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Britt, Brooks campaigns trade barbs over NDAA vote

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by a 363-70 vote. All seven members of Alabama’s congressional delegation voted in favor of the measure.

U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) opposed an earlier version of the bill and was criticized by two of his opponents, former Business Council of Alabama head Katie Britt and U.S. Army veteran Michael Durant.

On the heels of the vote, Brooks’ campaign released a statement declaring victory that was critical of Britt and Durant.

“In September, Katie Britt and Mike Durant, in acts of dangerous and naïve political opportunism, publicly ‘slammed’ my vote against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act,” Brooks said. “Quite frankly, both Britt and Durant should be ashamed for promoting Speaker Pelosi’s policies while politicizing national security for a U.S. Senate seat each so badly covets.”

My ‘No’ vote in September on the Pelosi NDAA looks better and better with each passing day.  In September, 113 Congressmen and a majority of the Alabama Congressional Delegation (Robert Aderholt, Barry Moore, Gary Palmer and I) voted ‘No,'” the statement continued. “Our ‘No’ votes paid off!  These ‘No’ votes helped empower Republican House and Senate NDAA Conferees to strip extraordinarily bad policy positions from the Nancy Pelosi NDAA.”

According to the campaign’s statement, among the objectionable policies were a requirement for teenage girls to register for the draft, attacks on the Second Amendment via Red Flag laws, the promotion of unionization efforts in national defense and the creation of a George Orwell “1984” style “Office of Extremism.”

“[I]f this NDAA vote is indicative of how Durant and Britt would govern, they should not be allowed anywhere near the U.S. Capitol, as a Senator, a Congressman, or anything else,” Brooks added. “On the whole, the Conference Committee’s NDAA version strengthens national security without the bad policy Socialist Democrats slipped into the ‘must pass’ NDAA.”

Shortly after that, the Britt campaign scoffed at Brooks’ charges.

During an appearance on Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5’s earlier this week, Sean Ross, speaking on behalf of the Britt campaign, questioned Brooks for claiming to “know best” on the topic of national defense.

“Woo, that’s a doozy, Jeff,” Ross said. “First of all, before I put on my Katie Britt hat, I just want to kind of marvel that Congressman Brooks wants to tell the American public that he knows best about the American warfighter compared to Mike Durant. I find that fascinating, and I’d love to hear them debate that.”

Ross also claimed Brooks was engaging in “self-serving games” given he voted for the original bill as a member of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC).

“Looking at this issue, I’ll remind people that Mo Brooks voted for the NDAA in committee when it had all of the issues that he complained about when those issues were still in the bill, then he turns around and votes for it on the floor, flip-flops like normal,” he said. “And now, exactly what happens had happened, right? Because you’ll remember — Katie put out a statement blasting that vote, saying he was grandstanding because it was because of the knowledge Congressman [Mike] Rogers had guaranteed Congressman Brooks that all of those issues would be worked out in conference.”

“That’s how it works every year,” Ross continued. “You always have these nonsense things that get tacked on there. The Senate corrects a lot of them themselves. But if not, it is correct in conference because that’s where the voices of reason come through, and that’s just how the process works. Again, Congressman Brooks — he’s been there six terms. He knows how this works. And you know, exactly what we predicted has happened. He’s trying to play games with this. That’s what a career politician does.”

“I just think it’s one of the reasons why he’s not going to be elected. I mean, Alabamians want fresh blood who is going to be out there actually fighting for things and not playing these self-serving games on television,” he added.

On Thursday, Brooks explained his reasoning for voting to send the initial draft of the NDAA to floor out of committee even though he voted against it in the floor vote. Brooks insisted the floor bill was “substantially different” from the original HASC version.

“It was different — substantially different,” Brooks said during an appearance on FM Talk 106.5. “I don’t know the exact number of amendments, but on the House floor, there were probably 100-150 amendments — somewhere in that ballpark — to the committee bill. But there’s an important distinction to make. When you vote for it in committee, that’s to send it to the House floor, OK? You may like it or dislike it. But you can agree to send it to the House floor for further debate. When you vote for it on the House floor, that could be the final vote you get. There is no guarantee you’re going to ever get another vote on the NDAA because the Senate may adopt it as is.”

“And so, with the risk of it being the final and last vote for passage of something as important as the NDAA, it’s got to be right,” he added. “There may not be a second chance to fix it. And so that’s the distinction between a vote on committee to allow the bill to get to the House floor, where you can have more substantive debate, and voting on the House floor where you may not see it again.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.

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