It looks like the House will consider a one year hike in the debt limit joined to a repeal of the cut to the retirement benefits of the career military that was engineered by House Appropriations Chair Hal Rogers last month and acceded to by a majority of the House GOP. The dumbest move of many dumb moves by the House GOP over many years. The only 6 billion the House GOP took a real stand against borrowing out of 17+ trillion in debt was the $6 billion earned by and owed to the men and women who fought the war. Beltway cluelessness at its flood tide.
Phones and emails erupted in justified anger after the vote, a Twitter hashtag –#KeepYourPromise– flourished, and many House Republicans reeled backwards, amazed that some of their voters would think that changing the terms of military service retroactively for veterans of the past 12 years of war might upset some of their constituents. The Senate voted today 94-0 to move a repeal of the cut forward. Senators run statewide and though hypocrites like Arkansas Mark Pryor were for the cut to military retirement before they were against it, the whole Senate now understands they blew it big time. They are running of cover and asking for forgiveness.
Some GOP House members are threatening to vote against the debt limit hike even with the repeal attached to it. If they are that foolhardy, then they can look forward to being branded as anti-military for as long as they remain in Congress. This will be one of those votes that stick. Unlike the 40+ votes to repeal Obamacare or the past debt limit votes, or any of the shutdown votes, or even the TARP vote, any vote against repeal of the cut for any reason will have an audience that will score it for real –not in a Club for Growth/Heritage/ACU sort of way, but scored in memory and for good. Many Members have already figured out that their vote for the cut in career military retirement benefits deeply offended not just the uniformed military and their families, but also their friends and a vast cross section of Americans who understand the war sacrifices of the past dozen years have been shouldered by a very small percentage of the population and that “budget resolve” at the expense of this group is posturing at best.
It will be a very interesting vote Wednesday night, and I hope every member of the GOP caucus supports repeal every time it is offered to them. Those who refuse to expedite repeal of the cut to the military retirement are gambling again with the earned pay of the military. They might think it is worth the gamble. Many, many voters will only recall that they were willing to put politics and pose ahead of the troops. Not a hard call for a Republican in my view, but we will see.
Democrats say they may vote against anything except a “clean debt limit hike.” Another interesting vote and no doubt many of the anti-military left will think nothing of doing whatever they think the president wants them to do. Again, this vote will be a mark on the permanent record. A “clean debt limn it” versus the real lives of real soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. Go ahead, their GOP opponents must be saying, make their day.
A pox is already on the House members who voted for the cut to begin with, but a double pox will be on those who stand in the way of its repeal. It is that simple, and though I have no doubt some GOPers will talk themselves into that box, they shouldn’t be surprised when very few friends of the military offer to help them out of it in the future.