Last evening. soon to be former RepublicanCongressman Kerry Bentivolio went on an epic farewell rant/speech on his Facebook page.
He blamed everyone but himself for his vote in the continuing resolution that was just passed and stopped the government shut down. The resolution though also funds Obamacare and Obama's amnesty program for the next 9 months. Keep in mind that last summer Kerry was touting a bill called "Read The Bill Act" but said he couldn't read the bill as he was in cubicle and didn't have time. Why vote for the bill if you didn't know what was in it? Vote present at the very worst. Why didn't you follow the lead of whom you said you have respect for like Justin Amash or Michelle Bachmann?
Here is what Kerry wrote on his facebook page:
In keeping with my status and rating as the most transparent member of Congress, I offer this explanation and commentary regarding the “rule” vote that allowed the bill to come to the floor.
Many claim my vote ushered in a $1.1 trillion dollar budget for the coming year. I am deeply honored how many think I had the power to determine so quickly the financial fate of our nation! However, this is not the case.
Do check my voting record--I have never before voted “no” on a rule vote. This, I admit, I did on a whim, a last hurrah. Let me give a little background on the circumstances of that fateful day Thursday, December 11th that I changed my vote from a ‘nay’ to a ‘yea’. A week prior, my staff and I were moved to a small cubicle with one computer and one desk. We shared a printer with others not returning to the House this January. I sat in the House cloakroom off the floor of Congress most of the day discussing various issues and concerns with retiring Congressman Latham from Iowa since he and I were in the same situation, though for different reasons. I obtained a copy of the 1600 page bill and read the first 25-30 pages a few hours before the rule vote.
I complained to Congressman Latham that I was disappointed in the proposed bill from what I heard, having no time to actually read the entire bill and how Congressman Mulvaney’s amendment to the bill to defund President Obama’s amnesty program failed to pass. I informed him and Congresswoman Candice Miller, acting in behalf of the Majority Whip, that they could not count on my vote for the 1.1 trillion spending bill.
When the house called to vote on the rule, I walked the seven feet beyond the cloak room door and voted “no” on the rule. I was the first vote. Congressman Latham laughed and asked why I voted “no” since few Republicans ever vote “no” on a rule. The rule vote simply stops all debates and amendments and brings the bill to the floor for consideration. I mentioned to him it really did not matter since it would pass anyway and no one really cared how I voted on the “rule”. Within minutes a GOP aide came in asking why I voted no on the rule. I waved him off politely indicating to him it really didn’t matter.
Within 20 minutes Speaker Boehner and other members of Congress asked if I would change my vote. I was perplexed why there was this much attention given a departing member’s vote on a rule. I walked back onto the floor and watched the tally of votes on the overhead side panels. 160-160, 165-166, 175-174, etc. While on the floor I stood within five feet of Congressmen Amash, Jordan, Mulvaney, and several other “conservative” members of Congress. Not one talked or discussed with me the implications, plans or strategy, consequences or what reasons they had to vote “no” on the rule. I asked what was happening and no one gave me a reply other than I should change my vote.
What I knew, as did they, that a “no” would mean re-negotiating a new bill. Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader would force the GOP to make concessions. I realized the Speaker was dead set against shutting the government down. A 30-60 day Continued Resolution (CR) was not an option because neither Harry Reid nor the President would sign it. There were “rumors” that the Democrats were planning on delaying social security, VA disability and retirement checks just before Christmas, blaming it on the GOP for failing to negotiate a funding bill both the Senate and President would sign. The Speaker was up against the wall, between a rock and hard place. After all, did not the President order open air memorials fenced and gated during the last shut down and hired Park Rangers to guard the otherwise “unguarded” tourist sites on the mall? What else would you expect from our Commander in Tyranny? The elderly in my district need those social security checks!
What many people do not realize or discuss in the media is the possibility that leadership would immediately offer a two-day CR funding the government over the weekend while they negotiated another bill with Democrats until they received enough votes and have had a bill the Senate, under Harry Reid, and the President would sign. Both the leadership and Democrats do not like Conservatives and we would not have had much influence on the final bill. Any future bill could be worse than the bill proposed on the floor that day. I was not willing under any circumstances, to give Nancy Pelosi any negotiating power, and for that reason alone I decided to change my vote to a “yea” on the rule.
Many conservative members changed their vote as well to make it a tie. After Congressman Stutzman changed his vote, the tally read 213 Yea and 213 Nay, effectively passing the rule. Congressman Stutzman is an excellent member and serves his constituents well. I am honored to have served with him as I am with other members of Congress.
I changed my vote to make the final tally 214 Yea and 212 Nay. I being the first and last to vote on the rule.
Immediately afterwards, many members of Congress thanked me and called me a “true patriot.” I did not need to hear those comments. I proved that years ago serving my country in the military. I responded to each by saying, “Merry Christmas.” Not because of my vote, rather because they were all going home immediately after voting that day, and I would not see them again. The Speaker came up to me and thanked me for changing my vote and said he owed me a great deal. I smiled at him wishing him and his family a Merry Christmas, too.
After voting “NO” on the $1.1 trillion spending bill, a member of Congress mentioned a fellow member of Congress and friend was very upset that I had changed my rule vote. When I heard that comment I became very concerned. I realized then I MAY have made a mistake since my friend, a member of Congress I most respected, was disappointed. I began to worry.
Within minutes she came up to me and asked why I changed my vote. “Michele, I said, I did not want to give the floor to Pelosi.” She asked if anyone promised me anything to get me to change my vote. I told her the truth and replied “No.” Then I asked her why no one contacted me or discussed with me any plans or strategy. I told her had she talked with me I might have considered sticking to my “no” vote. I have great respect and admiration for Congresswoman Bachmann and, other than my wife, have never met a greater woman. She is a tireless worker, a true patriot on all the issues, dedicated and takes no prisoners. Her retirement from Congress is America’s loss.
After the “rule” votes most everyone left the floor to wait for the call for the final bill, and I returned to sit with Congressman Latham again in the cloak room. Congressman Latham looked up at me and said, “So your vote didn’t matter and no one cared, huh?”
I replied, “Holy ****!”
It has been said and written that I did this (changed my rule vote) to get “even” for the lack of support my fellow conservatives gave me during the primary election. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Those that know me will tell you I am not that kind of person and the thought never entered my mind.
I maintain to this day a 100% rating from the American Conservative Union and a 90% from Conservative Review. I can surmise these conjectures are nothing more than my former opponent’s political machine at work in the social media and “bought and paid for” mainstream reporters. After all, they said in semi-private meetings during the primary campaign they would take the seat and then destroy me once and for all.
Conservatives who want nothing less than 100% are living in fantasyland along with the magic carpets and genie lanterns. While many of those conservatives and conservative groups received ample cash to stay out of my race, and Washington is a place where principles are bought by the highest bidder like stock on the stock exchange, my principles remain intact having been bought and paid for previously by soldiers, sailors, Marines and Airmen on the beaches of Normandy, in the jungles of Vietnam and desert of Iraq and many other places.
I am proud to have served in two wars for my country, the only member of Congress to serve in both Vietnam and Iraq, and an additional two-year deployment in Washington, D.C. No promises were made, no twisting of arms, but there was a bit of intimidation, which I ignored. There was hope after the vote that we might negotiate a sixty-day CR, but that hope evaporated within hours after the rule vote when leadership obtained enough Democratic votes to pass the bill. I voted NO on the bill itself as I previously advised the GOP leadership. There was neither malice aforethought nor vengefulness motivating my actions.
A fellow member of Congress said by changing my vote Nancy Pelosi became an afterthought, and politically dead. Then, knowing me as I often refer to DC as the Land of Oz, or use Mark Levin’s Maldorf designation, presented me with an old broom. “What’s this?” I asked. “You killed the wicked witch of the West! Congratulations! Here is her broom, she isn’t flyin anymore!” Does anyone know where that guy is behind the curtain?
Professor Gruber claimed voters are stupid. I strongly disagree. They are often intentionally misinformed by a social and mainstream media and hence become low-information voters. I often said that if I needed to lie to my constituents to keep this job, then I did not want it. I have often said, too, that the hardest thing to find in Washington, D. C. is the truth. It remains the case today.
However, since I have no real plans to return to Congress and many of you think I am responsible for ushering in the $1.1 Trillion spending bill I did not support nor vote for, so be it. Here is the story as it happened, from my perspective. If you wish to remember me as the crazy reindeer farmer, Santa impersonator, accidental Congressman who is responsible for that terrible bill passed in Congress before Christmas 2014, so be it too. It is amazing what a $6 million campaign in hard and soft money can purchase. I will pray for all of you, especially my country I fought for 30 years trying to protect. God bless you, and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.