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Rosen, Lee among legislators who break party ranks the most, study finds

Updated February 19, 2024 - 7:47 pm

Two of Nevada’s members of Congress were among those who most often break ranks with their party, but they call it bipartisanship rather than betrayal.

Capitol Hill news source CQ Roll Call published an analysis last week that studied the votes of last year’s congressional session and determined House Republicans last year were the least unified party bloc in more than four decades. The analysis also found which members of Congress voted most often against their own party. Two Nevada Democrats — Sen. Jacky Rosen and Rep. Susie Lee — made the list.

Rosen ranked third among the 12 Democratic senators listed, behind Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana.

“Being an independent voice for Nevada is one of my guiding principles in the U.S. Senate, and I’ll work with anyone — Republican, Democrat, or Independent — to stand up for hardworking families, our state’s unique economy, and our national security,” Rosen, who was unavailable for an interview, said in a statement.

“I’m proud of the bipartisan work I’ve done on behalf of our state, and I’ll always put Nevada first, above politics or party loyalty.”

On the Republican side of the aisle, Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina most often crossed party lines to side with Democrats.

In the House, Democratic Reps. Jared Golden of Maine, Marie Gluesenkamp Perez of Washington and Henry Cuellar of Texas were the three most likely to vote against their party, according to CQ Roll Call.

On the Republican side, Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Lori Chavez-DeRemer of Oregon and Mike Lawler of New York crossed the aisle the most often.

Rosen, joined by Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, voted in favor of the Congressional Review Act resolution to overturn a rule that expands what qualifies as a wetland that the government can regulate. Nevada’s two senators said the rule makes it harder for Nevada ranchers and farmers.

In addition, Rosen voted in favor of seven Republican amendments to the Authorization for Use of Military Force repeal that were opposed by Democrats, including one to conduct an investigation into the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and another to hold Iran accountable for providing support to terrorist organizations.

Lee was No. 12 among 20 Democratic representatives who broke ranks with their party the most often.

“One of the reasons I ran for Congress was I was frustrated with the hyperpartisanship and dysfunction in Washington,” Lee told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in a phone interview.

As vice chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus as well as the Bipartisan Colorado River Caucus and co-chair of the Bipartisan Women’s Caucus, “I spend a lot of time trying to work across the aisle,” Lee said.

Lee recently broke from her party regarding the border when she supported a GOP resolution that denounced the Biden Administration’s border policies, for which she received criticism from immigration advocates.

There were elements of the resolution she did not support, but “the reality is that our immigration system is broken and ignoring the problems at our border will not make them go away,” she said in a statement.

The Nevada congresswoman took Republicans’ side this month when voting in favor of the Israel Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, but the bill did not pass.

She also took the GOP side when voting on legislation regarding law enforcement, including one resolution that condemned efforts to defund or dismantle local law enforcement agencies (which all of Nevada’s representatives voted in favor of), and another that disapproved of changes made to the District of Columbia’s criminal laws, which Rosen also voted with Republicans on.

The only way to get anything done, especially in a divided Congress, is to work together, Lee said. In order to keep the government open, members of Congress must negotiate and find areas that both sides agree on, start with that and “work from the middle out,” Lee said.

“I don’t believe one party has all the answers,” she said.

Contact Jessica Hill at jehill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @jess_hillyeah on X.

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