Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Soldiers Not a Priority w/This Congress

Next week Congress goes on Summer recess, reporting back to the Capital after Labor Day. In an effort to get as much done before the hiatus, it's rushing through a flurry of bills, but unfortunately the critical $491-billion Defense bill isn't one of them. The GOP-controlled Congress clearly has other priorities, like passing a bill which insulates gun manufacturers and dealers from lawsuits stemming from gun crimes. Apparently this is way more important than the wartime spending measure. More important than ensuring that our nation is secure and our military personnel are well-equipped, well-paid, and receiving adequate health care and benefits for themselves and their families. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) decided to shelve the defense bill after fellow GOP'ers, pushing for amendments pertaining to the treatment of detained terror suspects and the closing of certain domestic military bases, failed to give him the needed 60 votes to end debate. The vote was 50-48, with seven Republicans--including John Warner (VA), John McCain (AZ), John Thune (SD) and Lindsey Graham (SC)--joining 40 Dem's and one Indy. Rather than fight it out this week, Frist decided a few more weeks of gravelling and gladhanding might just get him 10 more votes. This is a Republican shitstorm, with self-serving Senators (bases are in their home states) pitted against a stubborn, narrow-minded president who absolutely refuses to budge on how he treats prisoners and protects America. Oddly, Bush is against amendments that define "enemy combatant" and prohibit cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of prisoners in U.S. custody. Am I missing something here? Is Bush pro-torture? Is there some reason not to support these measures? Bush has threatened to veto any defense bill that limits his ability to fight the war on terror. Pretty vague parameters if you ask me. So the bill intended to protect America and care for its military personnel is stalled...and Smith & Wesson and Daisy get a free pass instead. Unf***ingbelievable. Andy

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