The Ultimate Question : “What were we afraid of ?”
Speaker John Boehner (R-OH-08) said at his weekly Capitol press conference: “The president can talk about it all he wants. I’m going to stay focused on what the American people want us to stay focused on, and that’s jobs.
We’ve got a lot of members who have ideas about what’s important to them and you see those items advance here every day. The American people – they’re concerned about jobs. That’s why you’ve seen us focused here for the last year and a half on jobs and cutting spending, because our debts and our deficits are like a wet blanket hanging over our economy. So we’re going to continue to stay focused on what the American people want us to stay focused on.”
OK … we get it … Jobs is the focus … spending gotta be watched … but there are a “lot of members who have ideas about what’s important to them”.
Speaker Boehner meet Todd Akin .. a Republican from Missouri’s Second District who today sits on the House Armed Services Committee but this November, he would like to be elected to the Senate.
The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) is drafting the defense authorization bill … so while spending (investing in our defense) should be the focus (not protecting the military contractors like Boeing that Mr. Akin represents), Mr. Akin was amending the appropriations with his “ideas”.
By a vote of 36-25, Mr. Akin’s amendment was approved … it protects the religious freedom of military chaplains as well as the conscience and moral principals of servicemembers who are opposed to gay military members but feel pressured to hide their opposition due to fears of recrimination.
“This is trying to protect the ability of people to have their own opinion,” Akin said.
By a vote of 37 Republicans and 24 Democrats, HASC voted to pass an amendment offered by Steve Palazzo (R-MS-04) that would prevent same-sex marriages or “marriage-like ceremonies” from being held on any military installation or any property used by the Department of Defense (DoD).
A statement from Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network responded to the amendments :
“Mr. Akin is trying to solve a problem that does not exist. There are already in place adequate protections for chaplains and service members in this area. No one in uniform is being required to go against their conscience, and no one is being punished for expressing their personal religious beliefs. The alleged cases of abuse or bad judgment that Mr. Akin likes to reference have not been investigated or proven to be factual. So, let’s get to the heart of the matter. Mr. Akin and a few others wish to weaken implementation of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal. The Pentagon, Congress, and the American people have spoken on this, and Mr. Akin simply doesn’t like the outcome.
The Department of Defense has already made it clear – and appropriately so – that decisions about the use of facilities should be made on a sexual orientation neutral basis. This is yet another attempt by a few opponents of military equality who are looking to turn the clock back on progress and relegate gay and lesbian service members to second-class status.”
Mr. Akin’s amendments are discussed on the Army Times website … and the comments are quite insightful (including some by people who identify themselves as chaplains.)
Meanwhile, in a press conference discussing a variety of subjects including the repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, “I have not found any negative effect on good order and discipline,” concurring with Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s assessment that everything is “going very well” so far. Panetta said the change in Don’tAskDon’tTell “is not impacting on morale, it’s not impacting on unit cohesion, it’s not impacting on readiness.
“Very frankly,” he added, “the military has moved beyond it.”
“What were we afraid of?” asked Dempsey.
General Dempsey has asked the ultimate question … one that Republicans have no answer for.
Further, a survey published in Military Times reported that impact of changes in DADT policy is insignificant with a sizable majority of respondents stating that it has had no impact on their performance.
Remarkably, Republicans normally proclaim that military leadership and or rank/and/file imput is being ignored, yet in this instance, it’s House Republicans that pushing their own “ideas”.
Minnesota’s lone member of the House Armed Services Committee, John Kline (R-MN-02) has opposed repealing the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell legislation and has written in support of Mr. Akin’s efforts.
The reality is that John Boehner may want the voters to think they are concentrating on Jobs, but it is clear that there is an ongoing effort to deny military jobs for homosexuals.
Although, the “the military has moved beyond it”, some have not.
The voters will have a chance to weign in on Election Day … Todd Akin and John Kline may promote the Jobs issue in their campaigns, but once elected it will be a return to pushing their “ideas”.