Idaho’s Simpson, Labrador in near opposite corners of House GOP factions

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson is among those most loyal to House Speaker John Boehner, while Congressman Raul Labrador is a critic likely to oppose Boehner’s attempts to pass immigration reform and raise the debt ceiling.

That analysis came Tuesday from the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, author of “The Fix” blog, in a post titled, “The Fix’s complete guide to understanding House Republicans.” Cillizza worked with Post colleagues in reviewing six key votes since January they say expose the GOP fault lines in a House that Boehner is finding very difficult to govern.

The Republican Conference was divided into five categories of ascending loyalty to Boehner: No!; Maybe, not likely; Vote no, hope yes; Maybe yes; and Yes!

Labrador is among 30 members in the “Maybe, not likely,” category. Simpson is one of 46 in the “Yes!” bunch who support Boehner “almost no matter what. If they start to turn, it’s over for him.”

Both Labrador, who withheld his vote to re-elect Boehner as speaker in January, and Simpson, a longtime friend of Boehner, are mentioned by Cillizza.

The analysis was based on six votes: 1) The fiscal cliff compromise plan 2) The speaker vote 3) The “Sandy” relief bill 4) The debt limit delay 5) Re-authorizing the Violence Against Women Act 6) The farm bill.

“Taken together, those six bills produce five relatively well-defined factions among House Republicans,” writes Cillizza. “(We recognize that any attempt to force all Members into five categories is an imperfect endeavor. But, we think this gets damn close to the best way to read the House GOP.)”

Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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