Bil Browning

Hate crimes fate tied to F-22 fighter jets

Filed By Bil Browning | June 29, 2009 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Barney Frank, F-22 fighter jets, hate crimes against LGBT people, Matthew Shepard, Senate

Last week I sent out an urgent update to Projectors to save proposed hate crimes legislation from being attached to a defense spending bill in the Senate. A source on Capital Hill and a federal lobbyist both contacted me with their concerns with the strategy and asked me to help "save hate crimes." Some readers argued that trying to pass the legislation as a stand-alone bill wasn't a wise idea, but I just said hate crimes shouldn't be attached to that particular defense authorization.

Rep Barney Frank obviously has the same concerns my sources have and talked to the Washington Blade about his worries. (emphasis mine)

Upon hearing of the Senate's plan, gay Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said he's "disappointed" the Senate settled on this method of passage. But he added "we could still be all right" because the House passed its version of the defense bill with a bigger margin than he expected.

Still, he expressed concern about how Obama has threatened to veto the House version of the defense bill because it contains funding beyond the administration's request for F-22 fighter jets.

Frank said passing a hate crimes measure as an amendment to the defense bill would stand a better chance if the Senate didn't follow suit and declined to provide additional funding for the jets. A White House spokesperson declined to comment on the situation.

After my alert went live on the site, a third source called and - off the record - told me that the White House is aware of the problem and is working furiously to stave off the suggested showdown. We'll see. The same strategy failed last year for similar reasons.


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one thing that is especially disturbing about attaching the Hate Crimes bill as an amendment to this defense spending bill is that neither the Pentagon, the Air Force, the Defense Department, and every other military department wants those F-22's.

they have been on record for a long time that the planes do not serve the kind of warfare against rogue nations who sponsor terrorism, and they have enough already. what they would rather have the money spent on are the vehicles that provide complete protection from roadside bombs. they have been begging for years for these.

you can bet the problem is from the Representatives and Senators of the places where these planes are made are the ones pushing it the hardest and using you scratch my a** and i'll scratch yours.

so, the real question should be, is this being attached to this bill BECAUSE it will be vetoed or defeated thus making it sure way to stop the hate crimes bill again?

my guess... absolutely frakking yes!

I was actually surprised that there was so much debate with you on this last week, both on TBP and elsewhere. It's a bad idea. It shouldn't be attached to that bill. I can see why they'd want it as an amendment, but still, not this bill.

Although I'm not really all that enthused by hate crimes legislation, I do like a good strategy discussion.

Obama has no choice but to sign the bill if it comes to him as is.

Of the two proposals, Obama cannot possibly get re-elected if he vetoes hate-crimes. The mere possibility of TV commercials showing his image next to the charred, pulp-like remains of a few recent GLBT victims would be hard to overcome. Plus another instance of Obama doing the exact same thing as GWB would not sit well with the public. Given the recent outrage over his lack of movement on gay issues, Obama really doesn't need more bad press. He's in danger of becoming a 1 term president as it is.

On the other hand, he can pawn off the inclusion of the F-22 on Congress, where it truly belongs.