Mike Garcia | The Moment Demands Leadership

Mike Garcia

The tragic and ongoing assault on Israel – America’s closest Middle East ally – is not an isolated event. It is the latest installment in the unraveling of global order under this administration, and it is a warning of how dangerous the world is to become if we do not correct course. 

That course correction demands two major changes in Washington, D.C.

First, Congress needs to get serious about policy and end the political gamesmanship.

Second, the White House needs to get serious about its support of our military.

I’ll start with addressing the first change, the need for which I see every day in the halls of Congress.

Earlier this month, Kevin McCarthy was ousted as speaker of the House. 

This unprecedented and unnecessary move carried immense implications: America’s reputation for stability once again weakened, a government shutdown looming, and a sudden leadership shuffle in the People’s House.

That’s the result of an effort conducted by unserious people with no plan or platform – they were driven not by policy, but by an opportunity to grab the spotlight and beat money out of online donors.

On the other side of the Capitol, Sen. Tommy Tuberville and the Pentagon continue their social-policy war – both of whom are at fault for the ongoing lapse in military support and readiness, regardless of how you feel about the issue at hand.

Sen. Tuberville should be looking for an exit from his box canyon, and he has been offered the ability to put his objections on the record – in a manner that isn’t disruptive to our military personnel – with an amendment to the defense policy bill. 

But the Pentagon is also at fault for deliberately wading into a political fight and mortgaging the public’s trust to make a statement on social policy.

President Joe Biden is similarly guilty of failing to prioritize military-related policy over politics. 

I personally wrote the updated pay tables in this year’s defense spending bill that would ensure our junior enlisted troops receive a historic pay raise. President Biden threatened to veto the defense spending bill because of this pay raise. 

He inexplicably argues that it would “remove an important incentive for enlisted members to seek increased responsibilities and earn promotions … harming military readiness.” 

How can he deny our troops a pay raise while simultaneously advocating for increased spending on diversity, equity and inclusion training and other social-justice programs in the military?

President Biden also continues to insist that more aid be sent into Gaza, despite knowing where that aid ends up: In the hands of Hamas terrorists. 

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (Unrwa) was recently robbed of fuel and medical equipment – it’s been confirmed that those 24,000 liters of fuel and medical supplies went to Hamas, whose underground bases use diesel generators. 

The U.S. taxpayer covers that tab, as President Biden has been Unrwa’s largest donor at $344 million in 2022.

All of this comes at a time when the United States faces problems of a magnitude unseen since World War II. 

Abroad, our allies are under attack and our enemies grow bolder by the day. 

At home, we face deep political divisions, historic levels of debt and inflation, and a recruitment and retention crisis in our military.

This is a moment that demands serious legislating and serious leadership.

House Republicans need to end the showmanship and work hard to pass common-sense, conservative policy that keeps the government open, cuts spending and secures the border.

Sen. Tuberville and senior Pentagon officials need to come to the table with a shared mission: Ensure the U.S. military isn’t further co-opted for partisan purposes. 

I believe that’s a cause everyone in Washington can support, regardless of the letter next to their name.

President Biden needs to increase defense spending – a reversal from his three-year run of budget requests that cut defense spending while substantially increasing nondefense spending – and make clear that our military has one mission: Deter and win wars.

Whether we like it or not, the world looks to America for leadership. Today’s global disorder is a product of leaders and legislators in Washington – on both sides of the aisle – prioritizing a personal or political agenda over a greater, more fundamental American agenda.

But it’s not too late to change course, and the next step is clear: Washington’s workhorses need to take the wheel, and the show horses need to take a back seat.

I believe the majority of my colleagues in Congress have the political will necessary to meet the moment. For the sake of the American people, the people of Israel, and all our freedom-loving allies around the world, I hope I’m right.

Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, represents the 27th Congressional District, which includes the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys. “Right Here, Right Now” appears Saturdays and rotates among local Republicans.

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