How Tom Carper’s Votes and Positions Screw People and Help Rethugs to Screw People. Volume 2

Filed in Delaware, Featured, National by on November 30, 2016


I was gonna release these at a more leisurely pace, but this one sticks in my craw. Well, they all do, but I couldn’t let this one slide any longer.  When it comes to grandstanding, Tom Carper is right there with the best. With support for the military (and braggadocio about his own service) near the top of the list.  When the rubber meets the road, though, that’s a different story.   This one is about how Tom Carper screws the grunts in the military:

1. Tom Carper Abandons Victims of Sexual Violence in the Military.

This is truth, not fiction.  On May 29, 2013, Tom Carper issued this press release announcing his co-sponsorship of legislation designed to bring to justice those in the military who commit sexual assault against other members of the military.

The press release spared nothing, including the umpteenth recounting of Carper’s own military service. (BTW, virtually every press release oozing out of cites his military experience. I checked.) Some excerpts:

Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), a 23-year Navy veteran, cosponsored the Military Justice Improvement Act (S. 967) in response to a recent Department of Defense (DOD) report detailing the sexual assault crisis in the military. According to the report, about 26,000 cases of sexual assault occurred in fiscal year 2012, up 37 percent from fiscal year 2011, while victims only reported about 3,200 of these assaults up their chain of command. Nearly 75 percent of females and 60 percent of males in the military indicated that they believe barriers exist to reporting sexual assaults, while over 60 percent of victims who reported a sexual assault perceive some form of retaliation.

This legislation would remove the decision on whether to go to court martial for all offenses punishable by one year or more in jail – not just sexual assaults – from the chain of command and place it within the jurisdiction of experienced military prosecutors.  (Remember this one as we move forward.)

“Serving our men and women in uniform as well as they serve us means more than just arming them adequately on the battlefield or providing them with education and job training benefits; it means protecting their safety, legal rights and dignity,” said Sen. Carper. “The current military justice system can be improved so that it works better for victims of heinous crimes like sexual assault. Placing the decisions to prosecute cases like these in the hands of trained JAG officers within the military increases accountability within our armed forces and gives victims the confidence to report these crimes knowing that they will be taken seriously.

Let’s fast-forward to Senate consideration of the bill as Prime Sponsor Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand fights to bring the bill up for a vote:

It was a setback for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who took up the cause of military assault victims and relentlessly lobbied colleagues to back the bill.

The vote was 55 to 45, leaving the measure five votes shy of the 60 needed to advance to final consideration.

It had less support than Gillibrand predicted after two senators who had publicly backed it — Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) — voted “no.”

Tom Carper hadn’t merely publicly supported the bill. He co-sponsored it and went out of his way to brag about it.

That wasn’t the end of it, however.  Gillibrand sought to amend the Defense Appropriations Bill by essentially adding the Military Justice component to it.  The amendment failed, 49-50.  Would it shock you if I told you that one of those no votes was Tom Carper?  That’s right, folks.  The grandstanding co-sponsor of the bill effectively killed it. Your United States Senator.

Why did he do it? Because he wanted to wait for more guidance:

Carper voted against the bill because the president has asked the military to conduct a review of its efforts to combat sexual assault, which is due in December, according to an aide. In a statement ordering the review last year, Obama said that if current efforts do not work, then additional reforms should be considered, which was seen by many as squelching support for Gillibrand’s reform.

Obama squelched it due to bleating from the brass, who didn’t like the JAGs trying the cases, and Carper who, you may remember, was an officer, not a grunt, agreed. Yet, in that gleaming press release, Carper specifically called for the JAGs to try the cases.  That press release still stands out there as a shining example of Carper at his most two-faced.  Please remember that you can’t trust Carper to protect sexual assault victims in the military the next time he tries to shake your hand.

2. Carper to Vets Who Got Screwed:  “Don’t Look to Me For Help.”

During one of those late-in-the-year desperate attempts to get a continuing budget resolution, any continuing budget resolution, passed,  the Congress in its infinite lack of wisdom decided to cut COLA’s (Cost of Living Adjustments) to military retirees under the age of 62 by 1% in December of 2013:

The controversial provision originated in the bipartisan budget deal crafted by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D., Wash.), hitting military retirees under 62 with a 1 percent reduction in their COLAs.

The change meant that veterans would face as much as $124,000 in lost retirement income. Current civilian federal retirees were not affected by the budget deal.

The cut would have saved $6 billion at the expense of military pensioners.  Which, to put it mildly, was never going to fly. And so, the funds were restored in early 2014, with the Senate voting 95-3 in favor of restoration:

“This bipartisan action – rare in Washington these days – corrects the significant mistake Congress made in December by trying to balance the budget on the backs of those who have sacrificed so much,” said Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) CEO and founder Paul Rieckhoff. “It’s wise and appropriate that Congress has responded to the widespread anger in our community by restoring the retirement benefits of servicemembers and their survivors.”

“But let’s be honest: Congress never should have put veterans on the chopping block to begin with,” he said.  “While we are pleased to see the restoration of retirement benefits for those who already have served, we are concerned that Congress has left future retirement cuts in place, and we will keep fighting until benefits for all who serve are restored.”

Keep in mind that these are/were benefits already in place that Congress voted to cut.  We’re not talking about adding something new to the benefits package here.

Did I mention that the vote to restore these benefits promised to veterans was 95-3 in the Senate?  Would you be shocked to learn that one of those three no votes came from Delaware’s own Tom Carper?

Yep, Carper, along with R’s Dan Coates of Indiana and Jeff Flake of Arizona, cast the only three no votes. Why? Apparently because this guy who doesn’t fund one thin dime of his own to his campaigns can afford it:

Carper, who has received a military pension of $1,400 a month since turning 62, cited the federal government’s ballooning deficits in explaining his vote with the minority.

“We‘re making some progress on deficit reduction in this country, but our deficit is still a half-trillion dollars this year, and that’s huge,” he said. “If we’re serious about making progress, all of us who are able to do something to help out need to do that. I think Americans are willing to do their part if asked, and I think they look to people like me to try to provide some leadership and set an example.”

That’s right, Tom. They look to someone who has carved out multiple pensions at the state, federal, and military levels over 40 years on the public dole as precisely the role model they should follow.  Including military families who are struggling to make ends meet on one retirement pension. Maybe if you gave up one, just one of those pensions, you might have a scintilla of credibility. Ain’t happening.

Folks, and especially you vets, just remember how out of touch Tom Carper is when it comes to your needs the next time he seeks to shake your hand and swap war stories with you.



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  1. Jason330 says:

    Wow. This one is really stomach turning. The vote to slash military pensions is shockingly brazen given his usual practice of trying to be on both sides of every issue.

  2. Believe it or not, there’s even worse to come. This guy is not who he has sold himself as. Not at all.

    Voters, liberals and progressives, take note.

  3. puck says:

    “Voters, liberals and progressives, take note.”

    Oh we already know. Carper poses a dilemma in the voting booth. I’ve voted for Carper when I felt control of the Senate was at stake. But when the Senate is not at stake, I don’t vote on the Senate line when Carper is on it. Carper has prospered because he has engineered a bubble free of political competitors on the left or right. He would crack in a real campaign.

  4. Prop Joe says:

    Now having read Part Two, I think it appropriate to request that the current poll options for “Who should primary Tom Carper in 2018?” be changed to a single option of “anyone… Don’t really care who… Just anyone, please!”

  5. puck says:

    Realistically Carper will be taken out by Father Time, and Democrats should be figuring out how to win an election for his open seat with the most progressive candidate possible.

  6. bamboozer says:

    Puck is right, it will take death or the proverbial act of god to remove Carper. Like many of you I only vote for him if the seat is endangered, The best bet is to look to when he does leave office and have a good progressive candidate that can win.

  7. No no no no NO!

    Wait for Father Time? While he is likely the first D across the aisle to chop Medicare and Social Security? While he refuses to filibuster right-wing zealots for the courts?

    No! That’s not what this is about. This is about building a case and ultimately a framework for a challenge to Carper from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.

    We can’t risk him any more. He is not a Democrat. He does not represent Democrats. He isn’t funded by traditional Democrats. He is a wholly-owned corporate Senator.

    Take your defeatist rhetoric elsewhere. This is about ending this guy’s career and replacing him with someone who will fight for us. I think the Third Way died on Election Day. Let’s take out one of the Walking Dead.

  8. JTF says:

    Ahhhh. This old chestnut.

    Good luck. Carper has been far harder on Trump than Little Lord Fauntleroy Chris Coons has.

    “He isn’t funded by traditional democrats.” I don’t know what that means. Sorry, who in your view is a “traditional democrat”? I guess not bankers. I guess not corporate lawyers.

    But wait.


    Isn’t your little hefty boy Bryan Townsend a Corporate Lawyer? Who raised all that dirty Corporate money from Big Business and Big Law and whatever Boogeyman you want to claim is Terrible? And then just squandered it on consultants or whatever else. What a waste that was. Some might call it embarrassing!

    You know who gives money to political campaigns? Let me fill you in because obviously you don’t know because you seem to only lose races yourself or support losers:

    Rich. People.

    Some of whom are…. Democrats!

    If you think Third Way died on Election Day you aren’t paying attention.

    But have fun! This will work out really well for you! Better start crowdfunding from the college kids now.

  9. I know I’m on the right track when JTF trolls.