This Congressional Map shows how yesterday’s NSA vote cut across partisan divides

Written by . Posted in 2014 Campaigns, Issue Watch


Published on July 25, 2013

Yesterday, the House failed to pass the Amash amendment, which would have cut off funding for the NSA’s program collecting information about all Americans’ phone calls. There was quite a bit of talk about how bipartisan the vote was on both sides, with Democratic and Republican civil libertarians finding common cause on one side, and Democratic and Republican national security hawks on the other.

So here are two maps you can compare:


The first is a simple map of the U.S. by Congressional District, with Republican seats in red and Democratic ones in blue. The second map — which is homemade, so I apologize if there are any mistakes — features the same districts, colored instead based on how members voted on the Amash amendement — white is “aye,” black is “no,” and pink is “no vote.”

The results in some of the states are kind of striking. In Wisconsin, just two members voted against — Republican Paul Ryan and Democrat Ron Kind.  Colorado’s entire bipartisan delegation supported it (it was cosponsored by their Democratic colleague, Jared Polis). In Tennessee, all members voted to limit NSA spying except one — Democrat Jim Cooper. In neighboring Alabama, whose congressional delegation is also dominated by Republicans, the only Democrat voted no along with all Republicans but one.

Another thing that should impress you if you know a bit about members of Congress is how there aren’t too many common threads. The issue split each party down the middle, split members of the Black and Hispanic caucuses, and pitted both conservatives and liberals against one another. The vote is also likely to spur more conversations during primaries in the 2014 election cycle. For example, in Georgia, Reps. Phil Gingrey, Paul Broun and Jack Kingston are all running for Senate next year. Gingrey voted against the amendment, whereas Kingston and Broun voted for it.