McFeely: Was the hissy-fit over the veterans bill worth it for Cramer, Republicans?

The historic bill passed Tuesday night on a vote of 86-11 is the exact bill Republicans like ND Sen. Kevin Cramer voted against last week. Word for word. Their opposition last week was performative and nothing more.

Kevin Cramer rally.jpg
U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., speaks at a rally in support of President Donald Trump in Bismarck on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020.
Kyle Martin / Forum News Service
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FARGO — Just a few days after having a hissy-fit and using dying veterans as political pawns, Senate Republicans on Tuesday again reversed course and helped pass the PACT Act. Veterans exposed to toxins like Agent Orange in Vietnam and burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan will get health care and benefits they need.

This is good.

It also exposes Republicans, including North Dakota's own Sen. Kevin Cramer, as frauds.

As expected.

And allow us to say, loud and clear, told you so.


Here's why: The no-brainer bill passed Tuesday night on a vote of 86-11 is the exact bill Republicans like Cramer voted against last week.

Exact. Word for word.

The alleged "budgetary trick" that had Republicans so riled up (wink, wink) — Democrats made some spending in the bill mandatory instead of discretionary (making sure the money is spent on veterans is a bad thing in GOP eyes, apparently) — is in the bill that passed.

Republicans tried to add some amendments, but all were voted down. The bill that passed had every word as the bill that failed.

What this tells us is that when Republicans like Cramer voted against the bill last week, after supporting it in June, the issue wasn't budgetary "tricks." When insurrectionist senators like Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley fist bump after stalling a bill, they are not celebrating because they highlighted obscure wording about which the general public knows nothing and cares less.

They were celebrating because they "beat" Democrats.

That was more important than passing a bill to help veterans.

We told you that in this earlier this week and and it was accurate.


Republicans had a temper tantrum over Democrats getting a couple of political victories, most notably an agreement on a historic climate bill.

And if you're a Republican in 2022, in the party of the petulant and petty Donald Trump, you can't stand for Democratic success. It's all about owning the libs, not helping your constituents. Phony outrage outweighs substance. Talk-radio and Fox News hits are more important than sick and dying veterans.

Cramer and the Republicans voted against Democrats out of spite and nothing more. They hate Democrats more than they love veterans, despite all the flag-waving and syrupy speeches.

It took public outcry, including the media and celebrities like Jon Stewart, for Republicans to slither back to some form of common sense.

The ultimate tell is this: If Cramer and his fellow GOPers were truly invested in the belief the budgetary "trick" was a non-starter, so dangerous to the financial state of the country, they would've voted against the bill again. It was a matter of principle, they told us. And so they would've stuck to their principles.

They didn't.

Instead, when called on their bull-hockey they voted to pass the bill with the exact language they voted against a few days prior.

And, oh by the way, their petulance handed Democrats another political victory. Republicans were exposed as petulant and performative frauds while Democrats can say they delivered for veterans.


Hubris is a helluva drug. Was the hissy-fit worth it?

Mike McFeely is a columnist for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. He began working for The Forum in the 1980s while he was a student studying journalism at Minnesota State University Moorhead. He's been with The Forum full time since 1990, minus a six-year hiatus when he hosted a local radio talk-show.
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