Dec 21, 2010 15 Comments ›› Pat Dollard
One of Pres. Obama’s biggest supporters in the Senate in the past week is not even a member of his own party: Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).
Murkowski supported the president’s position on the Senate’s four biggest votes since last Wednesday. She and fellow Alaska Sen. Mark Begich (D) voted in favor of the tax cut compromise and to invoke cloture on New START treaty, the Dream Act and the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Both senators also voted in favor of the final repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell on Saturday.
No Senate Republican voted for all four bills other than Murkowski. And the senior senator from Alaska, who became a national figure this year when she defeated attorney Joe Miller (R) with her write-in campaign, has actually been a more reliable vote for the president than 18 members of the Senate Democratic caucus since Dec. 15.
Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), for example, broke with her party twice since Wednesday. She voted against both the tax cut compromise and the Dream Act.
Hagan joined 13 other members of her caucus in opposing the tax cut compromise. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) missed votes Saturday on the Dream Act and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell after previously voting against both bills. And Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) missed the START cloture vote.
Meanwhile, Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) voted against the Dream Act while Republicans Sens. Bob Bennett (Utah), Richard Lugar (Ind.) and Murkowski voted for it. Lugar and Bennett also voted with the majority of Democrats on the tax cut compromise and for cloture on the New START treaty. They voted against cloture on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, however.
Three other Republican senators supported the president’s position on three out of the four key bills: New England Sens. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine). They favored the tax cut compromise, the New START treaty and the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell while voting against the Dream Act.
And four Republican senators supported Obama on two out of four bills: Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and George Voinovich (R-Ohio). Graham, McCain and Voinovich all backed the New START treaty. Graham, McCain and Kirk favored the tax cut compromise while Voinovich did not. Voinovich and Kirk supported repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
Twenty-eight other GOP Senators voted only for the tax cut compromise and against the New START treaty, the Dream Act and repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Four Republicans voted against all four bills: Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), John Ensign (R-Nev.) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.).
In an odd twist though, Ensign and Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) voted for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell after voting against cloture.