Wednesday, May 7, 2014

PROUD/NOT PROUD: Barber 1 of 6 Democrats Voting To Hold IRS' Lois Lerner In Contempt and Appoint Special Counsel, Shepherds 1-Yr Reprieve for A-10 Fighter Through Committee

It was a hard day and night for Arizona Rep. Ron Barber (D-CD2).  He spent almost all of the day in the House Armed Services Committee hearing as they marked up the National Defense Authorization Act.  The large committee took a break to go to the House Floor and vote on whether or not to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt; Barber was one of only 6 Democrats to vote "aye", and to approve a special counsel to investigate the IRS' alleged "targeting of conservative nonprofit groups".

Then, back in the hearing room, Barber was the primary sponsor for an amendment to grant the A-10 fighter plane (aka Warthog) a one-year reprieve from being taken out of service; he helped ensure that the Armed Services Committee approved the reprieve by a 41-20 vote, just before midnight.

Though the A-10 vote took place approximately five hours after the IRS votes, Barber's office was able to put out a news release with video of the committee decision.  However, no news release, Tweet, Facebook post, explanation or mention of the IRS votes was made.

The Lerner vote, 231-187, was a controversial decision and is part of a GOP plan to fan the flames of ongoing investigations of the Obama Administration.  Another portion of that was to approve a resolution calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special counsel to further investigate the IRS' alleged targeting of conservative groups, such as the Prescott Tea Party.

Barber - and Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-CD9) - were among 26 Democrats to vote for that resolution.

Back at the Armed Services Committee, Barber presented his amendment to keep the A-10 in the air for at least one more year.  Davis Monthan AFB in Tucson is primary home of the fleet of close air support fighters.

Although Rep. Buck McKeon, the Republican chair of the committee was opposed and tried to claim victory in the voice vote, the roll call showed that the amendment was approved by a bipartisan vote of 41-20.

From Barber's post-midnight news release: “Today the House Armed Services Committee took an important step to support our ground troops and prevent the A-10 from being divested,” Barber, a member of the Armed Services Committee, said after the vote.

“We will continue this fight in the weeks to come,” Barber added. “We will continue it together as a community in Tucson and I will continue to bring the fight to Washington alongside my colleagues in the House and Senate, Republican and Democrat alike.”
Here is video of that discussion.

As noted above, Rep. Sinema joined Barber and 24 other Democrats in voting to ask for a special counsel to continue investigating the IRS' treatment of conservative nonprofits.  She issued a news release with her explanation:

“Today I voted for special counsel to investigate the IRS regarding allegations of targeting organizations because of their political beliefs,” said Sinema. “No public agency should exercise partisanship and these actions are unacceptable. The IRS must be held accountable. This investigation is the first of several necessary steps to restore Americans’ trust in our public institutions.”

“I am disappointed that Lois Lerner has refused to testify in Congress. The American public deserves to hear the truth from her and the IRS. I hope that she and the IRS cooperate fully with all investigations regarding these serious allegations."
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