Talk radio host Hugh Hewitt and Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) squared off over military pay and benefit cuts as part of a military budget deal on Tuesday.
Hewitt said that listeners had been writing to him and were “pissed” and declared “I hope some Republican stands up and filibusters it.”
After Inhofe said “we don’t like it. We don’t like it,” Hewitt responded “then don’t vote for it.” And “I think you guys should dig in…I think you guys should dig in and say ‘damn, no, we’re not going to do this, we are not going to balance the Pentagon’s cuts on the backs of the military.’ And if you have to shut down the government, do it for the military.”
Hewitt continued “No one went public. No one stood in the well of the Senate and said ‘hell, no,’ and I can’t understand why Republicans won’t call the President on this, won’t call [Sen] Carl Levin (D-MI) on this? I can’t believe, I really, I cannot simply believe that [Rep.] Buck McKeon (R-CA) rolled over.”
Inhofe rebutted by stating “under our rules, you can’t bring the bill up. It has to be the majority leader,” to which, “on January 6th, you can. That’s why I do not understand. I think it’s because of the vanity of the Congress not wanting to pass this bill for the first time in 54 years because of [Sen.] Harry Reid (D-NV). And I understand institutional vanity. But I do not understand putting $5 billion price tag on institutional vanity. You guys should just say no and absolutely turn down this, it’s outrageous to do this to these kids.”
When Inhofe countered it would be “outrageous” to eliminate certain military benefits by failing to renew the NDAA, Hewitt pointed out the benefits would only disappear for six days before the new Senate could put them back in place on January 6, to which Inhofe declared “it would be probably the 25th or so of January before we could do it.”
Hewitt concluded “You and Buck McKeon, you and Buck McKeon are the guys I expected to stop them looting the uniformed military, and you guys didn’t do it. I’m really, I just can’t believe this.” And after the break encouraged his listeners to “completely scream at” members of Congress before stating “I do not know why we bother to win elections when we turn around and screw the people that we campaign on.”
Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett