July 27, 2005
When the Republicans said they were going to prioritize defense spending, this probably wasn’t what the Pentagon had in mind [September 2005: link dead, no substitute available]:
Senate Republicans on Tuesday moved the National Rifle Association’s top priority ahead of a $491 billion defense bill, setting up a vote on legislation to shield firearms manufacturers and dealers from lawsuits over gun crimes.
Completion of the defense bill, which the Senate had been debating for a week, will now be delayed until fall. Democrats were incensed.
“What’s happening on this gun liability bill is really despicable,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. “To put that ahead of the defense bill, I think, is the most distorted priorities I can possibly conceive of.” On a 66-32 test vote, sponsors of the gun bill showed they have more than enough support to prevent opponents from defeating it with a filibuster.
… With strong support from the White House, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., used a technical maneuver to halt debate on the defense bill and move to the contentious gun legislation sponsored by Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho.
“The president believes that the manufacturer of a legal product should not be held liable for the criminal misuse of that product by others,” said White House spokesman Scott McClellan. “We look at it from a standpoint of stopping lawsuit abuse.”
Rather than, say, from a standpoint of depriving troops in Iraq of the supplies and equipment they need.
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