Blue Dog Coalition

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Blue Dog Democrats are the "fiscally conservative" wing of the Democratic Party caucus.

About the Blue Dog Coalition

  • The Blue Dog Coalition is dedicated to a core set of beliefs that transcend partisan politics.
  • The Coalition is dedicated to the financial stability and national security of the United States.
  • Blue Dogs represent the center of the House of Representatives and appeal to the mainstream values of the American public.

The Blue Dog Coalition, formed in 1995, is an official caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives comprised of 15 fiscally conservative Democrats that are deeply committed to the financial stability and national security of the United States and dedicated to finding bipartisan solutions to the nation’s biggest challenges.

Democrats in the Blue Dog Coalition hail from every region of the country, from as far north as Maine, to as far south as Georgia, to as far west as California and Oregon. Many of its members also come from America’s heartland, including representatives from Texas to Minnesota. What unites the Coalition is the desire to work with both parties to get the nation’s fiscal house in order, spur private-sector job growth, strengthen the economy and ensure the long-term economic stability of the United States.

Over the years, the Blue Dogs have won accolades from Republicans and Democrats alike for their efforts to promote bipartisan, commonsense policies. In the 113th Congress, which began in 2013, its members continue to work to make a difference by forging middle-ground, practical solutions to some of the nation’s most challenging problems.

While the Blue Dogs have historically been particularly active on fiscal issues, the Coalition has currently developed four task forces not only focusing on fiscal responsibility and accountability, but also energy, economic growth, and oversight and regulatory review.

Since they first organized in 1995, the Blue Dog Coalition’s membership numbers have risen and fallen, but their commitment to fiscal responsibility and bipartisanship has long endured. In today’s hyper-partisan environment, the Blue Dogs continue to stand as one of the last caucuses in the House of Representatives willing to set aside party politics and put the interests of the nation first.[1]

Members

As of 2015;[2]

Chairs

Rank and file

Regroupment

In 2010, they were the most influential voting bloc on Capitol Hill, more than 50 House Democrats pulling their liberal colleagues to a more centrist, fiscally conservative vision on issues such as health care and Wall Street reforms.

By 2014, the Blue Dog Coalition was a shell of its former self, shrunken to just 15 members because of political defeat, retirements after redrawn districts left them in enemy territory and just plain exhaustion from the constant battle to stay in office. Several are not running for reelection in November, and a few others are top targets of Republicans.

In danger of losing even more clout, the leading Blue Dogs are regrouping and rebuilding. They are adding four members to their ranks this week — Reps. Ron Barber (Ariz.), Cheri Bustos (Ill.), Nick Rahall (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) — and angling to play a key role in bipartisan talks over the next few years in the belief that the polar tension in the Capitol will thaw.

“We’re in this for the long haul,” Rep. Kurt Schrader (Ore.), co-chairman of the Blue Dogs, said in an interview, predicting that the Democrats could regain the majority only if they are once again competitive in those rural and Southern districts. “We’re the way the Democrats are going to get back into the majority.”

Center Forward, a super PAC, is dedicated to supporting the group’s members in elections, proving effective in 2012 races. In a rare elevation, of one of their own — Joe Donnelly (Ind.) — was elected to the Senate.

The group wants its power to grow and thinks that the tea party influence on House Republicans will begin to wane, leaving many rank-and-file GOP lawmakers searching for Democratic allies to restore the legislative process. “Maybe because of the heightened partisanship in this Congress, you’re seeing more and more members interested in working across the aisle,” Schrader said.[3]

References