporting the system i n 1982 and merely maintaining Reagan's new right coalition was not sufficient to persuade them to rebel again. Representatives, then, are d rawn , for a variety of reasons, to vote wi th their committees. W h a t is more they are more l ikely to vote wi th their committees i f they are more senior members. They have become absorbed into the House seniority sys tem and are rewarded w i t h power and status and a feeling of responsibility. Fur thermore , as Kenne th Shepsle demons t ra tes , 3 0 there is a hierarchy among committees. This is par t ly because some committees do more important and conspicuous work and par t ly because some committees yield more potential for looking after the interests of the folk back home. A n d , as Ph i l G r a m m found out, on committee appointments the party giveth and the party taketh away. In 1981 we might expect members of committees, especially more senior Democrat members of high status committees, to be more inclined than their fellows to resist perceived electoral opinion and to defend their committees. 2 9 Fenno mentions this his detailed account of the work of the Appropriat ions committees in The Power of the Purse (Boston: Li t t le , Brown, 1966). 3 0 Kenne th A . Shepsle The Giant Jigsaw Puzzle (Chicago, Univers i ty of Chicago Press. 1978) T H E O R I E S O F C O N G R E S S I O N A L V O T I N G B E H A V I O U R . / 44 D. COALITION BUILDING So far we have talked of roll calls as occurrences independent of each other. Indeed F ior ina argued that this was the only way to view votes. Fur thermore , we have hardly discussed the role of the parties even though the budget battles of 1981 and 1982 were often discussed in terms of Republicans against Democrats and when we move on to the analysis of the data we shal l divide Representatives up by party. One reason for this is that the works of some of the constituency theorists (i.e. M a y h e w and Fenno) are a deliberate attempt to reintroduce the voters into Congressional literature from which they had almost vanished. The rest of the chapter wi l l concentrate on the type of literature which talks about parties rather than voters and the moods of Congress rather than the moods of the electorate. One of the preoccupations of wri ters in the 1960s was how it was that Congress could be so reluctant to pass certain types of 'ideological' legislation for long periods and then suddenly go on a reformist binge as i t did in Roosevelt 's first years and again after Johnson was elected in 1964. Al though Reagan 's agenda was conservative the events of 1981 are in many ways s imi la r to those of 1932 and 1964. M a y h e w , in Party Loyalty 3 1 has tackled the problem as have, inter alia, Randal l Ripley and D a v i d Brady . M a y h e w concentrates on coalition-building in Party Loyalty and argues that, ' a Congressman dispatched to Washington to guard the interests of a district cannot do the guarding by himself. It takes the votes of as many as 218 Congressmen to authorize...a b i l l . . . ' So members must form a coalition if they want to have anything pass through Congress. The most important and longest l ived 'dominant coalition' of modern Amer ican history was Roosevelt's N e w Deal coalition. M a y h e w argues that the Democrats were much more legislatively successful than the Republicans between 1932 and the mid-sixties because the Democratic par ty i n Congress was 3 1 Dav id R . M a y h e w Party Loyalty among Congressmen; the difference between Democrats and Republicans; 1947-62. (Cambridge, Mass : H a r v a r d Unive r s i ty , 1966) T H E O R I E S O F C O N G R E S S I O N A L V O T I N G B E H A V I O U R . / 45 ' inclusive' while the Republ ican par ty at the time was 'exclusive'. W h a t this means is that 'House Democrat ic leaders persistently championed, and Republicans persistently opposed the programs of their interested members . ' 3 2 The 'par ty loyal ty ' of members of the Democratic party was a quid pro quo service rendered by members of one interest group for members of another who would later re turn the favour. E a c h supported legislation that benefited their allies but did little h a r m to their own constituents. The Republicans characterised the Democratic Pa r ty as a 'g ravy t r a i n ' . 3 3 The Democrats, for their part, argued that 'the summat ion of the programs of various party elements constituted the national interest . ' 3 4 Bu t , as Mayhew points out, the spending on which the alliance rested 'was obviously fitting to a party wedded to the ideology of welfare l i be r a l i sm . ' 3 5 The Democrats ' ' N e w D e a l Coal i t ion ' , therefore, worked because a series of special interest groups, none of which, alone, constituted a majority, supported each other in voting. The Republicans, who represented the tax-payer of small- town 'middle' A m e r i c a , could only watch in helpless frustration, unable to enter any counter bids. But , argues M a y h e w , this does not mean that they had to become N e w Dealers in order to stand a chance of passing legislation. It m a y be that ' inclusive ' compromise is the hal lmark of a dominant party rather than a welfarist one, that the best way to build a majority par ty in A m e r i c a is to impress upon the electorate issues which make ' inclusive ' legislation possible. 3 6 A 'dominant ' par ty (n.b. not a 'majority' party) has to be able to offer part icularized benefits to enough interest groups to be able to deliver a majority 3 2 Ibid. p.40 3 3 Ibid. p. 15. 3 4 Ibid. 3 5 Ibid. 3 6 Ibid. p. 159. T H E O R I E S O F C O N G R E S S I O N A L V O T I N G B E H A V I O U R . / 46 of votes over a sufficient period for everyone to receive their reciprocal rewards. A coalition has a certain period of grace, because congressmen and women can hope to 'impress upon the electorate' the possibility of inclusive legislation. The success of the Reagan budget in 1981 could, in the l ight of this argument, be explained in two different ways. E i ther the t radi t ional constituency of the Republicans had grown so large that exclusive legislation was now possible, or the Republicans had at last managed to find a formula for putting together an inclusive coalition. The Reagan budget was presented as part of an at tempt to balance the government's books, as a move toward fiscal responsibili ty after the spendthrift days of New Deal /Great Society Democratic control. Insofar as this was its object, the budget was then clearly in the tradition of the policies espoused by the Republican minority/opposition during the years of Democrat control. I f a majority of Representatives supported it , it could be because a majority of their constituents now held that belief, or might have become susceptible to having that view impressed upon them. Or it may be that the new budgetary process, and part icularly reconciliation which Reagan used tell ingly in 1981, has made it possible to pre-empt budget log-rolling, a characteristic of inclusive coalitions. This is what Reagan's election campaign might have led us to expect. One of the characteristics of inclusive coalitions is that they spend money and enlarge federal government. Indeed, over the past 50 years this has become the accepted norm for congressional behaviour. Congress had ra re ly managed to cut taxes in that period and had not been able to turn the budget into a macro-economic tool. When Reagan ran on a ticket which promised a balanced budget and a tax cut he was running for Washington by running against the inclusive coalition which dominated Congress. The coalition which voted through Reagan's budget t r iumphs in 1981 did, however, bear some of the ha l lmarks of an inclusive coalition. It m a y have been that some Representatives supported the President 's budget not because they T H E O R I E S O F C O N G R E S S I O N A L V O T I N G B E H A V I O U R . / 47 believed his economic strategy would work but because their constituencies stood to benefit f inancial ly from increased mi l i tary spending or from a relaxation of the laws governing minera l extractions. What proved real ly damaging to the President 's budget hopes in 1982, was the Adminis t ra t ion 's willingness to exchange quite specific fiscal inducements for Bol l Weevi l votes on key roll calls in 1981. One explanation for the bursts of legislation which characterise 'new coalitions' (Roosevelt's N e w Deal , the 'Great Society' promoted by Johnson and Reagan's 'b ipar t isan coalit ion' , for example) is that a long period of ideological gestation is needed. Congress and the electorate must be famil iar ized wi th a profound change in poli t ical th inking and persuaded that this is 'an idea whose time has come.' Sundquist , for instance, argues that the Great Society programmes were a l l the product of such a period of g e s t a t i o n . 3 7 Because Representatives know a bi l l w i l l be defeated does not mean that they do not plan to have it passed in the future. Pau l Cra ig Roberts argues that 'supply-side economics won its spurs i n the congressional process ' 3 8 in 1977 when Rousselot introduced to the House the first tax cut bi l l inspired by supply side theory. The b i l l , known as Kemp-Ro th , even though it was heavily defeated by the old guard in the House, s t i l l served to awaken Representatives to the truth of supply-side theory. Ripley argues that there are two features which parties forming a majority for the first time, after a long period in opposition, tend to d i sp lay . 3 9 The first is comparat ively strong par ty discipline; the second is a willingness to innovate. Bo th of these were features of Republican action on the H i l l in 1981. One of the reasons for the loss of impetus the Republicans suffered in 1982 was the decline of the very high level of par ty loyalty they enjoyed in 1981. 3 7 See James h. Sundquist Politics and Policy: The Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson Years (Washington D C : Brookings 1968). 3 8 P a u l C r a i g Roberts The Supply Side Revolution (Cambridge, Mass : H a r v a r d Un ive r s i t y Press , 1984) pp. 6-7. 3 9 Randa l l B . Rip ley , Majority Leadership in Congress (Boston: Li t t le , B r o w n 1969). T H E O R I E S O F C O N G R E S S I O N A L V O T I N G B E H A V I O U R . / 48 S imi la r ly B r a d y argues that, when a real ignment occurs i n A m e r i c a n politics, a marked increase in the correlation between par ty loyal ty and issue voting wi l l follow elections in which the voters have been offered an unusual ly pronounced ideological choice by the parties ' election platforms. A further upshot of this wi l l be that the House Appropriat ions Committee w i l l , for a while , become more partisan and less consensual which w i l l weaken the chances of its bills p a s s i n g . " 0 The Reagan 'revolution' differs from the cases B r a d y studies because it was not accompanied by a change in control of the House. A s a result a large-scale change in the membership of committees did not occur. E v e n so there was, in 1981, an increase in ideological behaviour par t icu lar ly from junior members like G r a m m . Fur thermore the heightened ideological awareness of 1981 and 1982 led to an increase in the perception that the committees were producing polit ically par t isan work. W h a t had previously been an acceptable part of the status quo was now another manifestation of 'business as usual . ' Which was one of the things the Reagan 'revolution' intended to change. The 1980 election certainly bears out B rady ' s argument that a realignment is preceded by an election i n which the parties offer the voters a genuine ideological choice. Fur thermore , the behaviour of the G O P in 1981 and the nature of the programme they supported supports his description of post-realignment politics. The failure of the Democratic par ty to play their role correctly is a product of the unusual circumstances. It m a y be wor th bearing in mind, however, Brady ' s caution that the idea of realignment has become part of the Washington folklore. It is quite clear that Reagan and his advisors believed they were shaping a new dominant coalition. E. CONCLUSIONS The small numbers of institutional theories examined here suggest several answers to the question of why Reagan's budget fared less wel l in 1982 than in 1981. The most significant thing about the answers is wha t they a l l have in " 0 D a v i d W . B r a d y ' A Reevaluation of Real ignment in A m e r i c a n Politics: Evidence from the House of Representatives' American Political Science Review M a r c h 79 (1985) 28-50. T H E O R I E S O F C O N G R E S S I O N A L V O T I N G B E H A V I O U R . / 49 common. They a l l might be taken to predict that Reagan and the House Republicans would enjoy less success in 1982 than in 1981. The two years this paper deals wi th , 1981 and 1982, repeat the pattern of events in periods after an election in which a significant change in the balance of political power has occurred. It seems that such elections are followed by brief periods of unusual ly high legislative success by the new dominant party. The par ty uni ty or the sense of purpose evaporates after a while and Congress returns to business as usual, which is what happened in 1982, albeit much more rapidly than in the Johnson or Roosevelt years. The fact, however, that this k ind of change has occurred before is hardly an explanation of why the change occurred. F r o m here the paper w i l l go on to a detailed analysis of the voting behaviour of the House of Representatives over nine key budget votes in 1981 and 1982. It is already clear that a change of some kind took place in the House between those years because it passed dramatical ly different budgets in those two years . The change was brought about by the movement of some marg ina l Representatives out of the Presidential camp. The theoretical literature offers two types of explanation of this shift. These explanations wi l l be used as tools for handl ing the data and wi l l in turn be tested by the results they produce. I f the polar constituency theorists are right, then the explanation wi l l lie entirely wi th the constituents. Their wishes, or the wishes of some of them, or their wishes as perceived by Representatives w i l l have been the only things Representatives considered as they cast their votes in 1981 and 1982. When testing the votes in the light of the theoretical literature we might expect none of the non-constituency variables to show any significant score. The non-constituency variables that can be quantified and which seem, reading the accounts of the events of 1981 and 1982 and the theoretical literature, to be plausible explanatory candidates might include members' seniority, their committee membership, the status of those committees and their seniority on them. If, T H E O R I E S O F C O N G R E S S I O N A L V O T I N G B E H A V I O U R . / 50 constituencies being equal, these variables do seem to have an effect on the way Representatives vote then this w i l l suggest the picture painted by M a y h e w in The Electoral Connection is miss ing a crucial dimension. C H A P T E R III. ANALYS IS OF D A T A A. INTRODUCTION W h y should almost the same body of politicians pass a budget d rawn to an ideological blueprint one year and then reject another, d rawn to the same blueprint , 12 months later? 1 The theoretical literature has suggested, broadly, two types of explanation. There are those who explain the behaviour of Representatives as entirely constituency-oriented and those who argue that non-constituency influences can contribute significantly when Representatives decide how to vote. The data analysed in this chapter can be broken down into the same categories. If the polar constituency theorists are correct then the entire explanat ion of the ebb and flow of Reagan's support in the House wi l l lie in the constituencies. B u t the possible influence of Committee membership and of House seniority w i l l also be assessed to see i f insti tutional considerations do sway Representatives. The account of events in Chapter One does suggest that there was a contextual shift over the course of the two years. The atmosphere in which the Representatives prepared the budget changed. In the first half of 1981 they could bare ly avoid public scrutiny whereas i n 1982 they found themselves in the comforting gloom of the obscure legislative byways of Congress. Fur thermore, the intensity of public support for the President's economic policy had waned, which would lead one to expect, under any of the theories, a shift away from pol icymaking in accordance with the ideological goals of the President and a re turn to 'business as usual ' be that serving the local interests of the constituency, or the goals of political status, or some other objective. The purpose of this chapter is to analyse the key economic votes over the two years focussing on the Representatives whose movement from one camp to the other brought t r iumph for the President in 1981 and frustration in 1982. We w i l l examine those marginal presidential supporters in the light of 1 Where membership changed during the congress both Representatives from a constituency are excluded from the calculations. 51 A N A L Y S I S O F D A T A / 52 institutional and constituency variables while keeping in mind always the changes that occurred in the political context. 1. The Presidential Strategy In 1981 the President adopted a strategy of t ry ing to reduce the budget and tax issues to a series of all-encompassing set-piece votes. He was entirely successful on two scores: he was able both to stage-manage those votes and to win them. This was because the approach played to the President 's strengths. It allowed h i m to exploit his momentum and to avoid becoming bogged down in a legislative war of attri t ion wi th the Democrat ic House and committee leadership. Mos t important ly, he was able, at key moments, to use his immense popularity and char i sma to charm susceptible members of Congress and to mobilise public opinion (i.e. the sum of a l l Representatives ' constituents) through television speeches. This is clearly an approach that works best when used sparingly. The key to the President 's budgetary success in 1981 lay in his ability to command a majority of the votes in the House. E v e n though the G O P were in the minor i ty they were able to seize the legislative initiative on the budget and concentrate their fire on the three major votes because they maintained party discipline while sufficient Democrats defected to give them a majority. Reagan was able to exploit that majority to force the Democratic House and committee leadership to swallow his programme. In the fall of 1981 Reagan started to lose ground. Democrats began to drift back to their party and Republicans began to break ranks. Together these margina l Reaganites were sufficient in numbers to deprive h im of a winning coalition and leave his policies wi th only enough support for, at best, a standoff. The minor i ty of Representatives who switched from supporting the President to opposing h i m meant the difference between the total victory of his policies in one year and their defeat the next. They , then, are the interesting Congressmen and women. Who were they and why did they switch? A N A L Y S I S O F D A T A / 53 The question these votes raise is: in what ways do the marg ina l Representatives, that is those who vote against their party, resemble each other and differ from their loyal fellow party members? There is an obvious geographical answer to this. The bulk of Democrat defectors came from Southern, Border, or Sunbelt states. A disproportionate number of Republican defectors came from the Nor th East . But , even wi thin these areas there were large numbers of Representatives who remained loyal to their par ty, so the original question must be asked again within those regions. B. THE VARIABLES 1. Dependent Variables, The Nine Roll Calls Reagan's success or failure is here measured over nine of the key budget and tax votes over the two years. The first criterion for the selection of votes was that they had to deal unambiguously wi th meta or macro-budgetary topics. This means that specific policy areas were excluded, for example: mi l i t a ry spending on which Reagan took positions in eight votes in 1981 and 18 in 1982. To keep the ideological assumptions simple votes were selected so that they shared, as far as possible, an identical ideological subtext. Where possible, votes were chosen on which the President took a position. Th i s presented no problem in 1981 when Reagan took a position on 15 votes which meet the criteria. But in 1982 he took a stance on just two meta-budgetary votes. In both years there were around half a dozen votes which did not quite meet the cri teria. A n d , in 1982, there were eight votes on supplementary appropriations for fiscal 1982. These last kind are votes which i m p l y shortfalls in the budgetary work done the previous year. Since the budget being patched up was Reagan's he had a stake in these votes which he had not had in 1981 when Congress was topping-up the last Car ter budget. Some of the votes selected to represent the 'presidential budget position' in 1982 do not precisely fit the criteria of selection or they were votes on which A N A L Y S I S O F D A T A / 54 the President took no official position, and thus a position has to be imputed to h im. The paucity of ideal rol l calls in 1982 makes this inevitable. The second, and more important , implicat ion of the change in the types of rol l calls in 1982 is that it calls into question the descriptive innocence of the votes. I f we read the rol l calls as pure measures of Congressional opinion and compare the percentage of members who voted for the presidential position in 1981 and those who did the following year , we m a y easily be misled. We must bear in mind the decline in support for the President's point of view which the votes describe also led to changes i n the way that the budget was moved through Congress and the way in which votes were allowed to occur on the way. The President 's opponents were more often able to formulate the votes in such a way as to ensure that presidential support would decline. The President cannot jus t snap his fingers and set the agenda for Congress. H e needs a great deal of support wi th in that body in order to have his way. The fact that the votes in 1982 are of a different character from those in 1981 is already an indication that the pendulum has begun to swing away from Reagan, making it more difficult for h i m to determine the agenda and to force the kind of votes which were tailored to his strengths. One of the indications of the extent to which Presidents have the init iative is how often they take a formal position before a vote in Congress. Sometimes position-taking may be forced on Presidents: i f a policy with which they are closely identified is threatened or their veto is being overturned then they cannot pretend they are indifferent to the outcome so must take a public stance i f so doing may reduce their chances of defeat. If, on the other hand, the vote is on a bil l produced by a group wi th in the House, the President might plausibly refuse to endorse it rather than be tarnished by its defeat. One of the differences between 1981 and 1982 was that, in 1982, the Republican budget proposals that reached the floor of the House were markedly different from the original White House proposals, a second was that they had more chance of being defeated. For those reasons a prudent President would feel less inclined to A N A L Y S I S O F D A T A / 55 back them publicly. In 1981 the President was able to ride roughshod over the spending committees and the Budget and the W a y s and Means Committees. Indeed D a v i d Stockman's great strategic coup was to find a way to bypass the Democrat ic grandees on these committees. In the first hal f of 1981 Reagan held the Republican party and a significant number of Conservative Democrats in thra l l . A s his grip weakened so the committees which tradit ionally controlled the budget process were able to begin to reassert themselves. One sign of this change was the behind the scenes horsetrading between the House and the Whi te House, another was the move to piecemeal fiscal action on the floor. The four rol l calls selected to represent 1981 were, in chronological order: on G r a m m - L a t t a I HCResll5 (May 7, see above, pp.6-9); on G r a m m - L a t t a II, HR3982 (26 June, see above, pp.9-12); the big tax-cut vote, HR4242 (29 J u l y , see above, pp. 12-13); and the vote on Reagan's proposed second round of cuts, HR4560 (6 October, see above, pp. 15-18). The five 1982 votes selected are: the 'Oakar Amendent ' , HCRes345 (27 M a y , see above, pp.23-26); the L a t t a alternative to the Reagan budget, HCRes352 (10 June, see above, pp.27); the tax reconciliation vote, HR4961 (22 J u l y , see above, pp. 28-30); the veto override on the emergency supplemental b i l l HR6863 (28 August , see above, pp.30-31); and a vote in the lame-duck session that Reagan called, one of a slew of continuing appropriations - this one on moving money out of job creation, (HJRes631) (defeated in December, see above, p.32). The first three votes in 1981 are self-explanatory; they are the three block-buster votes around which the Reagan strategy revolved. The first two, G r a m m - L a t t a I ( H C R e s l l 5 ) and G r a m m - L a t t a II (HR3982) were a l l embracing budget packages. The third was the T a x Cut (HR4242) . The fourth 1981 vote (HR4560) marked Reagan's attempt to use the same methods to persuade Congress to accept his second round of cuts in the fall. A N A L Y S I S O F D A T A / 56 The five 1982 votes are of a different nature. This reflects the change in the balance of power over the two years and the bizarre contortions that the Democratic leadership put the House through to produce a workable budget acceptable to a majority of the unusual ly polarised Representatives. On three of the five 1982 votes -- the Oakar amendment (HCRes345) , the L a t t a budget substitute (HCRes352) , and the reconciliation vote (HR4961) -- the President did not take a position. Fur thermore, two of the votes were procedural: the reconciliation vote (HR4961) and the December jobs appropriations vote (HJRes631) . For veto overrides, like H R 6 8 6 3 , the rules are different: where, normal ly , a simple majority is needed to win a vote here, depending which side a Representative is on, two thirds or one third plus one may be the victory target. The 'Oaka r amendment ' vote (HCRes345) came in the middle of a long, highly complex and unpredictable series of budget votes. Presidents can only take a position when they know in advance that a vote wi l l occur. In the case of the Oaka r amendment, one of dozens of amendments to the various budget proposals, as late as the night before the Democratic caucus was unsure i f it wanted the amendment offered. It is reasonable to assume that, insofar as he supported the Miche l plan, Reagan was opposed to the liberal amendments which brought about its eventual defeat. The L a t t a budget proposal (HCRes352) came nearer to passing than any of the other seven bills in a chaotic week of budgetary action in the House: a reflection of the stress placed on the deliberative system by the all-or-nothing approach of the President i n 1981. B y now the House was teeming wi th smal l swarms of insects buzzing round the honey pot in search of a disproportionate share of the fiscal spoils. The O a k a r vote flushed out the conservative Republican Yel low Jackets to join the l iberal Republican Gypsy Moths who themselves had emerged in response to the Southern Democrat Bol l Weevils. The L a t t a substitute to the Reagan budget amounted to a rejection of pure Reagananomics. B u t it represented a pragmatic at tempt by the Republicans to keep the budget in the A N A L Y S I S O F D A T A / 57 mould cast by G r a m m and La t t a , w i th Reagan's blessing, the year before. The Rostenkowski motion (HR4961) -- which sent the reconciliation package, complete with tax increase, directly to Conference Committee — was another move which echoed the events of the year before. Where Reagan had been eager to share the kudos for the humil iat ion of the Democrats , he had no wish to share the embarrassment of the Congressional Republicans a full year later. E v e n though any blow to their prestige indirectly hurt h im, there was no reason for h im to go out of his way to share the indignity. The manoeuvre also reflected the turmoil within the Committee which was unable to agree to a tax package that both satisfied the demands of the first budget resolution and which Rostenkowski believed he could push through the House. So the renunciat ion of the Committee's traditional pr imacy in fiscal matters was the product of an unprecedented breakdown in the internal workings of the Committee. In some cases a member of Congress m a y vote differently on a veto where only one third of the members need to vote together to stop the override. Bu t , when a member knows that the vote wi l l be very close, then there is no scope for playing games. The vote (on HR6863) was close and so becomes an unambiguous indication of support for the presidential position. The final vote (HJRes631) , in the lame-duck session after the 1982 election, was chosen to complete the cycle. It was one of several s imi la r votes on different appropriations in that session which the President lost. Whi le some members were not going to return in Janua ry , a l l the rest had recently been reminded of the nature of public opinion in their constituencies. The nine votes were used as dichotomous dependent variables in a series of mult ivariate regressions which used a series variables, derived, in the main , from census data on constituencies or committee membership, as the independent variables. A N A L Y S I S O F D A T A / 58 2. The Independent Variables The independent variables fal l into two broad categories which reflect the two types of theoretical explanation: they are either institutional or constituency related. Census and election data provided several constituency-related variables. A series of continuous variables were calculated from census data. Three work or class variables were used: percentage blue collar, percentage white collar and percentage f a rm worker . A fourth, service worker, was omitted to prevent the set totall ing 100 per cent. Two residential variables, percentage urban and percentage suburban, were used; the missing variable in this was percentage rura l . The percentage of B lacks in a constituency was added to the percentage of Japanese, Chinese, Hispanics , Fi l ipinos and Nat ive Americans where these totalled more than five per cent to produce a percentage non-white var iab le . 2 The average income in a constituency was entered as a five-digit continuous variable expressing the dollar total. Since the Reagan agenda involved across the board cuts in entitlement programmes it might be expected that an increase in the representation of those groups which benefit most from redistributive programmes would be related to opposition to cuts to those programmes. The variables which pick up the presence of those groups are percentage blue collar, percentage urban and percentage non-white. The groups which might be expected to favour cuts i n redistributive entitlement programmes (the constituent parts of the New Deal coalition), or the tax cuts and the reduction of the federal deficit which were parts of the the same policy package are white collar workers and suburban residents. The better-paid might be expected to support the President's economic programme and if this is so the income variable wi l l be positively related to support for the President. 2 The U S census does not list ethnic groups, other than non-whites, where they represent less than five per cent of a District 's population A N A L Y S I S O F D A T A / 59 As far as the constituency-related variables go this leaves only f a rm workers. Farmers were tradit ionally part of the N e w Deal coalition Reagan aimed to break up. Thei r response might be expected to be a measure of his success. The final constituency-related variable was derived from the election returns over the last four elections. 3 The percentages of the votes obtained by the candidate of the par ty of the 1980 winner were totalled and divided by four to give an average percentage over the four elections. The purpose of the variable was to t ry and identify the marginal and safe Representatives. I f F io r ina is right the 'maintainers ' w i l l be d rawn exclusively from the set of Representatives with a high score on this var iab le . 4 We would expect mainta iners to be better able to resist the tide of public support for the President 's policies in 1 9 8 1 . 5 The most plausible of the institutional variables were dichotomous variables measuring membership of one of the three chief economic Committees: the W a y s and Means , Budget and Appropriat ions Committees. These were the three committees most directly involved in the budget battles over the two years. For this reason, membership of each is used as a dichotomous variable. I f members 3 Tha t is 1974-1980 because, in some states, there had been redistr ict ing between the 1972 and 1974 elections. 4 Fior ina 's thesis suggests that a consistently nar row marg in of victory in a constituency - a tradit ion of close elections - indicates heterogeneity, but this may in fact not be the case. A n attempt was made to create a variable which would measure homogeneity in constituencies. This variable was calculated by measuring the presence or absence of the four work-related variables, the three residential variables, percentage non-white and percentage white. This 'homogeneity' variable rarely had a significant impact in the regression analysis . This is probably due to the crude way in which it was constructed to fit into the regression. It was not anticipated in advance that it would produce any result one wa y or another; indeed Fior ina ' s theory cannot be taken to make any implied prediction that it would. Hence, nothing more w i l l be said about this variable. 5 No attempt was made to allow for p r imary marginals who score well in the elections but st i l l live in mortal fear of being turfed out by the voters. In some states, such as Lou is iana the local eccentricities of the sys tem mean that the primaries can be the real election. Since a l l F i o r i n a claims is that some big winners w i l l be maintainers and the rest maximizers while a l l marginal Representatives wi l l be maximizers the pattern, if there is one, should still appear. A N A L Y S I S O F D A T A / 60 are influenced by a desire to protect the interests of their committee then we might expect these variables to show up when that prestige is threatened or m a y be increased. A fourth inst i tut ional variable measured Representatives' position on their highest-prestige commit tee . 6 The variable was scaled from nought to 21 wi th 21 representing the cha i rman and nought a Representative without a committee appointment. The higher the Representatives' score on this scale the more senior they are on their committee. Perhaps Representatives who enjoy high seniority on highly coveted committees wi l l be more tempted to vote their committee interests when they oppose those of the constituents. Fo r Representatives who are, in F io r ina ' s terms, 'maintainers ' senior committee positions might be one of the inst i tut ional considerations for which they wi l l allow themselves the luxury of not 'max imiz ing ' on some votes. In 1981, therefore, it might be expected that Representatives wi th a high score on the Committee seniority scale wi l l be related to an abi l i ty or an inclination to resist the public clamour to support the Pres ident . 7 The Committee seniority variable, then, is not an attribute of the committee but of the members, measuring their proximity to the chairmanship or the position of r ank ing minori ty member. 6 The committees were graded on an updated version of a scale measuring inter-committee transfers in Kenneth A . Shepsle Op. Cit. Table 6.11, p. 131. 7 A var ie ty of other institutional variables were tried but failed to yield many significant results. These included a series of variables based in one way or another on seniority. One was a continuous variable measuring seniority based on year of entry to Congress. There were also a series of dummy, or dichotomous, variables also based on year of entry picking up which Congressional 'Class ' members belonged to. F ina l ly , each Representatives highest-status committee was given a score based on Shepsle's calculations - op. cit. - running from 20 (Ways and Means or Rules) down to nought (no committee). None of these variables showed up wel l across the nine votes for Southern Democrats or across the six votes i n which enough Nor thern Republicans defected to make them worth using in the final regression. A N A L Y S I S O F D A T A / 61 C. EXPECTATIONS We would expect the data to display a clear pattern over the nine votes. A s far as the insti tutional variables go we would expect membership of the three committees to show up when their committee's turf, work, or prestige are threatened. We might expect them and the Committee seniority variable to show up either when the House budget sys tem is under attack or when long-standing elements of the N e w Deal , which the Democratic leadership supported, were under attack. Fo r this reason we might expect the committee variables to move through greater extremes than the constituency variables because where the President's economic policy a lways had the same goals he, and his advisors, tried different legislative routes to their destination. If the committee Representatives are on is rolled they wi l l react, when it is someone else's committee they wi l l react very little i f at a l l , and i f no one is being rolled then there wi l l be no reaction. The constituency variables, on the other hand, provide a consistent background to the votes. A group would, presumably, be hostile to welfare cuts which directly affected it at any time over the two years . One of the sets of underlying assumptions is that there is such a thing as a ' N e w Deal coalition', and that Reagan's policies represent a direct assault on that coalition and the welfarist policies it stands for. We shal l assume, furthermore, that some of the constituency variables pick up membership of that coalit ion. Tha t is why, for the Democrats, we would expect the original defectors to come from constituencies in which the tradit ional beneficiaries of the N e w Dea l were poorly represented. We would also expect those who returned to the fold to be those, among the defectors, who had the largest proportion of those groups among their constituents. Over the nine votes the results w i l l offer a ser ia t im account of the relationship between the variables and a vote for or against the President. What should also emerge over the nine votes is a pat tern of defection which wi l l throw into contrast the behaviour of Representatives over the first three votes, the major presidential victories, and the last six as his budget campaign lost momentum. A N A L Y S I S O F D A T A / 62 The Republican party displayed an unusually high level of unity over the first three votes. O n G r a m m - L a t t a I al l 190 Republicans in the House voted for the p roposa l . 8 On ly two defected for G r a m m - L a t t a I I 9 and one for the T a x C u t 1 0 Because only three Republicans defected over the first three votes no calculations were made for the G O P for those votes and they become a baseline for expectations on the other six votes. Over these six we would expect that the likelihood of a Republican defecting would increase wi th an increase in the percentage constituents from groups which benefit by N e w Deal and Grea t Society programmes. We would expect Representatives from Northern , industr ia l and u rban constituencies wi th high percentages of non-whites, blue collar workers and low average incomes to be the first to defect. The six votes wi l l become a measure of the extent to which those expectations are fulfilled, vote by vote and in toto. D. A GLANCE AT THE RAW DATA 1. The Democrats E v e n a crude survey of the raw data indicates that the distribution of defections is more than a random phenomenon. In part icular it suggests that the analysis of votes should adopt a regional focus. Democrat defectors were concentrated in the South and Republican defectors in the Nor th . O n G r a m m - L a t t a I 239 Democrats voted: 176 against but 63 for. O n G r a m m - L a t t a II 209 Democrats opposed the bi l l II but 29 supported it. It passed 217-211. O n the Tax Cut vote 48 Democrats defected. The bulk of these defectors, in every vote, were from the South . 1 1 8 The fourth district of Ohio was unrepresented between the death of one Republ ican, Tennyson Guyer , on the 12th of A p r i l and the swearing-in of another, M i c h a e l Oxley, on the 21st of August . Eugene Atk inson of Pennsy lvan ia defected to the Republicans in October after voting against the Democrat whip in two of the three big fiscal votes. These two brought the Republican total to 192. 9 Char les Dougherty, Pennsylvania , and Claudine Schneider, Rhode Island 1 0 J ames Jeffords (Vt.) 1 1 Here the 'South ' is A labama , Arkansas , F lor ida , Georgia, Kentucky, Louis iana , Mis s i s s ipp i , N o r t h Carol ina, Oklahoma, South Carol ina , Tennessee, Texas and A N A L Y S I S O F D A T A / 63 Of the 239 Democrats who voted on G r a m m - L a t t a I 78 were from the South; that number included 46 of the 63 defectors. O f the 29 G r a m m - L a t t a II defectors 26 were Southerners (the other three were Atk inson , James Santini , Nevada , and Bob Stump, Ar izona) . O n the T a x Cut 36 of 48 defectors were Southerners; two more were Sant in i and S tump who defected on every vote. A total of 108 of the 137 Democrat votes cast w i th the Republicans in the three main budget votes came from Southerners. S tump and Sant ini accounted for six more between them, three Mary lande r s defected six times and Atkinson defected twice. The other defectors were: J e r r y Pat terson (Calif.); Dav id Evans and Andrew Jacobs (Ind.); Donald Albos ta (Mich.); K e n Young , Ike Skelton and Haro ld Vo lkmer (Mo.); and Tony H a l l (Ohio), a l l once each on G r a m m - L a t t a I; D a n G l i ckman (Kan.) on the T a x Cu t and Thomas L u k e n and Ronald Mot t l (Ohio); and Gus Y a t r o n (Penn.) twice each, on the Tax Cut and on G r a m m - L a t t a I. Because the defectors were concentrated in the South and in the Sun and Border states (including M a r y l a n d and Missouri) these were used exclusively in the mult ivariate regression. 1 2 It is clear, however, from the data that the pattern is not identical for a l l these states. While a high proportion of Representatives from the Border states defected over the first three votes they were, in general, quick to re turn to the par ty fold. A total of 101 of the 108 Southern Democrat pro-presidential votes over the first three rol l calls in 1981 came from a hardcore of 39 Representatives who each defected at least twice. There were 23 Democrats who voted with the Republicans on each occasion and 25 who followed the party whip on each vote. On the nine key budget votes studied over the two years no Democrat voted against the par ty on every occasion. Ten did so on eight occasions, five on seven occasions and nine did so six t imes. O n l y four of those Democrats missed 1 1 (cont'd) V i r g i n i a . These are the states the C Q includes in its calculations as southern. A s wi l l be seen Representatives from S u n Bel t and Border states also contributed a disproportionate number of the non-South defectors which is why Representatives from Ar izona , Nevada , M a r y l a n d and Missour i were included in the mult ivar ia te regression as 'Southern Democrats ' . 1 2 Regressions were also calculated for a l l Democrats and for Democrats from the other regions but failed to yield many significant results. A N A L Y S I S O F D A T A / 64 an opportunity to defect on the three major Republican victories in 1981. Three of them who vote with their par ty on G r a m m - L a t t a II (the closest of those votes) and the fourth, John Breaux (Louisiana), stayed loyal on the T a x Cut . O f these 15 had first been elected in 1974 or later; three were rookies and five in their second Congress. Ralph H a l l of Texas, one of the rookies, had a majority of just 8,872. E a r l Hutto of F lo r ida had the next smallest marg in of victory in 1980. He won by 43,890 and none of the others in this hardcore had majorities of less than 60,000. Six had been returned unopposed in 1980. O f the 24 Southern Democrats who voted against their par ty on two or fewer occasions (not counting Wayne Dowdy of Miss i ss ipp i who did not enter the House unt i l J u l y 1981); none were rookies, two were first elected in 1978, two in 1976 and seven in 1974. Of those Neale (N.C.) won by just 4,223 votes in 1980 and three more had victory margins of 33,000 or less. Nine were unopposed in 1980 as against five of the 'hardcore'. So there is no readi ly apparent predominance of very junior, very margina l or very safe Representatives on either side. Two members of the hardcore were members of the Appropr ia t ions Commit tee, two were on Budget and one on W a y s and Means , only one of the five had any seniority: W i l l i a m Chappel l of F lor ida on W a y s and M e a n s . 1 3 1 3 There were IT Southerners on Appropriat ions, seven on W a y s and Means and seven on Budget; giving the 79 Southern Democrats 25 appointments between them. In each case there was also a member from one of the four states included as 'southern' for the calculations. There were, on the other hand just five Republicans on Appropriations, two (Richard T. Shulze, Penn, and Barber Conable, N Y , ) on Budget and one (Bud Shuster, Penn,) on W a y s and Means . So the 50 North-Eastern Republicans commanded just eight spots on the three committees. A N A L Y S I S O F D A T A / 65 2. The Republicans Given that no Republicans defected on G r a m m - L a t t a I the highest total of defections any Republican could score over the nine votes is eight. The three Republicans who defected on G r a m m - L a t t a II or the T a x Cut (Schneider, Dougherty and Jeffords) a l l totalled six defections. Two more Republicans, Haro ld Hollenbeck and Christopher S m i t h (both N . J . ) defected on five of the other six votes and 13 more Republicans did so on four occasions as the G O P began to lose its economic unanimi ty . Nineteen of those 20 Representatives came from the North-East or Midwest . The soli tary exception was Don Y o u n g the at-large Representative from A l a s k a . O f the 261 defections from the Republican position over the nine votes 207 came from delegates from Nor th-Eas te rn or Midwes te rn states. The largest single Republican delegation, the 27 Representatives from California, broke ranks on just five occasions between them and no Cal i forn ia Republican defected more than once. Judd Gregg, a rookie member of Congress for N e w Hampshire , toed the par ty line throughout, but six of the other eight N e w England Republicans each defected at least four times and the remain ing two, Olympia Snowe and Dav id E m e r y of Maine , defected three times each. After Cal i fornia the six largest Republican delegations came from populous Nor th-Eas te rn or Midwes te rn industr ia l states, and they provided the bulk of the defections. Out of the 17 N e w Yorke r s 15 defected at least once and they totalled 32 votes against the par ty (of those, 25 were cast by the seven Republicans whose constituencies lay a l l or par t ly in New Y o r k C i ty or bordered it). E igh t of the 14 Republicans from Illinois defected a total of 14 times between them. A l l but one of the 13 Pennsylvanians defected at least once and they voted against the President 30 times in a l l (including twice by Atk inson as a Republican). There were 13 defections from eight of the 13 Ohioans. A l l seven N e w Jersey Republicans defected at least once, for a total of 23 defections. O n the Great Pla ins , there were great variat ions between states. The four Kansas Republicans stayed loyal throughout while the three Iowans defected 11 times and three Nebraskans five t imes. A N A L Y S I S O F D A T A / 66 Because the G O P defectors were concentrated in the N o r t h E a s t only those states 1 4 were used in the mult ivariate regression. 1 5 E. THE ROLL CALLS 1. Gramm-Latta I The President's campaign began in earnest in M a y wi th his victory on G r a m m - L a t t a I ( H C R e s l l 5 ) , which originated in the White House, a Republican substitute for the 1982 budget targets bi l l proposed by the Budget Committee. It called for cuts of $25.7 billion in the proposed outlays and substantial cuts in budget authority and revenues. The details of these cuts were to be worked out by the Budget Committee. The amendment passed 253-176 wi th 63 Democrats defecting. 1 6 Even though this bi l l would take control over the budget away from the Appropriat ions Committee and hand it instead to the Budget Committee i t is not clear that we should expect that Committee's members to give their support, because the Budget Committee had always been very w a r y of treading on other, older, committees' turf. We would expect the the Appropriat ions Commit tee, wh ich was being rolled, to be associated wi th opposition to the b i l l . Insofar as the bi l l represented an assault on the tradit ional House habit of deferring to committees we might expect membership of the W a y s and Means Committee and the Committee seniority variable to be related to opposition. The level of cuts and the type of cuts envisioned by the b i l l were an unambiguous assault on the N e w Dea l and so we would expect the N e w D e a l 1 4 Maine , N e w Hampshire , Vermont , Massachusetts , Rhode Island, Connecticut, N e w York , N e w Jersey, Pennsylvania , Delaware and M a r y l a n d 1 5 Regressions were also calculated for a l l Republicans and for the N o r t h E a s t and Midwes t together but they yielded little of significance. 1 6 O n all roll calls a vote for the President 's, or his imputed position, was scored ' 1 ' and a vote against that position was scored ' 0 ' . Therefore on each vote the score produced by the mult ivar ia te regression is a measure of the strength of the association between a variable and support for, or opposition to, the President. A N A L Y S I S O F D A T A / 67 constituency variables to be related to opposition to the bi l l . One of the implications of Home style is that Representatives have greater freedom of choice on arcane procedural votes which their constituents might not understand, or even be aware of. Here there was no hiding place. Not only was the vote not procedural, it was instead a high-profile vote on the the President's entire economic policy. In the event, as Table 1 shows, Budget Committee members were 36.6 per cent less l ikely to support the President on this vote than the average Southern Democrat, but none of the other insti tutional variables displayed a significant score. A m o n g the constituency variables only the percentage non-white was significant. A one point increase i n the percentage in a constituency brought a 0.7 percentage point increase in the chances of its Representative opposing the President. The Budget Committee score m a y seem a surprise, after al l the bi l l was being proposed by P h i l G r a m m , a Budget Committee member and, i f passed, would give the Committee a rare chance to perform the work for which it was created: using the budget as a macro-economic tool. But , since its inception in 1974 the Budget Committee had been very careful not to offend any of the older committees whose jurisdictions its power overlapped. Indeed, as membership was temporary and rotated, members of the Budget Committee had less commitment to its growth and power than to the interests of any other committee they might be on. Three Democratic members of the Budget Committee (the cha i rman J i m Jones, Ok la . , Richard Gephardt, Mo . , and Thomas J . Downey, N . Y . , ) were also on the W a y s and Means C o m m i t t e e . 1 7 1 7 ' I 'm continually reminding them, ' D a n Rostenkowski said in 1982, 'that you ' l l be on that Committee for three or four years but then you're back on W a y s and Means . ' (CQ Weekly Report V o l 40 No 25 p l 4 4 8 col 3, 19.6.82.) ' I f the Budget committees wanted and were eager to take power they could take it , ' said cha i rman Jones, 'but it would be a short-term power grab that would result in the long-term demise of the budget process.'( C Q 15 Aug 1981 pl465 A N A L Y S I S O F D A T A / 68 2. Gramm-Latta II The President's stage managers set up a second t r iumph w i t h the second omnibus budget b i l l , G r a m m - L a t t a II (HR3982) . Reagan then helped clinch victory with his bout of phonecalling from Los Angeles on the afternoon of the vote, although it was Stockman who made the important promise to three Democrats on sugar price support. This was a vote on the President's entire policy, which involved substi tuting, en bloc, White House proposals for those produced by six spending committees. It was a vote to replace a broadly N e w Dea l budget d r awn up by the House committees wi th a Reaganomic one drawn up by D a v i d Stockman. This bi l l called for $37.3 billion worth of spending cuts which would fal l i n every area except defence. It passed 217-211. We would expect the constituency variables which reflect groups who benefit from N e w Deal /Great Society programmes, or are part of the 'coali t ion' to be related to opposition to the President. The bi l l also represented an attack on the House way of doing things. Insofar as there is honour among committee members we would expect that to show up in the Committee seniority score. We would expect membership of the two rolled committees, Appropr ia t ions and Budget, to be most strongly related to opposition. Members of the Budget Committee were 22.7 percentage point more l ikely , other things being equal, to oppose the President than average Southern Democrats. Members of the Appropriat ions Committee were 17.6 percentage points more likely to do so. Fo r each one place move up the Committee Senior i ty scale members were 0.9 percentage point more l ikely to oppose the President. These scores are a reflection of the resistance of, first, the Budget and Appropr ia t ions Committees and, no doubt, the 14 other spending committees whose work was being thrown away and, second, the Democratic hierarchy in general. ANALYSIS OF DATA / 69 The strongest negative score among the constituency variables came from the variable measuring the percentage of constituents living in cities. A one point increase in the percentage of urban residents in a constituency brought a 0.5 percentage point increase in the likelihood of a Southern Democrat voting against the President. A one point increase in the suburban population in a district meant a Southern Democrat was 0.6 percentage point more likely to oppose the President. On this vote representatives were again put in the position of voting for or against the President's entire economic policy and they did so after a media blitz by the President which inspired a barrage of letters, telegrammes and telephone calls from constituents. This was not a vote on which Representatives could escape the attention of their constituents. 3. The Tax Cut The Tax Cut (HR4242) was an ideologically distinct part of Reagan's economic policy but one the President saw as central to his objectives and which he pursued with as much zeal as his budgets. Reagan and the Democratic leadership (represented by the Ways and Means Committee) became embroiled in a bidding war before the Tax Cut passed. The President's proposal was for a cut of 23 per cent over two years which was larger and less progressive than that proposed by the Democrats. The President's proposal passed 238-195. The vote involved another implicit attack on the New Deal because the cuts would have to be matched with cuts somewhere in the budget. It also offered all taxpayers a financial bonus. We might, therefore, expect the New Deal type variables to be related to opposition to the President and those variables associated with higher income (the Tax Cut would have a regressive effect) like the white collar percentage, the suburban percentage and the average income, to be positively associated with presidential support. We might also expect all three committees to be associated with opposition A N A L Y S I S O F D A T A / 70 to the President. The W a y s and Means Committee was being rolled, the Budget Committee would have to make the spending fit the new levels and the Appropriations Committee would have to cut the line items. Indeed, in the South, Democratic members of a l l three major fiscal committees were more l ikely to oppose the President than their fellows. The Ways and Means Committee produced a 33.2 percentage point increase in the likelihood of opposing the President. A Budget Committee member was 26.6 percentage points more l ikely to oppose the bi l l than the average Southern Democrat and an Appropriat ions Committee member was 32 percentage points more likely to do so. None of the other variables was significantly related to either opposition to or support for the President on this vote. It may be that the T a x Cu t was not an explicit attack on the N e w Deal in the w ay that G r a m m - L a t t a I and II were and so those constituency groups were not moved to resist it. It m a y also be that either a T a x Cu t had not been such a major incentive for Reagan supporters as many thought or that the effect was obscured. This could be due to several, influences. F i r s t , there was the strength of the negative reaction from members of al l three major fiscal committees. Second, there were widespread theoretical doubts about the wisdom of the supply side/trickle down element of Reaganomics (doubts which, as Roberts and Stockman have since revealed, were present in the minds of Stockman, other top Whi te House staff, and senior Congressional Republicans. 1 8 These were doubts which m a y have been shared by conservative Democrats who otherwise supported the President). A n d third, despite the bias of the cut, perhaps al l taxpayers were equally in favour of the legislation. Although the T a x Cut vote itself was a substitute amendment it represented another vote on which Representatives were seen to be vot ing for or against Reaganomics. A g a i n the President took every opportunity to d raw the public's 1 8 Op. Cit. A N A L Y S I S O F D A T A / 71 attention to the fact and encourage them to communicate their support to their Congressman or woman . 4. The Autumn Cuts In the fal l the President tried for a previously unplanned second round of cuts. The vote selected to represent that campaign concerned proposed cuts to an $87.2 bil l ion appropriations bi l l for the departments of Labor , Hea l th and H u m a n Services, and Educat ion (HR4560). Supporters of the President wanted to recommit the b i l l to the Appropriat ions Committee with instructions to make cuts. They were defeated 249-168 on the s ixth of October w i th 28 Democrats and 39 Republicans vot ing against their respective parties. A s these cuts would have struck struck directly at redistributive entitlement programmes, we would expect the N e w Deal variables to be related to opposition to the President 's position. We would also expect members of the Appropriat ions Committee which produced the bi l l to oppose the President. Southern Democrats from urban areas were 0.5 percentage point more l ikely to vote against the President for each one point increase in the urban population of their constituency, as predicted. The other constituency variables which show up for Southern Democrats were, the percentage of white collar residents and average income. F o r each $1,000 increase in average income in a constituency a Representative was 1 percentage point more l ikely to oppose the President. F o r each percentage point increase in the white collar population there was a 2.4 percentage point increase in the chance of presidential support from a Southern Democrat . The latter is also as we would expect. Members of the Appropriat ions Committee were 30 percentage points more l ike ly to vote against the President than with other Southern ' Democrats while members of the other two fiscal Committees, which were not directly threatened, were not signif icantly more l ikely to do so than the average Southern Democrat. A N A L Y S I S O F D A T A / 72 Al though this is the first vote on which there were sufficient Republican defections to make it worthwhile analys ing their vot ing behaviour no variables displayed a noteworthy score for Nor th -Eas te rn Republicans. A g a i n the President went on television to t ry to ra l ly popular support for his position on this vote. Bu t the response was much smal ler this time. Perhaps his supporters were tired of wr i t ing to their Representatives or perhaps they were becoming disillusioned wi th his economic policies. Th is was the fourth time the President had tried to whip up public support on a fiscal issue that year even though he had, in the summer, declared the budget problem solved for the year. The fact that the vote was also a vote to recommit an appropriations bil l rather than a vote to amend it might also have encouraged the Representatives to think they could explain the vote to constituents. A recomittal slows the budgetary process without guaranteeing that the envisioned cuts w i l l , in the end, be made. 5. The Oakar Amendment The Oakar amendment (HRes345) was largely responsible for the defeat of the La t t a -Miche l budget proposal, which, up to late M a y 1982, was the G O P budget proposal that came closest to passing. The amendment added $4.85 billion to outlays on Medicare funding and obtained the bulk of that money by cutting defense expenditure. It passed 228-196 on M a y 27 wi th 71 Democrats and 64 Republicans voting against their parties. The President adopted no formal position on this vote which was one of a s torm of amendments voted on. The bi l l being amended was not the work of any of the three major fiscal committees, nor had any of them hatched the amendment. However, the Democratic hierarchy tacitly supported this attempt to compromise the Republican leadership's b i l l and so damage its chances in the complex vote that would follow in which their own proposal, d rawn up by the Budget Committee, was one of the contenders. We might expect, therefore, that the Committee seniority variable and membership of the Budget Committee would be associated wi th presidential opposition among Southern Democrats. We would expect Budget Committee ANALYSIS OF DATA / 73 membership to have the same effect among Northern Republicans. Among constituency variables all those measuring the presence of the New Deal groups which benefit from Medicare ought to be related to presidential opposition. As expected Committee seniority is significant for Southern Democrats. A one place move up the scale brings a 0.9 percentage point increase in opposition to the President. Among Southern Democrats two constituency variables show up. A $1,000 increase in the average income is related to a 11.4 percentage point rise in the likelihood of presidential opposition, which fits in with the pattern for that variable. And, as might be expected, a one point increase in the percentage of white collar workers brought a 3.5 percentage point increase in the probability of support for the Republican position. Among Northern Republicans membership of the Budget Committees was related to support for the amendment (and opposition to the GOP leadership). Members were 76 percentage points more likely to support the amendment than other Northern Republicans. Members of the Ways and Means Committee, on the other hand, were 58 percentage points more likely to oppose the amendment and vote with their leadership. No other variables were significant for either group of Representatives on this vote which was the first on which the President was caught flatfooted and without a clear position. This is partly because his economic policy had lost its momentum but also partly because the House was safe from attention, obscuring the details of its actions in the most Byzantine of rules. 6. Latta Budget Substitute The House finally passed' a budget for fiscal 1983 on the tenth of June when they voted to replace the President's original budget, which had been sent to the floor by the Budget Committee, with one sponsored by the Republican leadership. A N A L Y S I S O F D A T A / 74 The President took no formal position (on H C R e s 3 5 2 ) but tacitly approved of the substitution which was passed 220-207 wi th 15 Republicans and 46 Democrats voting against their parties. Al though the vote was to substitute a more moderate Republican budget for the one the President had sent to the House, in practise the President's budget was being used to clear the w a y for a Budget Committee budget. The choice was between the Republican substitute or the Budget Committee proposals that would follow. This being the case we would expect Budget Committee membership, a l l the N e w Deal variables and committee seniority for Southern Democrats to be related to opposition to the Republican bil l (i.e. to the President). Members of the Budget Committee were, as Table 1 demonstrates, 29.4 percentage points more l ikely to oppose the Republican proposals than other Southern Democrats. W a y s and Means Committee members, however, were 31.5 percentage points more l ikely to vote wi th the G O P than the average Southern Democrat . For each one place increase in their Committee Seniority score Southern Democrats were 2.4 percentage points more l ikely to oppose the President. Among Southern Democrats the percentage of urban voters was again the most influential of constituency-related variables. A one point increase in either the urban or suburban populations brought a 0.6 percentage point increase in the chance of voting against the b i l l . F o r each one point increase in their white collar population they were 2.8 percentage points more l ikely to support the President both of which are scores consistent w i th expectations. For Nor the rn Republicans, as Table 2 shows, a one point increase in the percentage blue collar made a Representative 9.6 percentage points more likely to oppose the proposal, which is as expected. Whi te collar constituents were even more strongly associated wi th opposition to the G O P budget. A one point increase meant a Nor thern Republican was 10.8 percentage point more l ikely to vote A N A L Y S I S O F D A T A / 75 against the budget, which is not what we might expect but is consistent wi th other votes. This is the only occasion on which Southern Democrat members of the W a y s and Means Committee were substantially more l ikely than the average to support the President 's position. Perhaps they were worried that, after the failure of the House to pass any of eight budgets at the last attempt, no workable budget would be produced and so. voted for the best bet in the belief that the L a t t a proposals gave them scope to rework the budget in their own image. Where, the year before, the first budget resolution had been accompanied by intense public pressure from the President, now he distanced himself from the process and left the Republican leadership in the House to salvage wha t they could of his economic strategy in this complicated game of legislative poker. P i t y the poor Representatives who had to go back to their constituencies and explain to those who st i l l cared why, in voting to throw out the President 's budget they had done what the President wanted! The answer would be, presumably, to blame the machiavell ian workings of the institution. 7. T a x Increases The vote to send a Senate tax bi l l directly to Conference Committee was the most bewildering move yet in the poker game. The House voted 208-197 on J u l y 28 for D a n Rostenkowski's motion (HR4961) to pul l his W a y s and Means Committee out of the fix they had put themselves in and to t ry to shuffle the blame for a tax increase onto the President, the Senate and the Republican par ty . In a l l , 44 Republicans and 60 Democrats voted against their parties. • W e would expect members of the W a y s and Means Committee to support the measure designed to save their face. We might also expect Democrats w i th greater Committee seniority to support the motion. A p a r t from that it is unclear which way the interests of the other committees or the constituency variables might lie. ANALYSIS OF DATA / 76 For Southern Democrats membership of Ways and Means made a representative 36.1 percentage point more inclined to vote the party line than their fellows, which is as expected. Membership of the Budget Committee is also significant and is related to an increased probability of voting the party line of 33.1 percentage point. Among Northern Republican members of Ways and Means were 43.7 percentage point more likely to vote for the proposal whereas the solitary Northern Republican Budget Committee member voted loyally. For Southern Democrats, as can be seen in Table 1, two constituency variables demonstrate a significant score. An increase in the Democratic percentage in the past four elections of one point brought a 1 percentage point increase in support for the party. A one point increase in the non-white population made a Representative 0.7 of a percentage point more likely to do so, the latter may be interpreted either as a sign of the loyalty of Representatives from more heavily non-white districts to the party hierarchy or their desire for higher tax rates which might increase entitlements. The suburban and white collar variables showed up positively for Northern Republicans. For each one point increase in the suburban population a Representative was 0.5 of a percentage point more likely to oppose the tax increase, which is to be expected. For each one point increase in the white collar percentage a Representative was 0.6 percentage point more likely to vote the other way: for the tax increase. The strategy which Rostenkowski adopted had the disadvantage of compromising traditional privileges of the House of Representatives and this may account for the unusually high proportion of very senior defectors. They included the senior House Democrat, Jamie Whitten (Miss.), who was the Appropriations Committee chairman, and six of the eight Southern Democrats who defected on only one of the nine votes. Among those were Carl Perkins (Ky.) the Education and Labor chairman and William Clay (Dem. Mo.) a senior member of the Post A N A L Y S I S O F D A T A / 77 Office and C i v i l Service and Education and Labor Committees. The constitutional significance of the vote, which was on a motion which , confusingly, talked of the House 'disagreeing' wi th the Senate amendments while st i l l sending them to Conference Committee was, almost certainly, lost on the bulk of voters. That , combined wi th the general air of embarrassment on both sides of the House, in the Senate and on Pennsylvania Avenue about the whole fiscal disaster allowed members to perform the whole manoeuvre under a vei l . 8. The Veto Override Reagan's heaviest budget defeat was the overriding of his veto of a $14.2 bil l ion fiscal 1982 supplemental appropriations bi l l (HR 6863) on the 28th of Augus t . The House voted 301-117 for the override wi th 13 Democrats and 104 Republicans voting against their parties. The President, na tura l ly enough, took a position on this vote. He supported the veto. We would expect a l l the N e w Deal-related variables to be associated wi th opposition and also membership of the Appropriat ions and Budget Committees and the variable measuring Committee seniority because the veto struck at the House way of preparing its legislation and, substantively, at N e w Deal-type appropriations. A one point increase in the percentage of blue collar constituents brought a 1.8 percentage point increase in the likelihood that Southern Democrats would oppose the veto override, which was the reverse of expectations but consistent wi th the pattern for other votes. A one point increase in the white collar percentage made Southern Democrats 2.1 percentage points more l ikely to oppose the override which is as might be expected. A m o n g Nor thern Republicans the effect is even more robust the other w a y , a one percentage point rise in the blue collar percentage supports a 6.8 percentage point increase in the likelihood of opposing the President, which is in A N A L Y S I S O F D A T A / 78 accord wi th expectations. A one percentage point increase in the number of white collar workers in a constituency brought a 9.4 percentage point increase in the likelihood of a Nor the rn Republican opposing the President, again this is a score consistent wi th precedent rather than wi th expectations. A one place cl imb in Commit tee seniority for a Southern Democratic Representative was associated wi th a 1.3 percentage point increase in the likelihood of support for the veto. A m o n g Nor thern Republicans a one place rise seniority brought a rise of 2.8 percentage points in likelihood of supporting the veto. Here, at last, is a 1982 rol l cal l which is a straight vote on the President 's policy. He lost badly perhaps because he tried to make an issue out of an appropriations bi l l that was clear ly not the 'budget buster' he described it as. Maybe it was s imply a case of his c ry ing ' w o l f once too often. 9. J o b s A p p r o p r i a t i o n s Some Republicans disliked an Appropr ia t ions Committee bil l (HJRes631) which contained $5.4 bil l ion for job creation and attempted to have it recommitted to the Committee. They backed their campaign wi th the threat that the President would veto the b i l l . The motion was rejected 215-191 by the House on the 14th of December wi th a very low level of defections on both sides: just seven Republicans and 20 Democrats . The President clearly indicated that he supported the motion. We might expect resistance to the President 's threat to be associated wi th either membership of the Appropr ia t ions Committee whose bi l l it was or wi th membership of the Budget Committee which is responsible for the overall shape of the budget. Members of the Appropr ia t ions Committee were 40.2 percentage point more l ikely to vote for the b i l l than other Southern Democrats and members of the A N A L Y S I S O F D A T A / 79 Budget Committee, which is responsible for the overal l shape of appropriations bills, were 48.9 percentage point more l ikely to vote for it. In the South the non-whites variable again brought the expected increase in opposition to the President. Here a one point increase in the non-white percentage produced a 0.7 percentage point increase in the chance of a Representative opposing the President. Among Northern Republicans four constituency variables show significance. A l l were related to support for the bi l l in its original form. Three of those variables pick up membership of the groups most l ikely to be benefit from job creation programmes: urban voters, non-whites, and blue collar. The fourth was income. For each point increase in the non-white population in a constituency the chances of the Representative voting wi th the Democrats increased 4.6 percentage point, for each point urban the increase was 0.5 percentage point and for each point blue collar the increase was 8.8 percentage point. This vote breaks down more clearly than any of the others on par ty lines and this is why the President lost. The vote came in the lame-duck session and m a y be seen as a reaction to the traditional mid-term rejection of the President 's par ty by the electorate. It also suggests that after a l l the turmoi l of the past two years Representatives were settling down again to the easy routine of toeing, by and large, the party line. F. THE OVERALL PATTERN The opening chapter laid out the tale of the rise and decline of President Reagan's new coalition. In 1981 he fashioned a series of victories in the House even though his party was the minori ty . He did this by holding almost a l l the Republican votes on the three key votes and by detaching enough Democrats , part icularly Southerners, to ensure his policies enjoyed the support of the majority. The review of the data above has suggested the type of Southern Democrat who was drawn to Reagan's coalition in 1981. B y the end of the A N A L Y S I S O F D A T A / 80 year, however, that coalition had begun to dissolve. This was due to movement on both sides of the House. The foregoing analysis of the individual rol l calls suggests that there was a pattern to these defections, or, rather, that there were patterns: one among Democrats and one among Republicans. The behaviour of the Nor the rn Republicans bears out the hypothesis that, as far as constituency variables go, defectors were more l ikely to come from constituencies wi th disproportionately N e w D e a l characteristics. For the Southern Democrats the same clear pattern does not emerge, but it seems that the decisive constituency characteristics are not the ones that draw Representatives back to the par ty but the ones that keep them support ing the President. Throughout the period the insti tutional variables show up associated wi th resistance to the President when local prerogatives are threatened. O n every major vote the President was fighting against opposition of one committee or other. B y 1982 the committees had altered the tone of the campaign from grand setpiece showdowns to a w a r of attri t ion. F r o m the committee-room bunkers they ground down the President in dissipating his forces in a series of skirmishes on line items and a m y r i a d of amendments and procedural votes. 1. Constituency variables The data suggest that the inst i tut ional variables are strongly to opposition to the President throughout and that the behaviour of Representatives cannot be accounted for purely in terms of constituency influences. The change in voting cannot, therefore, be explained entirely in terms of constituency variables. The two are not unrelated. The constituency variables may be telling us not just that the mood of the constituents changed but also that Representatives from certain kinds of constituency were a lways the most reluctant members of the coalition and the readiest to give themselves up to the pull of the committees. A N A L Y S I S O F D A T A / 81 a. Northern Republicans The expectation was that Representatives would grow more l ike ly to desert the President's coalition as the N e w Deal nature of their constituencies increased. The pattern displayed by Nor thern Republicans over the six regressions offers support to this hypothesis. The three variables most unambiguously l inked to support for the N e w Deal are non-white, blue collar, and urban. In al l cases, and as predicted, a percentage increase in the number of non-white or blue collar constituents made Northern Republican Representatives less l ikely to vote wi th the President; as can be seen in Table 2. The percentage urban had positive signs (which indicate support for the President) for the final vote in 1981, the fal l cuts, and the first vote in 1982, the Oaka r amendment, but then had negative signs for the next three. This pattern indicates an ebbing away of support for the President. A very simil iar pattern was displayed by the variable measur ing the percentage of farm workers, a group tradit ionally associated wi th the N e w Dea l coalit ion. One counter-expectational result was the consistent, and sometimes powerful, relationship between an increase in the white collar percentage i n a constituency and opposition to the President. This surprise is compounded by the behaviour of the percentage suburban variable. This was positively related to presidential support four times, once significantly so, and negatively so only twice, on neither occasion to a significant degree. It might have been expected to display, at least, the same pattern of presidential opposition as the white collar var iable . Bear ing in mind that the suburban percentage would include a number of blue collar workers and that some of the white collar workers w i l l be distr ibuted in ru ra l areas it might be expected that that variable would be more l ikely to be associated wi th presidential support. It cannot be that the white collar residents of urban areas are t ipping the scale because the urban variable is consistently less strongly related to opposition to the President than the percentage white collar is. The income variable was related to opposition to the President on the fall A N A L Y S I S O F D A T A / 82 cuts of 1981, but not to a significant degree. It was almost neutral over the next two and posit ively related to presidential support over the next three and to a significant degree on one of them. This is a variable we would expect to move in the opposite direction to the N e w Deal variables, and that is what it did. The final constituency variable was the incumbent's party 's average percentage. We expected this to be related to resistance to the President in cases where public support for h im was part icularly strong. It was never significant and displayed no readi ly discernible pattern. b. Southern Democrats The pattern for the Southern Democrats is much more problematic. The percentage non-white variable again performed as expected and was a lways linked wi th opposition to the President, twice to a significant degree: on the first and last votes of the nine, as can be seen in Table 1. The urban percentage is also consistently associated wi th opposition to the President, much more so than for Nor the rn Republicans, twice to a significant degree. The third N e w Dea l variable does not, however, behave at a l l as expected. Over the nine votes support for the President among Southern Democrats is consistently strongly positively linked to the percentage blue collar as well as to the percentage white collar. Furthermore for these two variables there is a tendency for their association wi th Presidential support to grow stronger over the nine votes. In 1982, as support drains away from the President 's position the blue collar and white collar scores stand out even more strongly like a row of treetops after a f lood. 1 9 The percentage suburban is strongly and consistently associated wi th opposition to the President and significantly so on two occasions. But , as wi th 1 9 B o t h variables are related to presidential opposition just once, on the tax increase, the most problematic of the nine votes. A N A L Y S I S O F D A T A / 83 the percentage non-white and percentage urban there is no sign of a change over time. Un l ike the white and blue collar percentages these variables do not suggest that as the Presidential alliance crumbled and was replaced by a slow return to 'business as usual , ' that what replaced it was good old New Deal backscratching at the pork barrel wi th a l l the Representatives out to grab what they could for their constituents. The rough survey of the data above suggested that as Reagan's campaign waned Democrats from the Border states were par t icular ly quick to return to the fold. The scores for the urban and suburban variables suggest that Representatives from cities in the South, which often like to characterise themselves as the ' N e w South ' , were a lways much readier than the average southerner to oppose the President. W h a t that leaves are the ru ra l and smal l town voters from the old south, commonly characterised as 'red necks' st icking wi th the P r e s i d e n t . 2 0 If this is true it explains another counter-expectational set of scores. Fo r Southern Democrats an increase in average income is consistently related to presidential opposition. I f the affluent cities oppose the President then this is quite logical. The variable measur ing the percentage of farmworkers was positively related to support for the President four times and to opposition four times, wi th no readily discernible pattern and never to a significant degree. Given the t iny percentage of the total population which fa rm workers make up, even in the constituencies in which they are most heavi ly represented, this need not be taken as a refutation of the 'red neck' theory. 2 0 M y impression, based on a survey of the raw data, is that the retirement belt along the G u l f coast of Eas te rn Lou i s i ana , A l a b a m a and Flor ida is also an area of Presidential support, in those constituencies which did not have a Republican Representative. These too would be areas of low urban and low suburban density and of below average income but w i t h a high proportion of people describing themselves as white collar. A N A L Y S I S O F D A T A / 84 For Southern Democrats the margin variable also oscillated. It was associated w i t h Pres ident ia l support six times and wi th opposition three times; once significantly but once to an almost negligible degree. Fo r Southern Democrats, as for Nor the rn Republicans, it failed to deliver the predicted results. The implicat ion is that the margina l i ty effect F io r ina encouraged us to seek is smal l or non-existent or that it wi l l have to be measured in a different manner. Perhaps, as Fenno suggests, what really counts is how margina l Representatives perceive themselves to be. He suggests that Representatives (and this is something F io r ina implies) face the terror of reelection with greater equanimity over time. It ought to be repeated that this variable did not take into account the potential marg ina l i s ing effects of primaries. While the analysis has not disproved the thesis it has not offered the anticipated support to the idea that marg ina l Representatives, like condemned men, have their minds more concentrated on their own morta l i ty . 2. Committees The prediction for the committee variables was, first, that they would be more volatile than the constituency variables and, secondly, that they would be closely related to the interests of a committee on a given vote. This was certainly the case. The second prediction was that the committee variables, par t icular ly the Committee seniority variable, would be closely related to general opposition to the President 's assault on the House way of doing things. This prediction was born out, but less c lear ly so. The only variables to produce scores significant in both directions at at least the 5 percent level on a one-tailed test were insti tutional variables. For Southern Democrats , as Table 1 demonstrates, this happens wi th membership of the W a y s and Means Committee and for Committee seniority and for Nor thern Republicans, as Table 2 shows, it happens wi th membership of the W a y s and Means and Budget Committees . A l though al l the institutional variables are significant on several occasions there is not a single vote on which al l four in either group show up together. A N A L Y S I S O F D A T A / 85 There are even cases where inst i tut ional variables tu rn up pulling in different directions. Fo r Southern Democrats committee seniority is related to opposition to the President on each of the first six votes, twice to a significant degree. The same is not true for any of the other three committee variables. The two votes on which Committee seniority is associated w i t h presidential support are the a w k w a r d tax increase vote and the veto override. O n the latter it is significant. This , however, is the vote where only 13 percent of Southern Democrats defect, so the prediction that the higher the inst i tut ional seniority and status of representatives, the less l ikely they are to r u n w i t h the herd stands up for Southern Democrats. Fo r Nor the rn Republicans, where the variable is related to presidential support twice and to opposition four t imes, once significantly, there is no unambiguous pattern. But , there was no unambiguous expectation. Sometimes loyal ty to the hierarchy might demand opposing the President, sometimes it might involve supporting h im. G. CONCLUSIONS Insofar as the analysis of data was a test of two competing theories on Congressional behaviour it suggests that constituency theorists would be wrong to ignore a l l institutional variables. Membersh ip of the three House committees included in the calculations shows up enough to suggest that it can be an important consideration for Representatives. There is , furthermore, a pattern to the incidence of committee support. W h e n the tu r f or work of a committee is directly threatened members w i l l tend to ra l ly to the flag. This was fairly consistently the case throughout the nine votes and in itself does not in any w a y directly explain the change i n the mood of the House from 1981 to 1982. But , the fact that it occurred at a l l does give a clue to the root of the change. The first of the two years dealt wi th , 1981, was a most unusual year in Congressional terms, much more so than 1982. This oddness is highlighted by the w a y the House dealt wi th its budgetary work. In general the House lets the spending committees, the Appropria t ions Commit tee, and the Ways and Means Committee get on with the work of prepar ing the appropriations and tax bills and then passes those bills either intact or fa i r ly l ight ly amended. There are A N A L Y S I S O F D A T A / 86 good reasons for this. 'Committees are created to perform certain goal-oriented tasks which their parent chamber as a whole lacks the ability, the time, or, perhaps, the w i l l to perfrom adequately,' says Fenno . 2 1 In 1981, when D a v i d S tockman did the work of wri t ing the entire budget himself, the House overturned the entire committee budget. In 1982 they did not have the s tamina, the w i l l , or the confidence in the alternatives to repeat the task. Brady , Ripley and M a y h e w provide accounts of the behaviour of the formation of dominant coalitions which resemble the events of 1981 sufficiently to suggest that the House may have been in the grip of N e w Coali t ion fever. The infection, as B r a d y points out, is of an ideological nature. Perhaps i t was first incubated by K e m p and his ideological supporters in the Washington press or perhaps it started with popular tax revolts in state elections, but whatever i t was that predisposed them to the disease members of the House came to the capi tal i n J a n u a r y 1981 convinced that the congressional and presidential returns i n the election meant the voters wanted economic changes. A n d those changes meant lower expenditure, lower taxes and a lower deficit, although not everyone on the right could agree what should come first. The voters had returned a Republican president. They had turned the Senate Republican but, despite a swing of 30 seats, they had left the House, and therefore its committees, in the hands of the Democrats. One of Brady ' s crucial preconditions for a real ignment which wi l l last was not fulfilled. Fenno argues that individuals run for Congress by running against Congress. No th ing encapsulates the di lemma of the Representative better than the role of the Appropriat ions Committee and the other spending committees. They embody both bloated federal government, which, as far as the folks back home are concerned, is a bad thing, and porkbarrel , which, it is assumed, is what the folks back home want unless they say otherwise. Representatives interpreted the 1981 returns as suggesting constituents wanted otherwise. The size of the federal deficit had become a nationwide issue and President Reagan claimed to have the 2 1 Fenno, R . F . The Power of the Purse p.5. Fenno calculates that 90 percentage point of Appropriat ions Committee recommendations are passed by the House. A N A L Y S I S O F D A T A / 87 answer. A majority of Representatives seem to have believed either, that his solution was worth t ry ing or, that their constituents wanted them to t ry it. O n this issue the Reagan had run for the Presidency by running, implici t ly, against the House Appropriat ions Committee. The Republicans showed al l the ha l lmarks of a new dominant party in 1981. Over the three key votes their Representatives from traditionally liberal areas remained loyal to the par ty without ask ing for any special considerations. The Democrat defectors came precisely from the tradit ionally conservative areas: the South and the Sun B e l t . 2 2 The Southern defections in 1981 included few by important senior members but in general the most frequent defectors were not major figures. Those who formed the hard-core of defectors were al l relatively (though not extremely) junior and from the Deep South. Bu t they extracted a price for their defections. The President had to agree to 'special consideration' on the budget and the tax cuts i n order to be sure of a majority. The victory in 1981 came at the cost of damaging Reagan's chances of creating an 'exclusive' coalition. B y the next year the Nor the rn Republicans from traditionally l iberal constituencies had also learnt their lesson. Thei r constituents may well (in most cases) have voted heavily for Reagan in 1980 but they also had local interests to defend from cutbacks. They had missed out on the boodle that was going in 1981, and the Reagan budget and tax cuts had failed to stimulate the economy or reduce the deficit. A n d the President 's populari ty was declining. The Nor thern Republicans who deserted the President i n 1982 tended to come from more urban or industrialised constituencies. They were neither str ikingly above nor below average in seniority or in terms of committee membership. Their complaint was that their constituents were suffering disproportionately from cutbacks. 2 2 A s Fenno points out there have been other times when Southern Democrats and Republicans, united by what he calls 'economy moods', have allied to force cuts on the Democrat-controlled committees. In The Power of the Purse (pp,472-478) he discusses the events of 1951. A N A L Y S I S O F D A T A / 88 W h a t most damaged the Republicans' chances of creating a long-term realignment was their failure to capture the committees. The chaotic state of Stockman's G r a m m - L a t t a II bil l and his admissions to Atlantic Monthly meant that he disqualified himself as a plausible alternative when it came to draft ing legislation. The sense of crisis which Reagan had encouraged to help push his programme through could not be sustained for a second year and his policies were just not l iv ing up to expectations. The alternative to the House committees no longer appeared so attractive. Jus t because a majority of Representatives were no longer prepared to rubber stamp Reagan's policies did not mean that they were prepared to accept, unquestioningly, what the economic committees came up wi th . The sense of unease wi th 'business as usual ' remained. That is why the House had such difficulties producing appropriations and tax bills in 1982. The 1980 election and the President's campaign had reawakened Congressional unease at their inabi l i ty to use the budget as a macroeconomic tool. B y the end of 1982 the ideological temperature had cooled and the House appropriations process was re turning to what , according to Mayhew, it does best: satisfying the part icular ized electoral needs of its members. If changing the direction of the economy was beyond them then the members would have to content themselves wi th t ry ing to guarantee their re-election. 1981 Gramm Gramm Tax Fal 1 Oakar Latta I Latta II Cuts Cuts Amendm' Suburban - .002 .006* - .003 - .002 - .000 ( .003) ( .003) ( .003) ( .003) ( .003) Urban - .003 .005* - .002 - .005* - .000 ( .003) ( .003) ( .003) ( .002) ( .003) B1ue col 1 .009' .004 .008 .001 .020 ( .015) ( .015) ( .015) ( .014) ( .015) White col .009 .009 .01 1 .024 .035* ( 017) ( .017) ( .017) ( .017) ( .018) Farm Wkr .000 .022 .007 - .004 .023 ( .025) ( .025) ( .025) ( .024) ( .025) Income - 004 .008 - .068 - .098 - 1 14* ($1000) ( 070) ( .064) ( .064) ( .062) ( 066) Black - 007* .001 - 004 .002 - 005 ( 004) ( .004) ( 004) ( .004) ( 004) Marg i n 005 .006 - 000 - .002 001 ( .005) ( .004) ( .004) ( .004) ( 004) Com Sen - 009 .014 - 013 - .002 - 017* ( 011) ( .010) ( 010) ( .010) ( 01 1 ) W & Means - 038 .093 - 332* - .024 033 ( 179) ( .175) ( 178) ( . 171 ) ( 183) Budget - 367* . 227 - 266 - . 145 106 ( 179) ( . 194) ( 197) ( .189) ( 203) Approps - 081 . 176 - 317* - .301* 004 ( 153) ( . 150) ( 152) ( . 147) ( 156) Constant 935 1 .316 2 224 1 . 346 318 (1 46) (1 .43) (1 44) (1 . 39) (1 48) R2 0 208 0 . 165 0 218 0 . 169 0 164 F 1 752 1 . 329 1 902 1 . 353 1 340 N of Cases 92 93 94 92 94 For Pres 59% 33% 43% 30% 59% *=P>.05 **=P>.01 Standard errors in parentheses 1982 Latta Tax Veto Jobs GOP-Bud Increase Overr i de Approps -.006* - .001 - .002 - .002 (.003) ( .003) .002) ( .003) -.006** - .002 .000 - .OOO (.003) ( .003) .003) ( .002) .013 - .014 .018* .003 (.015) ( .015) .011) ( .015) .028* - .008 .021 * .001 (.017) ( 018) .013) ( .018) .013 - .017 .01 1 - .005 (.025) ( .025) .018) ( .023) -.010 - 079 .018 .030 (.064) ( 068) .047) ( 061 ) .003 - 007 .000 - 007* (.004) ( 005) .003) ( 005) .005 - 010* .003 001 (.004) ( 005) .003) ( 004) -.024** 008 .013* - 002 (.010) ( 011) .008) ( 010) .315* - 361* . 158 - 050 ( • 189) ( 184) .130) ( 170) - . 294 - 331 * .033 - 232 ( . 197) ( 199) .144) ( 185) - . 155 - 125 .076 - 402** ( • 152) ( 156) .112) ( 157) - . 351 3 953 .428 1 558 ( 1 .43) (1 46) (1 .06) (1 44) 0. 247 0 206 0 . 1 16 O 151 2 . 190 1 603 0 . 855 1 430 92 86 90 89 46% 36% 13% 27% 1981 1982 Fal 1 Oakar Latta Tax Veto Jobs Cuts Amendm't GOP-Bud Increase Overr i de Approps Suburban .001 .001 - .002 .005* .002 - .002 ( .003) ( .003) ( .003) ( .003) ( .003) ( .002) Urban .000 .004 - .001 .004 - .003 - .005* ( .004) ( .004) ( .004) ( .003) ( .004) ( .002) Blue col 1 - .018 - .023 - .096* - .037 - .068 - .089* ( .062) ( .055) ( .056) ( .049) ( .053) ( .038) White col - .028 - .021 - . 108* - .062 - .094 - .068** ( .071 ) ( .063) ( .064) ( .055) ( .061 ) ( .043) Farm Wkr .042 .049 - .097 - .005 - .064 - .112* ( . 102) ( .089) ( .091 ) ( .078) ( .087) ( .062) Income - .062 .000 .000 . 170* . 101 .01 1 ($1000) ( .123) ( . 108) ( .111) ( .090) ( . 105) ( .070) Bl ack - .022 - .023 - .029 - .003 - .022 - .046*** ( .024) ( .021 ) ( .022) ( .019) ( .02 1 ) ( .014) Marg i n .001 - .003 .001 - .001 - .005 .002 ( .009) ( .008) ( .008) ( .007) ( .008) ( .006) Com Sen - .036* - .015 - .006 - .028 .028 - .013 ( .023) ( .021 ) ( .021 ) ( .019) ( .020) ( .014) W & Means . 179 . 579* .250 - .435* . 185 Not i n ( . 330) ( .291) ( . 298) ( . 254) ( . 283) Equat i on Budget - . 138 - . 756** - . 230 - . 544* - . 100 . 148 ( . 352) ( .310) ( .317) ( . 270) ( . 301 ) ( .169) Approps - .099 - . 148 - . 101 - .215 . 225 - . 125 ( .257) ( . 226) ( .232) ( .197) ( .220) ( . 163) Constant 3 .07 3 . 57 10. . 29 4 . 36 7 .97 8 . 92 (5. . 42) (4 . 76) (4. .88) (4 .21) (4 .63) (3 31) R2 0. . 195 0 . 326 0. .274 0 .412 0 .272 0 .452 F 0. . 745 1 . 49 1 . 16 2 .04 1 . . 15 2 . 48 N of Cases 50 50 50 48 50 45 For Pres 52% 36% 66% 73% 28% 87% *=P>.05 **=P>.01 ***=p>.001 on a one-tailed test Standard errors in parentheses 


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