Senate: Votes on Cloture and Confirmation of John Brennan as CIA Director

Posted on March 10, 2013 by voteview

Below we use Optimal Classification (OC) in R to plot the Senate‚Äôs 81-16 vote to invoke cloture on the confirmation of John Brennan as CIA Director and its 63-34 vote on confirmation itself. Senator Rand Paul’s (R-KY) talking filibuster of the nomination the day before garnered considerable popular attention.

Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) (who assisted Paul during the filibuster) voted Yea on cloture but Nay on the confirmation, while Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) (also a participant in the filibuster) voted Nay on both motions. The sixteen Republican Senators who opposed cloture and the thirty-one Republican Senators who opposed confirmation are mostly among the most conservative members of the caucus, but this issue is one that does not map very clearly onto the liberal-conservative divide. For instance, three of the Senate’s most liberal members—Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT)—also voted Nay on confirmation. These particular votes were no doubt complicated by partisan considerations; but at least among the Republican caucus, ideology is a fairly good indicator of position on President Obama’s drone program.

Click images to enlarge

As a technical note, we are able to plot members of the 113th Senate so early in the new Congress by combining the roll call voting records of returning members in the 113th Senate with the 32 roll call votes held so far in the 113th Senate. Until more votes are compiled for the freshman members, the estimation of their ideal points will remain somewhat imprecise, but by bridging data from the 112th this problem will not be too severe.

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