AN INCONVENIENT VOTING RECORD…. Almost immediately after some congressional Republicans started trashing the Obama administration for the failed Abdulmutallab plot, Democrats noted that 108 House Republicans — including Boehner and Pete Hoekstra — opposed funding for the Transportation Security Administration, including money for screening operations and explosives detection systems.
It’s worth noting, however, that it’s not just House Republicans, and it’s not just this year.
Some of the same Republican lawmakers currently criticizing the President for softness on terrorism voted back in July 2007 against legislation that, among other reforms, provided $250 million for airport screening and explosive detection equipment.
The Improving America’s Security Act of 2007 was a relatively non-controversial measure that effectively implemented several un-acted-upon recommendations from the 9/11 Commission. Eighty-five Senators voted in favor of the bill’s passage. Seven missed the vote (several of whom were on the campaign trail, including Barack Obama, John McCain and Chris Dodd).
Eight Republican Senators, however, voted against passage, including Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Tom Coburn (R-Okl.) Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), James Inhofe (R-Okl.) and Jon Kyl (R-Ari.).
Now, those eight far-right senators — which includes, of course, Jim DeMint, who is blocking a vote on the nominee to head the TSA — knew the legislation was going to pass with strong bipartisan support. They also knew it had been endorsed by members of the 9/11 Commission and the Bush administration.
They even knew that the sure-to-pass legislation included key measures on cargo inspection, transportation security, aid to states and local communities, and funding for airport screening and explosive detection equipment.
But they all voted against the Improving America’s Security Act anyway, and never actually explained why. They must have felt pretty strongly about their opposition, though, under the circumstances.
Something to keep in mind the next time DeMint & Co. start claiming the moral high ground on national security issues.