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July 13, 2023 11:39 AM UTC

Republicans Stall Defense Funding Over Pet Issues

  • by: Colorado Pols
This creepy bastard is Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

Democratic members of Colorado’s congressional delegation have joined Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-Denver) in blasting a decision by the Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee to block critical defense and military spending over a dispute about the location of Space Command Headquarters.

Here’s the press release, via the office of Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver):

Today, Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper alongside Colorado U.S. Representatives Joe Neguse, Diana DeGette, Brittany Pettersen, Yadira Caraveo, and Jason Crow released the following statement regarding House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers’ (R-Ala.) decision to not approve Department of Defense (DoD) reprogramming requests, which would support military personnel pay and high-priority defense operations.

“Congressman Mike Rogers has decided to not approve hundreds of millions of dollars for our servicemembers and our nation’s most vital defense programs. This is outrageous.

“This legislative hostage-taking is unconscionable and must stop. [Pols emphasis]

“We urge the Biden Administration to make a final Space Command basing decision and believe that any assessment rooted in national security will keep Space Command in Colorado.”

Chairman Rogers has not approved pending DoD reprogramming requests, which DoD routinely sends to Congress to allow the Department to move funds to key programs within its budget. Rogers’ hold appears to be an effort to pressure the U.S. Air Force to release its basing decision for U.S. Space Command’s headquarters.

Sens. John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet are not amused by Republicans holding military funding hostage.

One of former President Donald Trump’s final official acts in the White House was to begin the process of moving Space Command HQ from its temporary home in Colorado Springs to Huntsville, Alabama — a move that Trump has regularly explained to have been a political favor for the likes of Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville (more on Tuberville in a moment). There has been a lot of talk about President Biden perhaps pushing to maintain Space Command HQ in Colorado Springs, which has made Republicans representing Alabama pretty salty.

As Caitlyn Kim reports for Colorado Public Radio, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers apparently has no problem squeezing the entire Air Force budget in order to get his way:

The Air Force is facing a funding shortfall that could prevent some of the summer moves for personnel, known as a permanent change of station, as well as delay some reenlistment bonuses. [Pols emphasis]

Any airman who doesn’t have PCS orders by Aug. 1 may see their moves delayed. The Air Force is also suspending the elective reenlistment bonus program for the time being.

As of 2021, there were just over 9,300 active duty Air Force personnel in Colorado…

…Usually when a service faces funding issues, they can submit a request to Congress, asking for approval from the appropriations subcommittees dealing with Defense, as well as the armed service committees, to move funds around. It is usually approved.

But according to a source familiar with the situation, DOD requests to move money around are still pending action by Congress. [Pols emphasis]

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL)

As we noted on Tuesday, Sen. Tuberville has been holding up military promotions for months because he thinks the U.S. armed forces should be nicer to white supremacists.

Seriously, that’s a real sentence.

Just this week, Tuberville took more national criticism for his ongoing refusal to condemn white supremacists in general.

Things have gotten so out of hand now that House Republicans may even hold up the entire National Defense Authorization Act over complaints about service members being allowed to travel out of state for abortion care. Via POLITICO:

In the latest twist on the must-pass Pentagon legislation drama, the House will vote later Thursday on a major provision relating to President Joe Biden’s policy on reimbursing costs of travel for service members’ abortions. That vote is expected to be so tight that even House GOP leaders aren’t predicting the outcome.

If that provision passes, McCarthy will lose virtually all Democratic support, forcing his leadership team to lean solely on the GOP conference to pass the bill through the House. And with just a five-vote margin, McCarthy is already working intensely to avoid possible conservative defections, spending Thursday morning trying to smooth over ongoing internal spats…

…Abortion isn’t the only tough debate Republicans will wade into on the sweeping Pentagon bill. The House will also take up issues related to race, climate change and transgender troops in the latest round of votes coming. If any of those amendments make it onto the bill, it would likely alienate most if not all Democratic support.

The latest push for votes on conservative proposals reflects the challenges McCarthy faces after striking a deal with his right-wing detractors over how to address their priorities that, if adopted, could chase away Democratic votes needed to pass the National Defense Authorization Act. [Pols emphasis]

This is what a narrow Republican majority in the House of Representatives has wrought: Unnecessary military spending delays, the potential loss of Space Command HQ in Colorado Springs, and imperiling the National Defense Authorization Act because of issues of race, abortion, climate change, and LGBTQ rights.

We say it all the time, folks: Elections matter.


7 thoughts on “Republicans Stall Defense Funding Over Pet Issues

  1. "we say it all the time, elections matter."

    Speaker McCarthy and his leadership team continue to thank the voters of Long Island for their "wise decision" in electing Rep. George Santos (R-NY) last November. Not only did the GOP get a key vote for their slim majority, but the House Republican Caucus got their very own drag queen. 


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