Rep. Mary Peltola played defense Friday after she cast a controversial vote against funding the U.S. military earlier in the day.
“Today I took one of the most difficult votes I’ve ever had to take. The defense bill on the floor today was not the same bipartisan bill that came out of committee. House leadership let the most extreme members of Congress load it up with amendments designed to create political attack ads while removing access to health care for millions of Americans who are employed by the Department of Defense, and their families,” Peltola said of her vote against the National Defense Appropriations Act.
On numerous occasions in her few months in office, Peltola has put herself on the record in favor of extremist measures relating to transgenders and the use of puberty blockers for children, and today she voted against very minor congressional sideboards put on the military budget to prevent taxpayers from having to pay for things like “gender changing” surgeries for members of the military.
“I will always support our brave servicemen and women. I also believe that they are equal citizens, just like the rest of us. That means they have the same rights to privacy and choice in their medical decisions that any other American should have,” Peltola said.
In fact, members of the military have very different standards and are not the same as civilians, as much as Peltola would like them to be.
“When the U.S. military is a party to cases centering on First Amendment rights to free speech, free press, and free exercise of religion, the Supreme Court generally defers to the government’s interest and discretion, permitting the military to restrict the rights of service personnel in ways it does not permit in civilian contexts, writes Elizabeth Beaumont in a paper on the differences between military freedoms and civilian freedoms.
The military justice system, for instance, would violate someone’s constitutional rights if that person was a civilian. Legal rights of service members are narrower than those of civilians.
“We shouldn’t be pitting pay raises that they deserve against the reproductive freedoms that they also deserve. That is a false choice, created for purely political reasons, and I look forward to negotiations with the Senate’s version of the bill where this issue will be discussed further. I will advocate strongly to return to the bipartisan, policy-focused bill that came out of committee, and will gladly vote for a bill that fully protects our troops and their families,” Peltola explained.
Republican candidate Nick Begich took issue with Peltola’s vote:
“Mary Peltola had an opportunity to support our national security and our military families with much deserved pay raises. She voted No. She says she chose to vote against the bill because it didn’t fit her social agenda, but national defense is about keeping America safe,” Begich said.
“Several Democrats crossed the aisle to vote for this bill. Mary wasn’t one of them. If she wanted to weigh in on these matters, she shouldn’t have missed over 30 amendment votes on the NDAA,” Begich said. “When elected, Alaska’s service members and families can count on this: I will show up for them.”
The National Republican Congressional Committee also disagreed with Peltola.
“Today extreme Democrat Mary Peltola voted against the National Defense Authorization Act, going on record to block funding for the United States military. Voting against pay raises for our troops and the safety of our country over taxpayer funded late-term abortions and woke transgender ideology is extreme and dangerous,” the NRCC said.
“Mary Peltola is following an extreme and dangerous agenda led by the fringe elements of her party that is entirely out of touch with the American people. She needs to answer for why she is willing to put our national security risk for her woke agenda,” said NRCC spokesman Ben Petersen.