Eleven of the 12 sitting Republican senators facing re-election next year voted against the bipartisan budget agreement, which passed Wednesday with 64 votes.
The “no” votes included:
Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas
Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas
Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama
Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky
Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana
Sen. James Risch of Idaho
Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina
Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma
Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi
The only Republican senator facing re-election in 2014 who supported the agreement was Maine Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate who will likely not face a serious primary challenge next spring.
The 11 Republican senators who opposed it are, however, confronting the possibility of rigorous primaries from tea-party-backed candidates who argue that these Republican incumbents aren’t conservative enough.
Before the vote, many outside groups on the right, notably the Club for Growth, Heritage Action and FreedomWorks, panned the budget plan and promised to punish lawmakers who supported it. (The bill, which sets spending levels through fiscal year 2015, would replace much of the budget caps instituted in the Budget Control Act. The move would effectively loosen up much of the spending restrictions under “sequestration,” a policy many conservatives generally liked because it reined in federal spending.)
As was on display Wednesday, the voting behavior of the challenged incumbents suggests that they just might be taking these circumstances into consideration on the Senate floor.