Provide For The Common Defense? Hardly.
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." It seems the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Bill is worse than a political football. It's being treated like a grenade. Literally. The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives on April 29, by a handsome 249-175 margin, was introduced into the Senate by none other than Ted Kennedy, and co-sponsored by 43 other Senators on April 28. They've had two full months to get this bill up and ready and passed. It actually was a White House priority. Then, nothing. All quiet on the western front, as it were. Then, the DOJ's DOMA bomb, and the next thing we hear is the Hate Crimes Bill is getting attached to a tourism bill. Gays were justifiably outraged at the symbolism. But a bill is a bill and symbolism is symbolism and we'll take a win on this however we can get it. But just hours ago we learned the the U.S. Senate has attached the bill to the Defense Authorization Bill. Sounds, good, right? Well, no. If you follow the news, you'll know that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates - who was also Secretary of Defense under Bush 43 - has been adamantly against appropriating funds for the F-22 Raptor fighter, an outdated program that the DOD and White House say is unnecessary. Last year, similarly, as The Washington Independent reported,
"But appeasing constituents with ties to the defense industry may have something to do with the F-22 spending increase. The plane is made by Lockheed Martin, as well as Pratt & Whitney, in Connecticut and Georgia. And Connecticut Rep. Rose DeLauro (D-Conn.) and two congressman from Georgia, Rep. Jim Marshall (D-Ga.) and Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), were among the group of lawmakers that earmarked the extra F-22 money."And there you have it. The Hate Crimes Bill is attached to The Defense Authorization Bill. The Defense Authorization Bill passed the House today, by a 389-22 vote. It goes to the Senate then to President Obama. President Obama, along with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates do not want to waste money on programs we don't need. Each Raptor costs approximately $140 million dollars. The House bill includes an additional $1.75 billion for the Raptors. But here's the real kicker: President Obama has threatened to veto any bill that comes to his desk with funding for the F-22 Raptors. So, assuming all goes as planned, our Democratic-controlled Congress will pass the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Bill but attach it to the Defense Authorization Bill and President Obama will veto it and go down in history as soft on defense and soft on crime. And soft on gay rights. The obvious question is, with friends like these...
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