Republicans are pouncing on a defense bill passed by the House Thursday that includes a provision expanding the definition of hate crimes.
Congressman Roy Blunt said he voted against the measure because it "contains controversial and unconstitutional hate crimes policy completely unrelated to the defense of the country."
"Creating a new classification of prosecutions based on thought compromises the very freedoms our service men and women fight to protect," Blunt said. "It’s absolutely indefensible that the Defense Authorization Bill, which should fund our troops, is instead being used as a vehicle for controversial social policy," he added.
MODEMS COUNT THE VOTES:
Blunt joined Reps. Todd Akin, Jo Ann Emerson and Sam Graves in voting 'NO'
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer voted 'YES'
"Today, Roy Blunt, Todd Akin, Jo Ann Emerson and Sam Graves chose politics over principle today when they voted against this year’s National Defense Authorization Bill – a bill that includes key funding for America’s military. Missouri Republican Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer and 43 other Republicans voted for the legislation that sets national defense priorities," read the release from the Missouri Democratic Party.
FOLLOWING STOUFFER ---
4th District GOP candidate Vicky Hartlzer issued a statement asking why Congressman Ike Skelton "allowed the misuse of national defense legislation."
"Why would you trade the good will of our young men and women serving in our military in order to pass a radical gay-rights bill on their backs, and behind our backs?," Hartzler asked.
Hartzler's release cites a Sept. 28th statement by Speaker Nancy Pelosi: "I thank Mr. Skelton for his commitment to including the hate crimes prevention provisions in this bill," Pelosi began her remarks.
SKELTON 'LUKEWARM' ABOUT PROVISION:
Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), chair of the House Armed Services Committee, was lukewarm about the inclusion of the hate crimes provision in the defense bill, according to The Washington Blade.
He said he would have preferred that Congress pass a hate crimes measure as a standalone bill, but said the bill protects free speech and includes a provision prohibiting attacks on U.S. troops based on their service. "Whatever one's position on hate crimes, I believe the enormous good in the bill merits support in the House," Skelton said.
Yesterday, Sen. Bill Stouffer, another 4th District candidate, criticized Skelton for supporting "the homosexual agenda."
PLUS: MCCLATCHY ASKS, WHY IKE?
"There is an aura of invincibility that surrounds Skelton," said Dave Wasserman, a congressional analyst for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. "However, if health care and spending and the deficit are on voters' minds in 2010, the election becomes a one-day clearance sale that has nothing to do with Skelton's record."
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