House Votes to Strip Defense Secretary of Salary as Right Wing Flexes Muscles

The Republican-led House voted on Wednesday to cut back the wage of Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III to $1, as right-wing lawmakers tried to remodel a Pentagon spending invoice and a sequence of different funding measures into weapons to take purpose at President Biden, his agenda and his high officers.

There is little probability that Mr. Austin, the primary Black protection secretary, will really see his pay reduce. The navy spending invoice is all however sure to die within the Senate, the place it’s anticipated to satisfy with bipartisan opposition.

But the transfer to strip him of all however $1 of his wage, proposed by Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, mirrored the depth of the right-wing drive to make the navy right into a political problem.

Three days earlier than a authorities shutdown, House Republican leaders spent Wednesday including the wage reduce — and a slew of different far-right proposals to handcuff the Biden administration — to spending payments which have little probability of enactment. It was akin to a legislative tantrum pushed by the exhausting proper, whose members are serving to push Congress towards a spending disaster.

The Pentagon funding invoice, together with three different spending payments House Republican leaders are advancing this week, already was doomed within the Senate and had no probability of changing into legislation. The additions are more likely to make passing these payments much more troublesome, and are available at a time when extra mainstream members of the Republican convention are already fuming about arch-conservative coverage prescriptions which have been tacked on to the spending payments.

The House additionally voted on Wednesday to bar the Pentagon from implementing Mr. Biden’s local weather change-related govt orders or requiring service members to obtain the coronavirus vaccine. And it stripped funding for the Pentagon’s workplace of range, fairness and inclusion.

The measures have been handed by voice vote, which means that lawmakers didn’t take recorded votes to register their positions individually.

Ms. Greene took a victory lap after the passage of her modification, blaming the protection secretary for “the horrific Afghanistan withdrawal,” dwindling recruitment numbers and “the firing of thousands of troops for refusing the Covid vaccine.”

“Lloyd Austin, the secretary of defense of the United States, definitely deserves to be fired,” Ms. Greene mentioned. “$1 is too much.”

Sabrina Singh, a Pentagon spokeswoman, responded that Mr. Austin “is focused on leading the Department of Defense and ensuring our service members worldwide have the resources and support the U.S. military needs to conduct our mission to defend the nation.”

In an effort to appease the ultraconservative flank of their occasion, high House Republicans had already loaded up this yr’s spending payments with a sequence of partisan coverage mandates aimed toward amplifying political battles on social points. Lawmakers on the subcommittee that funds the Food and Drug Administration, for instance, included a provision that may successfully prohibit entry to abortion treatment by mail, a observe that’s nonetheless authorized in most states.

Representative Marc Molinaro of New York, a Republican anticipated to face a troublesome re-election race subsequent yr in a district that voted for Mr. Biden in 2020, mentioned he would nonetheless assist the Pentagon funding invoice.

“I just would say it’s not the kind of thing that I embrace,” Mr. Molinaro mentioned of stripping Mr. Austin of his wage.

Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the Democratic chief, accused Republicans of attempting use the specter of a shutdown “to jam your right-wing ideology down the throats of the American people.”

“This week is very revealing, because we’re considering bills, including the one that is before us right now, that have zero chance of becoming law,” Mr. Jeffries mentioned. “And they’re filled with extreme policy poison pills.”

Kayla Guo and Eric Schmitt contributed reporting.

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