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New Coalition Further Splinters Democrats

Twenty-three conservative House Democrats, insisting they are not angry or about to become Republicans, said Tuesday they are banding together to tone down extreme ideas from both parties and become “a force that will have to be reckoned with.”

Members of the new group, named simply The Coalition, say they will stake out independent, common-sense positions on issues ranging from welfare reform to a capital gains tax cut and even may propose their own federal budget.

Conservative Democrats have made no secret of their unhappiness with the House Democratic leadership. The new group further splinters a party already being pulled in many different directions after losing control of both the House and the Senate in a devastating election last November.

But members of The Coalition took pains Tuesday to knock down the idea that they are repudiating their leaders or their party.

“This is not the first step in a conspiracy to register as Republicans,” said Rep. Gary Condit, D-Calif. “We want to be constructive. We’re not angry. We’re not hostile.”

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