Remember Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-4)? The one who thinks China is spying on Grandmom and Grandpop via microchips implanted in our toasters? Well in late June this intellectual marvel was appointed by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to the House-Senate conference committee charged with resolving differences over the FY2016 National Defense Authorization Act. Boehner’s outline of the bill under question and the issues it raises:
“The House passed a strong defense bill that promises the pay raise and benefits our troops have earned and provides the tools, resources, and authorities they need to keep America safe. It is unfortunate that Democrats, who overwhelmingly backed the measure in committee, withdrew their support to extract more government spending on bureaucracies like the EPA and the IRS. It is even more disappointing that President Obama has threated to veto these promises to our troops in support of his party’s dangerously misguided strategy. I am, nevertheless, encouraged that we have reached the next step in advancing this critical legislation, and I am confident that this agreement will put our national security, and the brave men and women to whom we owe it, first.”
NOTE: In addition to the provisions mentioned above, the House-passed defense bill imposes greater restrictions on transferring terrorist detainees, provides lethal aid to Ukraine, strengthens our missile defense capabilities, enhances our cybersecurity, and more. A summary of the bill is available here.
Pretty important stuff to entrust to a politician who thinks that our appliances are serving up inside info to the Chinese along with our toast. She’s so dedicated to promulgating fear that she advocates against toaster double agents in the kitchen.
To Give Rep. Vicky credit, she’s trying to be responsible and conform to the line the GOP puts out for “respectable” consumption. As evidence that she’s doing her best to show her somewhat less zany colors, we have a more or less adult sounding recent news release about possible cuts to troop strength due to the sequester abut which she opines:
While the impact at Fort Leonard Wood was far less than originally projected, it still reminds us that the defense cuts brought on by sequestration have real-life implications and jeopardize our national security. I have fought time and again to reverse these devastating cuts, helping secure additional funding in this year’s budget-but more needs to be done.
But wait? Perhaps this line isn’t really that grown-up. I hate to break it to Vicky, but the sequester was a GOP idea and was only accepted to avoid the government shut-down disaster many in the GOP were willing to accept if they couldn’t get their way on budget cuts. Something had to be done to divert the fiscal mess that she and her colleagues were driving us toward and Democrats took their share of grief for the greater good.
The sequester, however was a badly constructed compromise that had “real life implications” for far more than the military. One-sided revision of that compromise, revision that mitigates the GOP “give,” is dishonest and wrong. The Republicans should either revisit the entire ugly sequester deal or shut their mouths and take the medicine they bargained for.
Those real-life sequestration implications have been causing major hardships right here in the actual U.S. for civilian (for example, see here and here) as well as for military families, along with the hypothetical and often arguable difficulties for the pork-riddled defense infrastructure that so engages Rep. Hartzler. There is a responsible point of view that takes issue with contentions that the sequester is even part of the DoD mix in any serious way. Maybe Rep. Vicky ought to worry about a few of these considerations before trying to push the paranoia button for her more susceptible constituents.
But should you ever expect nuance and fairness from a mind so acute it believes the Chinese are spying on us through our toasters?
Edited for clarity. Sentence added at end of next to last paragraph and at end of 1st paragraph after 1st quote. (7/10, 4:03 pm).