Kansas City Star. July 28, 2022.
Editorial: Blunt, Hawley and Marshall betray sick veterans because they’re crazy about taxes and the climate law
Three of four US senators from the region decided on Wednesday to hold sick veterans hostage to their own anger. It is appalling and childish.
The senators – Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley of Missouri, and Roger Marshall of Kansas – voted against blocking a filibuster of the PACT Act, a measure designed to provide funding to treat veterans exposed to toxins and outbreaks of combustion.
The bill has been under discussion for years. It would cost about $30 billion a year, a pittance in a multi-billion dollar federal budget. But the cost is less important than the cause: the nation promised to help sick veterans and voted Wednesday to break that promise.
“If you have the courage to send someone to war, then you better have the courage to take care of them when they come home,” Senator Jon Tester of Montana told the Senate, without great effect.
The vote to end the filibuster was 55 yes to 42 no (Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer changed his vote to “no” in order to bring the measure back later.) In the Senate, of course, it takes 60 votes to open a box. bean soup, so the bill didn’t pass, while veterans suffer and die.
The votes should infuriate Kansans and Missourians. All three senators voted for a virtually identical bill in June, which passed overwhelmingly. Blunt even bragged about it: “Blunt is voting in favor of a landmark, bipartisan bill to secure health care and benefits for veterans exposed to toxic substances,” his press release reads.
Why change your mind now?
Here’s a suggestion: Senate Republicans were furious with a budget deal, announced moments earlier, between Schumer and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Manchin agreed to back a budget bill raising corporate taxes to pay for deficit reduction and climate change mitigation.
The tax and budget bill would need a simple majority to pass, not 60 votes. It drove the Republicans crazy.
So let’s be clear: Because Blunt, Hawley and Marshall were angry about a tax and climate bill, they decided to make veterans suffer? It blows the mind.
“How dare they use veterans as bargaining chips,” Senator Patty Murray, a Democrat, said in a tweet.
Comedian and activist Jon Stewart, who came to Kansas City this summer to demand progress on the PACT proposal, was equally furious. “None of these Senators backstabbing veterans should be leaving for the summer until this s (asterisk) (asterisk) (asterisk) is fixed,” he tweeted. “Not one.”
We agree. If you need an accurate picture of why Congress is broken, Wednesday’s vote is as good as any: In a fit of spite over an unrelated compromise, Senate Republicans punished veterans who had trouble breathing.
We should stop here to thank Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas, who was one of eight Republicans to vote for veterans. We commend him for his common sense and hard work for veterans. We want him to share both with his colleagues.
The other three senators are expected to apologize and vote to pass the bill if – when – it comes back to the Senate. If they want to oppose the Schumer-Manchin tax and climate bill on its merits, they are free to do so later.
Until then, Sens. Blunt and Marshall should be barred from any Veterans Day service or Memorial Day observance until the PACT Act is signed into law.
Josh Hawkley? No need to worry. If he sees an upset veteran approaching, he will run the other way.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch. July 30, 2022.
Editorial: Suddenly, in Missouri, McConnell is the epitome of evil among GOP Senate candidates
These times must seem crazy for anyone planning to vote in Tuesday’s Republican primary. Normally, if such a thing ever existed, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell would be portrayed as the hero of the party, the man who single-handedly swung the Supreme Court to the right and achieved the GOP’s primary goal of overturning federal abortion rights. Yet in Missouri, McConnell is seemingly evil incarnate.
It started with former Gov. Eric Greitens’ disgraced attacks on McConnell as the mastermind of the nasty custody battle waged by Greitens’ ex-wife, Sheena. There is not a shred of evidence to support Eric Greitens’ claim of Republican collusion at the highest level to undermine his US Senate campaign. But the attack on McConnell helps distract Missouri Republicans from the elephant in the room: that Greitens is a convicted adulterer and a credibly accused abuser.
Suddenly, Greitens’ two main Republican opponents, Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Representative Vicky Hartzler, decided to adopt his strategy and make McConnell the enemy. The question is whether McConnell should continue as Republican leader in the Senate.
“Mitch McConnell didn’t approve of me, and I don’t approve of him for leadership,” Schmitt bluntly told NBC affiliate KOMU-TV. Schmitt held out hope for weeks that former President Donald Trump, a harsh critic of McConnell, might endorse him. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, reviled even among his GOP colleagues, is among the few top Republicans to endorse Schmitt, who says he would back a Cruz leadership bid.
Hartzler also won’t support McConnell, suggesting he’s being too tasteless. “We need a real Conservative leader who will stand up to Joe Biden and turn things around,” she said. McConnell has backed bipartisan gun legislation, following a series of horrific mass shootings, that offers financial incentives to states that pass red flag laws and other gun safety measures fire. Hartzler called it “bowing down to Chuck Schumer”.
Adding to the confusion, Democrats in other states actively promote the campaigns of the most extreme Republican candidates, believing that extremists would pose such an odious option that GOP moderates would vote for Democrats instead. In Michigan, for example, the Democratic congressional campaign committee spent $435,000 promoting former Trump administration official John Gibbs over Republican incumbent Rep. Peter Meijer. Gibbs (like Cruz) promotes Trump’s big lie that he was stripped of the 2020 presidential election. Meijer was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, making him one good guys who prioritized country over party.
It’s a dangerous game for Democrats, because they need only look at the 2016 result to realize how much assumptions about GOP voting behavior can backfire. And if Republicans think they can do better than McConnell, they would be wise to re-examine his record. Just because McConnell refuses to kiss Trump’s ring or other parts of his anatomy doesn’t negate his solidly conservative accomplishments.
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