Feb. 11, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Varied Explanations for GOP Defections

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Rep. Jeff Landry voted against the CR the first time, but a $100 million offset changed his mind.

Shortly after Rep. Dana Rohrabacher cast his vote last Wednesday, helping bring down the six-week continuing resolution, he knew he had sinned.

"I immediately began feeling guilty about it," the California Republican said in an interview.

Rohrabacher understood the CR was the best deal the Republicans could get and was inclined to support it. But back in his district, "You have very active supporters of mine [who] are very well-intended but not, how do you say, sophisticated in their understanding of the way this process works back here," he said. He was on the floor, dreading his tortured explanation to the activists, when he saw that the bill was going down. "I decided to take the easy way out rather than the right way out," by voting no.

Rohrabacher said he wallowed in guilt, choosing not to defend his vote in public lest he say something he "really didn't believe." He told a fellow Republican of his lament, and his colleague urged him to speak out at a closed-door GOP meeting.

"I was asking myself why I voted that way and I said to myself, 'Well, I'm being chicken-shit'," he said he told colleagues. According to Rohrabacher, the sentiment resonated in the room.

Other lawmakers said their reasons for straying from the party line were individual.

"It was never about the bill," said Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.), explaining that he voted "no" the first time to protest that the CR did not contain language that would maintain the current maximum amount a home mortgage could be insured by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which is currently set at $729,750.

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