- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 24, 2006

House Republicans will soon vote for a permanent successor to Tom DeLay as majority leader. The three candidates are: Roy Blunt of Missouri, the majority whip, who has been serving as acting majority leader since Mr. DeLay vacated the post; John Boehner of Ohio, chairman of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, who previously served as chairman of the Republican Conference (1995-98); and John Shadegg of Arizona, chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, who previously served as chairman of the Republican Study Committee. As that vote approaches, the editorial page of The Washington Times will be reviewing the voting records of the three candidates. We begin today by updating the recent analysis of Stephen Dinan of The Washington Times, a Capitol Hill reporter, who, before Mr. Shadegg entered the race, reviewed nine key votes on issues over which Messrs. Blunt and Boehner differed.

The biggest difference between Messrs. Blunt and Boehner involves immigration. Mr. Shadegg joined Mr. Blunt in support of the Border Protection, Antiterrorism and Illegal Immigration Control Act. Passed by the House last month with 92 percent Republican support, the bill would require employers to confirm all employees’ eligibility to work by checking Social Security numbers against a database. Mr. Boehner opposed the bill because of that provision. On a 2004 immigration vote, which failed to pass despite receiving 60 percent support within the GOP caucus, Mr. Shadegg joined Mr. Blunt in supporting an amendment that would have allowed local law enforcement to report information on illegal aliens to federal authorities. Mr. Boehner opposed that measure as well. In 2002, Messrs. Shadegg and Blunt also opposed what was called a “mini-amnesty” measure, which would have opened a new window for legalization of hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens. Mr. Boehner’s vote for the measure was the deciding factor in its passage.

In another key vote last year, Mr. Shadegg joined Mr. Boehner in opposing the $286.4 billion transportation bill that included more than 6,000 projects totaling about $24 billion, which were specifically “earmarked” by legislators. Messrs. Shadegg and Boehner were two of only eight representatives opposing the pork-infested bill, which Mr. Blunt (and 416 other House members) supported.

Perhaps the most important vote pitting Mr. Shadegg against Messrs. Blunt and Boehner was Mr. Shadegg’s 2003 vote against the Medicare prescription-drug bill, which was supported by 89 percent of the Republican caucus.

In 2004, Mr. Shadegg and Mr. Boehner voted for a budget-procedures amendment that would have allowed spending cuts to be used to reduce the deficit or for tax cuts and for an amendment prohibiting U.S. contributions to UNESCO. Mr. Blunt opposed both measures. On the other hand, in 2002, in opposition to Mr. Boehner, Messrs. Blunt and Shadegg joined a majority of Republicans supporting a 1 percent across-the-board cut in programs funded by the Treasury Department appropriations bill.

While Mr. Blunt has subsequently voted for school choice in the District of Columbia, in 2001 he bucked 83 percent of his caucus (including Messrs. Boehner and Shadegg) and joined 99 percent of the Democratic caucus in opposing the authorization of $50 million for five school-choice demonstration projects enabling low-income students to attend private and public schools.

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