What a disgrace. Some Democrat has placed a sneaky hold on the Semper Fi Act, giving Code Pink at least a temporary victory and giving Berkeley at least a temporary reprieve from the consequences of blocking the Marines from recruiting in Berkeley. According to a statement from Sen. DeMint’s office:
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) made the following statement in response to the decision by the City Council of Berkeley, California not to apologize to the Marine Corps and their families and reaffirming their support for radical anti-war protestors to “impede” military recruiters from conducting their work.
Senator DeMint introduced the Semper Fi Act to rescind over $2 million in hidden earmarks for Berkeley, California in the Fiscal Year 2008 Omnibus Appropriations bill, and transfer the funds to the Marine Corps. Until yesterday, Senate Democrat leaders used parliamentary maneuvers to block consideration of the bill. Last night, Republicans asked to pass the Semper Fi Act by unanimous consent after no Republican member opposed its passage, but Democrats have placed an anonymous hold on the bill.
“It’s a national embarrassment that these officials refuse to apologize to our troops and their families and continue to support actions against military recruitment. It’s time for Berkeley to realize that actions have consequences,” said Senator DeMint. “Americans across the nation are outraged at Berkeley’s insult to our troops who have fought and died for their ability to live in freedom. It’s truly heartening to hear the outpouring of support for the Marine Corps in South Carolina and throughout the nation.”
Berkeley City Council members voted to rescind a letter to the Marine Corps recruitment office asking them to leave town, but left in place a provision that encourages “all people to avoid cooperation with the Marine Corps recruiting station, and applaud residents and organizations such as Code Pink” that “impede, passively or actively” the work of military recruiters. Berkeley also voted against a formal apology to the Marine Corps and will still allow Code Pink a special parking space in front of the recruitment office to conduct weekly protests.
“Let’s be clear, it’s not a question of the sincerity of anyone on either side of this issue. However, some of the hateful rhetoric and official actions against the Marine Corps that have come out of Berkeley has had real consequences on our troops, their families, and our recruiting,” said Senator DeMint.
The bill is cosponsored by 10 senators including Republican leaders Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and John Cornyn (R-Texas). U.S. Congressman John Campbell (R-California) introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives and now has 71 cosponsors, including Republican leaders John Boehner (R-Ohio), Roy Blunt (R-Missouri), and nine other members of the California delegation.
“In Saddam Hussein’s Iraq or the Taliban’s Afghanistan, such opposition would not be allowed a voice at all. But thankfully we live in a free democracy under the protection of our brave Marines. Protestors have the right to vocally insult our troops but patriotic Americans also have the right to seek a democratic response to discourage activities that actively impede the legitimate functions of our military.”
“I will continue to work with my Senate colleagues to stop the special taxpayer favors Berkeley has received through unnecessary earmarks,” said Senator DeMint.
One Berkeley earmark provides $243,000 in taxpayer dollars for the organization Chez Panisse to create gourmet organic school lunches in the Berkeley School District. Another earmark would spend $975,000 in taxpayer dollars for the University of California, to create a new endowment and cataloging the papers of Congressman Robert Matsui. U.C. Berkeley already has a $3.5 billion endowment.
Will any reporter assigned to either the Clinton or Obama campaign ask what either of those candidates for Commander in Chief think about Berkeley’s shameful actions or DeMint’s reponse? Of course not. This entire episode is disgraceful on the part of Code Pink, the city of Berkeley and the Democrats in Congress. And the media, for failing to cover it.
Update (AP): Hey, it’s the thought that counts, right?
While initially apparently unaware of the Berkeley City Council’s action, when informed, Reid said: “Well if they said that, I am disappointed. The Marine Corps should be welcome in any place in the United States.”
Update (Bryan): Yeah, Reid said that yesterday, before the anonymous hold was put on the bill and after he had tried the adjournment trick to stall it. It’s not what you say but what you do that defines you, Harry.
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