Free Lance-Star reporter Chelyen Davis covers Virginia government.
Kaine goes after Allen on troop funding; VBA debate to be broadcast on radio
Earlier this week Republican U.S. Senate candidate George Allen criticized Democratic rival Tim Kaine for supporting last year’s bipartisan debt ceiling deal in Congress that resulted in billions of dollars in potential federal budget cuts that could start early next year. The cuts would take a big chunk out of defense and the industries that rely on it.
Kaine said he supported the deal because it would save the U.S. from defaulting on its debts, and wants Congress to work to alter the actual budget cuts now. Now he’s going on offense on the issue, today launching a web video that accuses Allen of voting against funding for military needs during his previous term in the Senate.
The video reiterates criticisms Kaine has made against Allen previously — he says Allen as senator voted for new and sometimes frivolous spending without accompanying revenue actions — and then moves into the accusation about voting against equipment and tax relief for troops.
“Only one candidate has voted to create a massive deficit while voting against our troops,” the video says.
It appears to be a web-only video, not an ad that will air on television. Allen is running a TV ad about his opposition to the potential defense cuts.
“It speaks volumes about George Allen’s priorities that in a term where he voted for more than 52,000 earmarks and four times to raise his own pay, he also voted against resources and tax credits for the men and women fighting in wars he authorized,” said Kaine press secretary Lily Adams in a news release about the video.
The release cited several votes on troop-related issues, mostly amendments proposed to broader bills in Congress.
Allen’s camp said the accusations about troop funding have been made, and debunked, in the 2006 race, when Allen lost the Senate seat to Jim Webb. Factcheck.org at the time said the votes in question were not specifically about body armor, and the Allen campaign says Allen did vote for other troop-related measures.
“By using past lies and distortions that were proven to be false, it seems like Tim Kaine has reverted to the Washington style of doing things that he learned during his time as Democrat National Committee Chairman,” said Allen spokeswoman Emily Davis in a press release.
The defense cuts issue first arose in last Saturday’s Senate debate at the Homestead, which was sponsored by the Virginia Bar Association. The debate wasn’t televised, but the VBA said today it will be broadcast on public radio this Sunday.
In the Richmond area you can listen to the radio broadcast on 88.9 at 6:06 p.m.; in the Northern Neck, it will air on 89.1. The debate podcast is also available online: http://ideastations.org/radio/archive/2012-07-23-kaine-allen-meet-in-debate-for-senate-seat