The intransigence of House Republicans has gotten most of the attention in Congressional battles over Obama administration initiatives, but the fissures in the president’s own party are getting deeper. This morning’s Wall Street Journal reports that the mortgage cramdown bill approved by the U.S. House got substantially watered down through the efforts of conservative Democrats who insisted on a more bank-friendly approach. As Greg Hitt writes, “The effort on the cram-down bill came as some centrist Democrats in Congress have started to flex their muscles against the party’s more liberal leadership on a number of issues.”
Bloomberg’s Laura Litvan and Nicholas Johnston write that the blue dogs are also making discouraging noises about the taxing and spending provisions in Obama’s $3.55 trillion budget proposal.
Who are these conservative Democrats? Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson, who chairs the House Agriculture Committee, is a prominent member of the House Blue Dog Coalition. (Peterson, by the way, is currently locked in a turf battle with House Financial Services Committee chair Barney Frank over whether the Commodity Futures Trading Commission–which the Ag Committee oversees–or the SEC will manage the regulation of financial derivatives. More about all this here and here.)
Here are the membership roster of the two main conservative Dem groups in the House–the Blue Dog Coalition and the New Democrat Coalition. There’s enormous overlap between the two, the NDC is a little younger.