Republicans Play Politics With Defense Spending Bill

Oh the left is up in arms! The Defense Appropriations Bill is before the Senate and it is usually a bill that passes quickly but Republicans are using legal procedural tactics to delay the vote on the bill. The reason for this is obvious, they want to take up time with this bill to delay getting to the health care bill. This is perfectly acceptable and in no way harms the troops.

The bill had a cloture vote at 0100 this morning and Democrats got enough votes for cloture. They then immediately asked for the bill to be voted on but at least one Republican objected. This means there will be 30 hours of debate on the bill and it will be voted on Saturday morning at 0730. The defense funding ends at midnight but the delay to Saturday morning will not affect anything in defense.

The Republicans are smart to require all procedures to be followed and to use up time. If they can keep prolonging the health care debate by using parliamentary procedures and as long as it does not hurt the troops, which it does NOT, then it is OK.

Democrats are indignant about all of this and want to know how Republicans can do this to the troops. These guys have short memories and seem to forget all the times they opposed troop funding and delayed defense bills. The White House site is scolding the Republicans and using quotes from Republicans that were used in the past to oppose delaying funding the troops:

“Playing politics with the critical funding that our troops need now is political theater of the worst kind.” – Sen. John Cornyn, [Press Release, 4/26/07]
“We have plenty of time and plenty of opportunity to have political debates… but it’s just unconscionable to me to tie the hands of the very troops that we all say we support.” – Sen. John Cornyn, [Transcript, Senate Republican News Briefing, 4/10/07]
“Every day we don’t fund our troops is a day their ability to fight this war is weakened.” – Sen. Mitch McConnell, [Press Release, 3/31/07]
“No way to treat the troops, and it is entirely inconsistent with [Senators’] expressions of support for the troops.” – Sen. Mitch McConnell, [Congressional Record, 10/4/07]
“I don’t understand this attitude of, ‘We can play with; we can risk the lives of these troops by waiting until the last possible minute to get the funding to them.” – Sen. Jon Kyl, [FOX News Transcript, 4/10/07]
“Our obligation to those troops must transcend politics.” – Sen. Jon Kyl, [Press Release, 11/8/07]

All of these quotes were in response to Democrat opposition or delay with regard to troop funding bills. This list of quotes proves that Democrats were guilty of the very thing they are now acting high and mighty about. If Democrats were not guilty of the same thing in the past then these quotes would not exist.

The truth is that when the time for debate is over the bill will pass and all the Republicans will vote for it. They are just using all the time allotted for the debate.

Democrats act as if this delay will be the end of the world. When Obama took 90 days to decide on the troop request for Afghanistan the Democrats said he was deliberative and could not rush into a decision. Republicans use the 30 hours allotted for debate and they are the ones delaying the troops and causing harm.

Another point of contention in this bill is that Democrats added a “doc fix” to it. This is a non defense item that will raise the reimbursement to doctors under Medicare. This does not belong in the Defense bill but it was put in so it would be assured of passage. Putting it here rather than in the appropriations for Medicare allows Congress to hide the true cost of Medicare. This will go against defense when it really pays for Medicare. This is one of the accounting tricks I discussed in the past. The cost of Medicare is much higher than reported because of things like this, which happen every year.

This is the bill that Democrats wanted to add a 1.9 trillion dollar provision to raise the debt ceiling. They could have put it in the appropriate appropriations bill but were afraid they would not get cloture so they were going to put it in the defense bill where they knew they would. It was not added because of other concerns including demands for a balanced budget. If it had been added then I would have expected all Republicans to vote against it.

They would still get a defense bill and fast but it would be without the debt ceiling provision.

In any event, it is the Democrats who are playing politics with the defense bill. They wanted to use it to slip the debt ceiling provision in and they have included the “doc fix” both of which are political issues. Let’s get it clear, the only reason this is in the defense bill is because it will pass that way and so they can hide the true cost of Medicare. The impact on our debt does not change but they can hide the true cost of the Medicare program.

This is what they will do every year if health care overhaul is passed. They will put anything that adds to the cost in other bills to hide the cost and the deficit will continue to increase while they lie about why.

The bottom line is, regardless of all the grandstanding being done by Democrats, the bill will pass and the Republicans will vote for it. It will not hurt the troops or defense.

The Republicans are within their right to use the procedures and they did so. If the Democrats wanted this voted on before the deadline then they should have introduced it earlier. The delay is all their fault and it is a failure of leadership.

At least Republicans are doing things legally. The Democrats stopped the reading of an amendment this week and did so in complete violation of Senate rules. They just decided they were going to stop it and allow the sponsor to withdraw the amendment. This is a violation of Senate rules but that did not bother the Democrats.

Yet when Republicans use the rules the Democrats get upset.

The hypocrisy makes me sick.

I do love it though. This forces them to commute to the Senate chamber in the huge snowstorm that is heading toward DC.

How appropriate considering the snow job the Democrats are involved in.

Big Dog

Gunline

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