Friendly Fire: Parties Slam Some of Their Own

by Stuart Rothenberg May 28, 2013 · 9:20 AM EDT

The National Republican Congressional Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee each blasted the other side after a near party-line vote on the Smarter Solutions for Students Act, which passed the House on Thursday, 221-198.

But eight House Republicans voted with the Democrats, and four House Democrats voted with the Republicans, creating a situation where 12 House members were indirectly attacked by their own party’s campaign committee.

Three of the four Democrats who voted with the GOP could well have competitive races next year, while only one or two of the Republicans who voted with Democrats are expected to face tough re-election races in 2014. (Another of the Republicans could be in a tough Senate race at this time next year.)

In a press release, the NRCC blasted Georgia Rep. John Barrow and 40 other House Democrats for voting “against legislation that would work to lower student loan interest rates.”

“Barrow owes an explanation to the many hard-working students in Georgia whose rates are at risk because of his own intransigence. It’s time to put aside his allegiance to Nancy Pelosi and her liberal agenda and start supporting common-sense legislation like this,” said the NRCC’s press release.

The NRCC did not include the eight House Republicans who joined 190 Democrats in voting against the bill.

Those Republicans included Mo Brooks of Alabama, Vern Buchanan of Florida, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Tom Graves of Georgia, Michael G. Grimm of New York, Walter B. Jones of North Carolina and Marlin Stutzman of Indiana. None of these members is ordinarily regarded as a political ally of Pelosi, the House minority leader.

The three top members of the party’s House leadership — Speaker John A. Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy — put out a statement supporting the bill.

The DCCC statement, which referred to the bill mockingly as the “Students Pay More Act,” asserted that the Republican-authored measure would result in “charging students more for their college loans” and force students “to shell out even more in crushing interest payments for the same loans.”

The DCCC did not note that Joe Garcia of Florida, Dan Maffei of New York, Jared Polis of Colorado and Scott Peters of California voted with 217 Republicans in support of the bill.

Polis is national chairman for candidate services at the DCCC and was mentioned last year as a possible DCCC chairman.