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Defense Sec'y Austin Delivers Remarks At Ukraine Defense Contact Group Meeting

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks during a virtual meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group on July 18, 2023, at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. | Source: Win McNamee / Getty

Another day, another instance of GOP lawmakers playing around in everyone’s faces by using their positions of power to turn right-wing political ideology into legislation. These people simply do not take their jobs seriously. They are unserious.

On Wednesday, House Republicans approved a measure to cut the salary of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin down to $1 because they are purporting to be dissatisfied with the job he’s been doing. As Military Times noted, it’s not a measure that will likely ever be signed into law. It won’t become law, not just because it’s beyond ridiculous to think the way to make America safer is to make sure the man tasked with making America safer is being paid less than the cost of peanuts—it’s just very obviously a political stunt.

From the Times:

As part of debate on the fiscal 2024 defense appropriations bill, GOP lawmakers approved multiple similar proposals to cut salaries for Defense Department positions they dislike.

The Pentagon’s director of diversity and inclusion, the head of the department’s equity and inclusion office, the military’s chief diversity officer, and the assistant secretary of defense for readiness — a transgender woman — were all targeted with amendments that would trim their annual salary to less than $1.

Austin, as Biden’s top civilian military leader, was lambasted by Republican lawmakers on the House floor Wednesday for the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, the military’s recent recruiting shortfalls and COVID-19 vaccine policies during the pandemic.

So, first, we’re to believe the GOP, which is vehemently anti-DEI and anti-Trans, isn’t playing political “Go Fish” with their legislative votes and are, instead, doing their jobs to protect America? We’re to believe this isn’t an ideological move, and the anti-DEI haters and anti-LGBTQ bigots just so happen to also be going after the salaries of DEI and transgender Pentagon officials?

“Many Americans agree: We do not want the United States’ military led by failure, causing us to be weak,” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green, who sponsored the amendment, said. “We need to pass this amendment.”

Well, now it all makes sense. It’s a Marjorie Taylor Greene thing. This is the same legislator who called for an arbitrary and vindictive investigation against Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, not because Greene has any evidence that Willis has done anything wrong, but because Willis is prosecuting Donald Trump under RICO with plenty of evidence that he and 18 others had done plenty wrong. At some point, Republicans need to admit all MTG does as a House representative is use her position as a larger platform for her only real job: Making things up.

This is a made-up amendment for largely made-up military grievances that happen to perfectly line up with Republicans’ anti-Democrat talking points, which rarely come accompanied by significant substance. And again, for the woman who made up her own false critical race theory definition and fictional “diversity” budget for Illinois schools, and likely made up an imaginary Black friend named “African-American Muhammad,” this kind of abuse of legislative power is just par for the course, as it has been for Republican legislators in general.

Remember when 147 Republican legislators voted to overturn a legal election based on Trump’s “big lie”? This is just more of that. You know how GOP lawmakers across red-state America have signed anti-CRT laws without demonstrating any knowledge of what CRT is or isn’t? This is just more of that.

But while the aforementioned political legislating can and does result in real and dangerous consequences, this motion to decrease Austin’s pay from more than $221,000 per year to $1 is just silly.

“You may disagree with the administration’s policies, as we all have done over the years with different administrations. But Secretary Austin has done nothing to merit this,” said Rep. Betty McCollumn, (D-Minnesota), and ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee’s defense panel. “There’s no need for us to make such a personal, drastic attack by eliminating his pay.”

Speaking of anti-CRT Republicans, it shouldn’t be lost on anyone that MTG is doing her latest bout of political posturing at the literal expense of America’s first Black defense secretary.

Anyway, according to the Times, the House is expected to vote on the full defense spending bill later this week. The Times also noted that “even if it passes, a government shutdown starting Sunday remains likely, since House Republicans continue to disagree with Senate Democratic leaders over federal spending levels for a short-term government funding bill.”

That’s the U.S. government at work, good people. The greatest country on Earth, amirite?


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