Every House Democrat who cast a ballot voted in favor of the following: the omnibus bill reforming campaign finance and establishing national standards for voting access (H.R. 1); the prescription-drug law, which empowers Medicare to negotiate lower prices and to extend those savings to consumers covered by private insurance (H.R. 3); the legislation, passed last week, to restore key segments of the Voting Rights Act (H.R. 4); the Equality Act banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity (H.R. 5); the bill providing legal status to “Dreamers” brought to the country illegally as children (H.R. 6); the women’s pay-equity act (H.R. 7); and the legislation opposing Trump’s decision to abandon the Paris climate accord (H.R. 9). Democrats additionally backed H.R. 8, which would establish universal background checks for gun purchases, by 232-2. Those two “no” votes, from Colin Peterson of Minnesota and Jared Golden of Maine, are the only dissenting votes cast by House Democrats on any of the party’s top-priority bills.
By contrast, when Democrats last held the House majority in 2009 and 2010, 34 Democrats voted against the Affordable Care Act and 44 opposed cap-and-trade legislation to combat climate change, which was crucial to Speaker Nancy Pelosi. When Democrats held the majority under Clinton, dozens of House Democrats voted against his budget, an omnibus crime bill, and gun control; Clinton faced so much resistance from congressional Democrats that his universal health-coverage plan never reached the floor for a vote.
The greater unity in this caucus reflects the determination of Pelosi and other Democratic leaders to forge agreements acceptable to both the party’s liberal and moderate wings. “We have our fingerprints on every single one of those bills,” Murphy told me, referring to the top-priority legislation the House has passed. “That is why you are not seeing the fractures [the party had] in previous decades.”