Republicans So Mad About Dems' Climate Bill They're Going To Punch Veterans In The Throat!
Good morning! It's Friday, a day that ends in "Y," so Republicans are being ignorant sumbitches. AGAIN!
Yesterday they showed their deep commitment to supporting the troops by blocking a bill to extend medical care to veterans exposed to toxic burn pits. Troops in Afghanistan and Iraq have suffered longterm health and respiratory symptoms after inhaling smoke produced from burning trash as well as from chemicals like Agent Orange.
This shit isn't complicated: The collective "we" put those troops there, and we need to pony up the cash to take care of them if they were injured on the job. And indeed, Republicans understood this perfectly well in June when the Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2021, AKA the Honoring Our PACT Act, passed the Senate by an 84-14 margin. Two weeks ago it sailed out of the House on a 342-88 vote, headed back to the Senate for a procedural vote to correct a technical discrepancy.
But then Senator Joe Manchin decided that he'd play ball on the budget reconciliation bill after all, salvaging some piece of Democrats' climate change and healthcare agenda, if only we'd lard it up with goodies for him and call it the "Inflation Reduction Act." And suddenly Republicans remembered that they have serious questions about a bill they supported six weeks ago.
THAT CAN'T BE RIGHT: Suddenly Joe Manchin's Playing Ball On Climate, Healthcare, Taxes?
So now only five Senate Republicans can support the bill to take care of our veterans, with 25 Republicans who'd previously voted for it voting now against it. Fifty-five yes votes means it's not enough to break the filibuster, which was once rare but is now the rule. Yay for American democracy, where a minority party gets a massive advantage in the upper house and can veto legislation at will!
Senator Pat Toomey is retiring, so perhaps that's why Minority Leader Mitch McConnell let him run point on this disgusting ploy to gum up the works and punish Democrats for governing like the majority party.
"My concern about this bill has nothing to do with the purpose of the bill," Toomey said, insisting that the issue is a "budgetary gimmick" which “would authorize $400 billion over the next 10 years of existing spending … to be switched from discretionary to mandatory.”
But Democrats weren't having it.
“This is total bullshit. This is the worst form of politicization I’ve literally ever seen. This is total BS. We had the votes," Senator Kirsten Gillibrand fumed at a press conference yesterday. “We had strong bipartisan support for this bill. And at the eleventh hour, Sen. Toomey decides that he wants to rewrite the bill, change the rules and tank it. How he convinced 25 of his colleagues to change their vote, I have no idea. I mean, what the hell!”
Comedian Jon Stewart, who championed this bill for years, doggedly showing up in Congress to testify and putting the full weight of his celebrity behind it, was furious.
"So ain't this a bitch," he said. "America's heroes, who fought in our wars, sweating their asses off outside with oxygen, while these motherfuckers sit in the air conditioning, walled off from any of it. They don't have to hear it. They don't have to see it. They don't have to understand that these are human beings."
\u201cHaven\u2019t watched a 10 minute clip on twitter in forever but I watched every second of this and you should too. @jonstewart is a gifted activist. \u201d— Jason Kander (@Jason Kander) 1659031366
“The Senate is where accountability goes to die. These people don’t care," he added, calling Toomey a "fucking coward."
The Senate Republicans with a shred of common decency in this particular case were Boozman, Capito, Graham, Grassley, Hoeven, Moran, and Rubio. (Vote roll call here.)
Let's be real fuckin' clear here: The people in that second group, particularly the ones like Sasse, Portman, Cassidy, and Blunt who like to play "the grown up in the room," aren't pissed about budgetary gimmicks. They're pissed because Manchin gave Joe Biden a political win, and they're taking it out on veterans.
At least Susan Collins, who's now threatening to blow up the deal to protect gay and interracial marriage from the civil rights bonfire at the Supreme Court, has the bloody decency to be honest about what she's doing.
“I just think the timing could not have been worse and it came totally out of the blue,” she told HuffPost, warning that the agreement to get 10 Republicans (thanks, filibuster!) to repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act and codify protections for gay and interracial marriage was endangered by Manchin and Schumer's budget deal.
“After we just had worked together successfully on gun safety legislation, on the CHIPs bill, it was a very unfortunate move that destroys the many bipartisan efforts that are under way,” she warbled.
Sorry about your civil rights, kids. The GOP would love to make sure your marriage remains legal, but those dastardly Dems tried to use their power to lower drug prices for seniors, so now they'll just throw your fate to SCOTUS and whatever depredations those power-mad lunatics in robes can scrounge up five votes for.
The will to power is strong with these people. The will to govern, not so much. Basic human decency, not at all.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.