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Rep. Curt Clawson Nails The Bribery In The Defense Bill

Curt Clawson

We endorsed outsider Rep. Curt Clawson (FL-19) in the hard fought Special Election in which Republican establishment leaders threw everything but the kitchen sink at him to try to hand the nomination to their handpicked candidate state Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto.

Clawson has rarely disappointed us since he got to Congress (although he did get suckered on the Yoho immigration bill along with 215 other Republicans) and he was especially in line with our thinking on the recent National Defense Authorization Act.

In explaining his “NO” vote Clawson said he couldn't support a program to extend the training and equipping of “moderate” Syrian Muslim fighters for two more years.

"For the same reason I opposed it in September, I do not believe this strategy will end the turmoil in Iraq and Syria," he said in a statement released by his office. "History has also shown that when we arm untested allies, like the Syrian rebels, those weapons too often end up being aimed at our allies, including Israel. Even worse, these weapons are often aimed at Americans on future battlefields."

Clawson was exactly correct on that front, but what really got our attention and drew cheers from the CHQ editorial office was this statement:

“More gamesmanship, including a huge federal land grab in the NDAA, is unacceptable.  We have got to stop adding things into bills just to get votes from certain members.”

As we observed last week, the NDAA has now turned into Santa’s gift bag for retiring and defeated members of Congress and has swept-in any number of provisions which deal with public lands that would likely never pass in the about-to-be-sworn-in 114th Congress.

"This legislative practice -- tying together unrelated provisions to secure votes for bad policy -- is so frequent that Washington has a nickname for it: logrolling," said Heritage Action CEO Mike Needham and the Heritage Foundation's Steven Bucci in a blog post. "These measures have no place in a defense authorization bill and serve only to politicize and muddle the debate over the most important constitutional role that the federal government has: providing for the common defense."

The House version of the NDAA is a return to the bad old days of how Republican leaders did things in the waning days of the George W. Bush administration in which legislators were openly (but legally) bribed for their votes for bad policies that would have never seen the light of day had they been handled in regular order.

And that kind of “leadership” through legal bribery was a major contributor to the massive defeat Capitol Hill Republicans suffered in 2006 – a defeat that handed over control of the House to the Democrats led by San Francisco liberal Nancy Pelosi.

Curt Clawson and the 31 other Republicans who voted “NO” on the NDAA got it right, but the fact that the bill was brought up at all, and strongly supported by the House leadership, shows that the present GOP leadership team led by Speaker Boehner is intent on taking Republicans backward toward the days of earmarks, legalized bribery and Big Government Republicanism, not forward toward governing according to limited government constitutional principles.

Senators Ted Cruz and Tom Coburn have vowed to fight the NDAA in the Senate. We urge you to contact your Senators (the Capitol switchboard is 1-866-220-0044) and urge them to join Coburn and Cruz in opposing the legal bribery in the NDAA.

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