Several days before the House voted on President Obama’s economic recovery package, freshman Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA) told the Times-Picayune that he would “more likely than not” vote for the legislation because the “2nd Congressional District needs a stimulus package.” When it came time to vote, however, Cao gave into pressure from his party and voted no.
Now, Cao appears to be flirting again with the idea of bucking his party, telling the Hill earlier today that he may vote for Obama’s proposed budget:
Rep. Joseph Cao (R-La.) may buck his party when the House votes on President Obama’s budget proposal later this week. The freshman lawmaker told The Hill that his constituents are split, adding that he wants more information before deciding whether to stick with his party or side with the president. [...]
“At this point, I’m not sure which is approach is better,” Cao said Tuesday morning. If he votes yes, Cao would be the first Republican in recent memory to support a Democratic budget resolution.
Despite Cao’s wobbly position on Obama’s agenda, his constituents appear to support it whole-heartedly. Not only did Cao’s district vote 75 percent in favor of Obama last November, but after Cao voted against the recovery package, several of his constituents initiated a recall campaign.
Obama’s budget offers significant benefits to the people of Louisiana. The Center for American Progress Action Fund found that approximately 1.5 million Louisiana families would benefit directly from Obama’s proposal to extend the Making Work Pay tax cut. As Cao himself noted, Obama’s proposal also includes one billion dollars for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Housing Voucher Program and Affordable Housing Trust Fund, a portion of which will go to his most needy constituents.
Finally, because a significant number of his constituents live in New Orleans, Cao should consider the fact that Obama’s budget includes money to continue and accelerate recovery from Hurricane Katrina. The question now is whether or not Cao can begin to put the long-term interests of his constituents before his own short-term interests within the House Republican Caucus.