Legacy of Policy Success

Since the founding of the Blue Dog Coalition, its members have diligently fought for fiscal discipline, a strong national security, and good government reforms. Throughout its history, the Coalition has successfully helped to enact legislation ranging from campaign finance reform to statutory PAYGO to stronger counterterrorism measures. The Blue Dogs have also historically put forward policy proposals as a means to identify a bipartisan path forward to break the gridlock in Washington. These are some of the accomplishments that have played a crucial role in the organization’s legacy.

Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform:

In 1997, while the House was under Republican control, Blue Dog members Charlie Stenholm of Texas and Scotty Baesler of Kentucky worked with House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt to draft campaign finance reform legislation that would set stronger limits on the amount of money candidates could receive from their national political party and certain nonprofit organizations. When House Republicans sent the bill to the House Committee on Oversight in order to let the legislation die in Committee, the Blue Dogs worked with Leader Gephardt to get signatures for a discharge petition. While Gephardt wrangled the Democratic Caucus, the Blue Dogs went to moderate Republicans to secure their support. About six months later they had enough signatures — including 12 Republicans and the entire Democratic Caucus — to release the bill from committee. The bipartisan rebellion forced House Speaker Newt Gingrich to send the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act to the floor for a vote. Democratic leadership reportedly thanked the Blue Dogs “for all the work that they have done” to ensure that “campaign finance reform has survived the best attempts by Republican leadership to drive a stake through its heart.” Although the bill passed the House in 1998, it was then blocked by the Republican Senate.

Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO):

Although the bipartisan Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) budget rule has taken slightly different forms over the years, its role has remained the same: to force lawmakers to pay for new priorities in order prevent the national debt and budget deficit from getting worse. First enacted in 1990 in statutory form, which required the House and Senate to abide by the rule with enforceable consequences, PAYGO remained in place until it expired in 2002. The measure has been credited for leading to budget surpluses in the 1990s. When Republicans allowed the measure to expire in 2002, the Blue Dogs launched an effort to get Congress to reenact statutory PAYGO.

No Budget, No Pay:

A longtime advocate for congressional reform and member of the Blue Dog Coalition, Rep. Jim Cooper of Tennessee first introduced the No Budget, No Pay Act in 2011 after a Nashville constituent asked why Congress could miss budget and tax deadlines while the public has no such luxury. The Blue Dog Coalition backed the measure as a commonsense solution to force Congress to do its job on time, and has continued to advocate for the legislation to be implemented in its original form.

Fighting to End Partisan Gerrymandering:

Under the leadership of Rep. John Tanner of Tennessee, the Blue Dog Coalition began to take up the fight against partisan gerrymandering. Rep. Tanner first introduced legislation during the 109th Congress to require states to establish a bipartisan commission to redraw congressional district lines. Members agreed that partisan gerrymandering was driving out moderates from both parties, and, in turn, contributing to the increased partisan gridlock in Congress.

Advocating for Fiscal Responsibility:


Enhancing Economic Growth:


Stregthening our National Security:


Providing a Voice for Rural America: