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Tuesday, August 23, 2022
MRC In Defense Mode Over GOP Flip-Flop On Veterans Bill
Topic: Media Research Center

When Senate Republicans blocked a bill that would expand benefits for veterans would had been exposed to toxic environments while serving -- purportedly over a dispute over a funding mechanism despite having previously supporting the bill on a previous vote, though it may have been more beause the Republicans were throwing a fit that Democrats reached an agreement with Sen. Joe Manchin on a completely different bill -- the Media Research Center had to rush into defense mode, especially after former "Daily Show" host and longtime veterans advocate Jon Stewart excoriated the Republicans for the flip-flop. Alex Christy spent an Aug. 2 post complaining that Stephen Colbert called out the flip-flop and insisting Republicans had a perfectly good reason for doing so:

On Monday’s installment of The Late Show on CBS, host Stephen Colbert flipped off Republicans for voting against the PACT Act, alleging they oppose health care for veterans solely to get back at Democrats for Chuck Schumer and Joe Manchin coming to a climate agreement. Naturally, Colbert omitted other, less malicious explanations.

Colbert began by solemnly declaring, “there's a story about Congress and veterans out there that you might have heard of. I’m just gonna start by saying I've been making the political jokey make-'em-ups for over 20 years, and I've never seen anything so baldly cynical and pointlessly malicious as this.”

After explaining the bill's coverage of health care for those "who were exposed toxins and burn pits," Colbert reported, “Except that, due to an administrative issue, the Senate had to revote on the bill. And this time, it was blocked, because 25 Republican senators flipped their votes.”

As he continued, Colbert raised a middle finger, “And like many Americans, I'd like to flip them in return. And, why would Republicans screw over veterans on a good bill that they previously voted for? Well, one theory is they had their boxers in a bunch after Joe Manchin and Chuck Schumer secretly negotiated a big climate deal.”

That’s one theory. Another, more innocent explanation is that the bill was written is such a way that it was possible the money could’ve been spent on unrelated matters and Republicans realized that and wanted to fix it.

Christy didn't explain why Republicans failed to catch this before voting on it the first time -- possibly because he ewould have to explain that GOP senators were incompetent at their jobs.

Kevin Tober took his own shot at being the GOP apologist in a post later that day:

On Tuesday night, after a week of arguing between Senate Republicans and Democrats over legislation which would help veterans who have been made sick by burn pits, both CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News omitted the reason why Republicans opposed the legislation. Hint: it’s not because they hate veterans.

After blocking the legislation late last week, both CBS and NBC were quick to pounce on Republicans for turning around and voting for the legislation on Tuesday evening. 

If you made the misguided decision to rely on either CBS or NBC for your news, you would never know that Senate Democrats stuffed the bill with over $396 billion in mandatory spending.


It turns out that if you stuff a bill related to care for veterans with Democrat Party [sic] pet projects, Republicans will fight to cut that waste out. It has nothing to do with not supporting veteran care. CBS & NBC know that but the truth doesn’t matter. Only the Democrat Party [sic] narrative does. 

Like Christy, Tober didn't explain why Republicans were so incompetent as to overlook that spending  on the first vote, nor did he e3xplain why it's a bad thing for making that spending mandatory rather than discretionary, or explain why it's a bad thing for spending on veterans to be mandatory rather than discretionary or explain what exactly the "Democrat Party [sic] pet projects" Republicans are oppsing (or why he can't get the name of the Democratic Party correct).

Margaret Buckley used an Aug. 3 post to gripe that MSNBC's Joe Scarborough "ranted his anger over the Republicans shooting down a bill that could potentially help Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, labeling them as 'anti-veteran'" and that guest Sen. Tim Kaine was "droning on and on about his theory as to why these 'dirty' Republicans struck the bill down. He figured it was because they were “mad the Democrats were doing a reconciliation deal,' and wanted 'revenge.'" Surprisingly, Buckley didn't try to defend Republicans.

Emma Schulz's Aug. 3 post was devoted to whining that CNN interviewed "liberal activist" Stewart (Schutz didn't explain how Stewart's activism on this issue made him "liberal") and that that the host accurately pointed out that Republicans looked quite "anti-veteran" in flip-flopping on the bill before finally being shamed into supporting it:

What's the worst, most simplistic way to attack Senate Republicans? If you're a journalist at CNN, you suggest GOP members are “anti-veteran.” Discussing the new toxic exposure bipartisan bill traveling through the House and the Senate, on Tuesday’s CNN Newsroom with Ana Cabrera, the host interviewed liberal activist Jon Stewart. This new bill, according to Roll Call, expands on the existing House bill passed in March. The legislation would consist of “new health care and tax-free benefits as high as $3,332 a month to as many as 3.5 million veterans” at a cost estimated to be $278.5 billion over 10 years.

Originally, Republicans had backed the bill. When voting on it on June 16th, it was 84-14 in favor. Now, as Stewart claimed, Senate Republicans are “Flipping. Flipping their votes,” because of a “so-called budgetary gimmick.” The measure failed 55-42 last week.

Assuming the worst, Cabrera asked, “Why would they change their votes? Do you actually think they’re anti-veteran?” “No, I think they’re insulated and isolated, and that they’ve lost themselves to parliamentary procedures,” Stewart answered. He continued, “and you know, I’m not suggesting that there’s malevolence in the way that they’re treating veterans, but there is apathy and ignorance.”

The total spending would be more than $300 million over the upcoming decade, and in the words of Republican Senator Pat Toomey, “what I’m trying to do is change a government accounting methodology that is designed to allow our Democratic colleagues to go on an unrelated $400 billion spending spree that has nothing to do with veterans.”

What would it have looked like if this had been a bipartisan bill that Democrats had tried to stomp? The networks might surely be calling them, “smart” or “intelligent” for checking where millions of dollars were planned to go.

Yet, Cabrera stands to suggest that GOP might be against the men and women of service, probing the activist to do the same. Cabrera even went as going as far as to suggest that personal Twitter battles between Senator Ted Cruz and Stewart made the ‘No’ from the Senator a little more personal.

Schultz huffed at the end: "What CNN has failed to report is that POLITICO reported Minority Leader Mitch McConnell stating, “it will pass this week,” along with both Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) and Senator John Thune (R- S.D.) making comments on the same wavelength, how they would “expect it to pass.” Instead, Cabrera would rather paint the narrative that CNN so boldly holds: GOP stands for nothing good." Meanwhile, the MRC is too busy playing defense to acknowledge that Republicans would not be in this situation had they been more honest and not played last-minute budget games on this bill.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:58 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, August 23, 2022 11:48 PM EDT

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