Thursday, April 05, 2007

Kline's Lack of Support for Veterans?

One of the more vocal questions posed to John Kline (R MN) during the recent open forum held in Lakeville this week was from someone who questioned Kline's lack of legislative support to veterans. Naturally Kline took exception to this as he's a big macho military man...but the facts speak for themselves: The sheer number of bills related to national security or helping America's Veterans that were voted down by the Republicans while they had control of both house and senate with no substitute measures of their own is simply startling. Kline voted along side the GOP in defeating most of these measures without offering any alternative legislation to address the needs of our troops, veterans and their families.

Here's a complete list from Bob Geiger of what Kline and the GOP has done to our Armed Services and our Veterans. Keep in mind we're talking the 109th Congress shooting down of 207 out of 283 pieces of Democratic-sponsored legislation. The number of bills that related to national security and America's Veterans among the voted down legislation is staggering:
  • Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI) proposed S.Amdt. 3007 to "increase Veterans medical services funding by $1.5 billion in FY 2007 to be paid for by closing corporate tax loopholes." It was voted down 46-54 with every Republican including John Kline voting NO... Lincoln Chaffee (R RI)was the sole Republican voting for it.
  • S.Amdt. 3141, was proposed by Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) to provide for Veterans benefits that steadily increased over time to account for both inflation and the large number of troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Stabenow's bill was rejected 46-54 -- probably because she stipulated that it be "paid for by restoring the pre-2001 top rate for income over $1 million, closing corporate tax loopholes and delaying tax cuts for the wealthy.". Naturally Kline voted to keep loopholes for the wealthy and deny benefits for the troops.
  • John Kerry (D-MA) who has consistently been a Veterans advocate, proposed S.Amdt. 3143, to keep medical-care fees and co-pays from going up on military retirees, only to see it shot down by the Republican majority.
  • Two measures by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) -- S. Amdt. 4999 and S.Amdt. 3054 -- were proposed to provide additional funding to increase inspections at America's shipping ports and to improve the security of cargo containers destined for the United States. Both were killed on party line votes that saw only Jim Talent (R-MO) cross the aisle to vote with Democrats on one of the bills.
  • Chuck Schumer (D-NY) introduced S.Amdt. 4587, to boost transit security funding in major cities by $300 million and saw it rejected by the Republican majority.
  • America's firefighters had a friend in Chris Dodd (D-CT) who proposed S.Amdt. 4641 in July " fund urgent priorities for our Nation's firefighters, law enforcement personnel, emergency medical personnel," but saw it go down on the Senate floor because he proposed paying for it "by reducing the tax breaks for individuals with annual incomes in excess of $1,000,000" -- obviously the kiss of death in Kline's GOP-controlled Congress.
  • Byron Dorgan (D-ND) proposed S.Amdt. 4292, to thoroughly weed out fraud and war profiteering among big Republican donors like Halliburton and had it defeated 44-52, with only one Republican -- Lincoln Chafee again -- siding with Democrats, troops and American taxpayers. Again, Kline calls himself a fiscal conservative but voted like a war profiteer on this one!

And it goes on and on from there… Kline can say he's a military man and therefore supports the military but his voting record tells another story...of Kline as an opponent of benefits, goods, training and health for our Veterans. John Kline has all but abandoned his responsibilities to help Veterans and has failed in to performing any oversight on the private war profiteers during his time in office. Instead John Kline has chosen to stand along side of Bush with zero loyalty to Americans, Veterans and their families.

Kline's supporters are quick to question the patriotism of others, but maybe they need to review Representative Kline's voting record. Take away the chest thumping for Kline's military record and expose his voting record on National Security, Veteran affairs, and troop benefits, leaves only a hollow shell of an old wash and wear uniform with a handful of medals...

These are the reasons Kline has received a 0% rating from Disabled American Veterans (DAV) in 2004 and 2005 and continues to have his lack of support for our troops, our veterans, and their families called into question.

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