Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Senate Dems Threatened to Block the NDAA. Guess How Many Actually Followed Through.

As I've written before, Congressional Republicans have decided to evade sequestration caps for the military budget by moving $38 billion into the Overseas Contingency Operations fund, the Pentagon's slush fund.

For the past couple of weeks, Senate Democrats have been threatening to "filibuster" (vote against cloture for) the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) if Republicans keep up with this gimmick.

Here's an article in POLITICO from June 3rd about the Senate Democrats' NDAA strategy:
On Tuesday, the party did not force a procedural vote to start work on the National Defense Authorization Act, but Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) warned that Democrats still may filibuster the defense bill if their demands aren’t met.
“We have grave concerns about this bill,” Reid said. “Unless it’s changed, I repeat, the president will veto it, and I hope there is some significant changes in the bill while it’s here on the floor so that we can help vote to get it off the floor.”
Several Democrats responded that they have to take a stand against what they consider a GOP budgeting gimmick.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), who voted against the NDAA during committee markup, told POLITICO Tuesday he is pushing his colleagues to block the bill on the floor “because of the budgetary fakery.” And Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said it’d be “very hard for me to vote for an NDAA that takes money out of the OCO fund without some guarantee that we’re going to address sequestration in other parts of the budget.”
That cloture vote was today. And guess how many members of the Democratic caucus actually voted against it?


The vote was 83 to 15. Two Republicans--Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rand Paul (R-KY)--were the only Republicans to vote against cloture.

Here are the 13 members of the Democratic caucus who should be thanked for having a spine:

Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Bob Casey (D-PA)
Al Franken (D-MN)
Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Pat Leahy (D-VT)
Joe Manchin (D-WV)
Ed Markey (D-MA)
Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Harry Reid (D-NV)
Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Ron Wyden (D-OR)

Earlier today, the Senate voted down an amendment by Joni Ernst (R-IA) to provide direct military aid to the Kurds in Iraq. The White House opposed the amendment, arguing that directly funding a militia group would undermine the already lacking legitimacy of the Iraqi government.

The vote was 54 to 45, falling six votes short of the 60-vote threshold.

8 Democrats joined 46 Republicans in voting for it. Here are those 8:

Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
Joe Manchin (D-WV)
Gary Peters (D-MI)
Brian Schatz (D-HI)
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Ron Wyden (D-OR)

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