Representative Zinke Votes to Threaten US Security, Blames Jon Tester

You’ve got to hand it to Representative Ryan Zinke, who, unhinged from the reality that most of us inhabit, has concocted another incredible story for the credulous conservative media, attacking Senator Tester because House Republicans, including Zinke have created a political impasse that threatens the continued funding for the Department of Homeland Security. You know, the people who protect our borders and prevent terrorist attacks at airports.

Let me try to explain.

House Republicans, eager to score points with the nativist base of their party, passed a funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security that also rolled backed President Obama’s executive order to relieve deportation. The bill they passed was so extreme that even some Republican Senators are likely opposed to the measure. Flush with no-nothing optimism, they neglected to remember there is another house in the Congress and became boxed in as Senate Democrats refuse to let them steamroll through a misguided, politically-motivated policy. The result is best described by a Republican Representative.:

“I guess the lesson learned is don’t put yourself in a box you can’t figure out a way to get out of,” said Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Republican of West Virginia.

The result is that there is a real threat to the continued funding for the Department of Homeland Security, not to mention another embarrassing demonstration that the Republicans simply aren’t ready to govern.

Not convinced? How about asking the right wing Wall Street Journal’s editorial staff, who shredded the Republicans for an almost incredible combination of political and policy failure:

If Homeland Security funding lapses on Feb. 27, the agency will be pushed into a partial shutdown even as the terrorist threat is at the forefront of public attention with the Charlie Hebdo and Islamic State murders. Imagine if the Transportation Security Administration, a unit of DHS, fails to intercept an Islamic State agent en route to Detroit.  So Republicans are facing what is likely to be another embarrassing political retreat and more intra-party recriminations. The GOP’s restrictionist wing will blame the leadership for a failure they share responsibility for, and the rest of America will wonder anew about the gang that couldn’t shoot straight.

For those reasons, Republicans are going to have to cave and pass a separate funding bill for Homeland Security, though some seem crazy enough to take the risk of a terrorist attack for political purposes.

Ask Republican Congressman Charlie Dent or Republican Senator Mark Kirk:

“Sooner or later, we’re going to have to accept reality,” said Representative Charlie Dent, Republican of Pennsylvania. “At some point, we’re going to have to pass something closer to a clean or cleaner bill. That’s what’s going to have to happen.”  Mr. Kirk said he thought Republicans “ought to strip the bill of extraneous issues.” The way forward, he said, “is just fund D.H.S.”

And all that leads us to Representative Ryan Zinke. Faced with yet another Republican Congressional debacle and party infighting, the Representative who’s already measuring a Senate office attacked Jon Tester from the confines of a favored nutjob “media” outlet, Breitbart News. I understand that it’s a lot to expect from perhaps the least honest political candidate in Montana history to refrain from politicizing every issue for personal gain, but there has to limit, right?

Republicans, under the leadership of the Speaker that Zinke voted for, created an impasse that threatens national security and undermines the credibility of our government. It’s time for Congressman Zinke to stop braying TEA Party talking points and start acting like a member of Congress. It’s time for him to start doing the job he’s been selected to do and take his eyes off the next one he thinks he’s entitled to.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.


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