Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013
Enyart Stands Alone On U.S. House Vote
WSIL -- Almost all of the US House of Representatives voted in support a resolution Saturday to allow furloughed military chaplains to continue conducting religious services despite the government shutdown. The only congressman against it was southern Illinois' own representative Bill Enyart.
Congressman Enyart calls the resolution silly and says it doesn't do anything to resolve the bigger issues in Washington. It's a move that doesn't sit well with some other lawmakers.
"If a chaplain wants to minister, a contract chaplain wants to minister, to a military member stationed abroad, who has no access to a church, a mosque, or a synagogue, they would be in violation of the law," explains Georgia Congressman Doug Collins.
A military chaplain himself, Collins introduced a House resolution Saturday to continue the availability of religious services.
"If the administration wants to play games and score points through unnecessary theatrics, so be it. But I will not stand by and let these games occur at the expense of basic rights of our men and women in uniform," he adds.
The legislation passed almost unanimously in a vote of 400 to one, leaving Congressman Bill Enyart the odd man out.
"Shocked and upset," says Illinois Representative Mike Bost.
A candidate for Enyart's congressional seat, Bost says he's disappointed by Enyart's decision, especially since the U.S. House Speaker even asked him to reconsider.
"He was one, the only one, the only one in the United States," says Bost. "Either that's not understanding the job or being totally out of touch with your constituents."
In a phone interview, Congressman Enyart explains why he voted against the resolution.
"It is phony," he says. "It is designed to do nothing but make these people feel good and to give them a political point that they're doing something. They didn't do anything."
A retired two-star general, Enyart insists he's more concerned about putting the government back to work.
"You can pray anywhere," he says. "You can't just dump your kid anywhere; you can't just not go to the commissaries to buy groceries to feed your family."
Enyart adds that he spent 35 years leading soldiers and Congress's recent actions do not reflect true leadership.
There were 30 Congress men and women who did not vote on the measure.
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