The 30 worst House Democrats on military spending going into the 117th Congress, a breakdown

Speaking Security Newsletter | Advisory Note for Organizers and Candidates, n°62 | 29 December 2020

I ranked House Democrats on military spending based on how each of them voted on Trump-era NDAAs (FY2018-21). Turns out there was a 125-way tie for last place, meaning that going into the next Congress, there will be 125 House Democrats who supported Trump’s military budget every time they voted on an NDAA.

The 30 members listed below took at least twice the average amount of war industry cash received by all House Democrats between 2017 and 2020. While this doesn’t make these 30 any ‘worse’ per se than the other 95, it does make them less likely to start voting like a reasonable human being, given how war industry cash corrupts Democrats’ votes on NDAAs. (It also speaks to how long a member’s been in office, and therefore how many votes they’ve cast on military spending over the last 4 years.)

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What votes we’re looking at here

Under Trump, there were nine total NDAA votes. The reason why it isn’t four is because there’s two votes on each (annual) NDAA (except for this year where there were three, thanks to Trump’s veto). So I looked at the roll call votes for both the House and final (‘conference’) versions of the fiscal years 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 NDAAs (plus that veto override vote yesterday on the FY21 bill).

Why I did this study

We have to figure out which members of Congress we can work with and which ones we can just go ahead and start finding a primary challenger to replace them. I think there’s a few House Democrats in that 125-member bloc who can be talked out of voting badly. The following 30 are probably irreconcilable. Let’s have a look at them.

30 House Democrats who need primary challengers in 2022

^Data via Open Secrets. Cash totals include campaign and PAC contributions.

Thanks for your time,

Stephen (@stephensemler; stephen@securityreform.org)

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