The only way anyone could use the phrase “charm offensive” to describe AL-05 Congressman Mo Brooks is to note that he's totally without charm and often offensive. Even to his own House GOP leadership. You know, those guys who dole out committee appointments and control the contents of legislation with an iron fist.
The scuffle last week was over the “rule” for a bill that would have allowed more flexibility in managing defense cuts during the sequester. The “rule” refers to the length of time allowed for debate, amendments permitted, etc. It's like the guidebook for how a piece of legislation will be debated and voted on.
From The Hill:
Votes on rules are supposed to be party-line and serve as tests of a caucus’s unity. So it was disconcerting for leaders to see so many Republicans vote against the rule they had crafted.
Worse, from a leadership perspective, is that some Republicans say they plan on doing it again if they feel leaders are limiting them from offering controversial amendments on the floor.
A source close to the GOP's whipping operation characterized it as a surprise and said some members who voted against the rule had initially said they were going to support it.
That source, quoting the popular Netflix series “House of Cards,” said the members broke the “deadliest sin” of “don’t surprise me.”
Along with Fleming and Huelskamp, and Reps. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.), Mo Brooks (Ala.), Walter Jones (N.C.), Dana Rohrabacher (Calif.) and Ted Yoho (Fla.) voted against the rule but for the funding bill.
“Alabama ranks fourth in the nation for defense spending at 8.6 percent of its GDP,” according to a briefing paper prepared for a recent Washington trip by the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County.
“About half, or $7 billion, of the state's defense revenue went to contractors and defense personnel at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville/Madison County,” the report continued. Huntsville employs 36,000 people who manage more than $100 billion in federal defense spending each year, making the community fifth in the nation for receiving defense money.
One of the House sponsors is Brooks, who represents Huntsville and Alabama's 5th Congressional District. He's is a definite deficit hawk, but Brooks said Friday that defense has to remain a national priority.
And heaven help us if there's another huge tornado outbreak, because a lot of GOP Congressmen from the Northeast probably won't.
Personally, I think everybody should have voted against the bill. Why give just defense flexibility but not include any provisions for the communities and citizens losing access to social services?
But Congressman Brooks made it a double: he angered the leadership with a vote against the rule and then voted in favor of a bad bill.