The bill provides funds for ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan (remember Afghanistan?), as well as funds for critical upgrades to military bases in Kansas. It also requires that “units should not be deployed for combat unless they are rated ‘fully mission capable’ ” by the Pentagon, that – in accordance with DoD regulations “Army, Army Reserve, and National Guard units should not be deployed for combat beyond 365 days or that Marine Corps and Marine Corps Reserve units should not be deployed for combat beyond 210 days,” and imposes benchmarks to help Congress judge the progress of operations.
Kansas Republicans Todd Tiahrt and Jerry Moran voted against funding Kansas bases and against exercising any Congressional oversight to protect troops. In their honor, I’ve rewritten an old press release from Kris Kobach and the Kansas Republican Party:
Piper, Kansas — Kansas Republican Party Chairman, Kris Kobach, today responded to Republicans Todd Tiahrt and Jerry Moran and their vote to cut funding that would support Fort Riley. Tiahrt and Moran voted with other House Republicans to cut BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) funding as well as funding for soldiers in harm’s way. This money would have been used to “realign” Fort Riley so that it could activating a Brigade Combat Team and accommodate the relocation of units from Germany and Korea to Fort Riley.
According to Kobach, “[Tiahrt and Moran] ha[ve] voted to severely damage the ability for Ft. Riley and other military installations across the country to complete the BRAC process. [They] ha[ve] turned [t]he[i]r back[s] on Ft. Riley and on the thousands of soldiers depending on the funding to finish important projects to complete new construction at Fort Riley.”
“It only took [Tiahrt and Moran] a [single vote] to turn [t]he[i]r back[s] on the people of Kansas and the soldiers of Fort Riley,” Kobach said.
Tiahrt and Moran previously voted not to fund any of the agricultural assistance programs that support Kansas farmers for this fiscal year.
It’s also worth noting that the peanut storage funds which critics are so quick to jump on were unanimously approved by the Appropriations Committee last year as an extension of a program in the 2002 Farm Bill. The 2006 bill never passed into law due to flaws in the Republican leadership at the time. Like other programs stranded because of the 109th Congress’s incompetence, it was added to this later bill in order to ensure that ongoing programs would not go unfunded due to the failed leadership of House Republicans. If Tiahrt was right to approve the funds then, he’s wrong to complain about them now. If his supporters back his principled stand now, where was their outrage last May.