U.S. Senator Wants to Revoke Funding From City of Berkeley, Calif., for Vote to Boot Marines
WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., says the City of Berkeley, Calif., no longer deserves federal money.
DeMint was angered after learning that the Berkeley City Council voted this week to tell the U.S. Marine Corps to remove its recruiting station from the city's downtown.
Saturday, February 02, 2008
"This is a slap in the face to all brave service men and women and their families," DeMint said in a prepared statement. "The First Amendment gives the City of Berkeley the right to be idiotic, but from now on they should do it with their own money."
"If the city can’t show respect for the Marines that have fought, bled and died for their freedom, Berkeley should not be receiving special taxpayer-funded handouts," he added.
Sen. DeMint will appear Saturday on FOX News Channel — on FOX Online With Jamie Colby — between noon and 2 p.m. ET.
In the meantime, a senior Marine official tells FOX News that the Marine office in Berkeley isn't going anywhere.
"We understand things are different there, but some people just don't get it. This is a part of the military machine that gives them the right to do what they do, but what they are doing is extreme," the official said.
DeMint said he will draft legislation to rescind any earmarks dedicated for the City of Berkeley in the recently passed appropriations bill — which his office tallied to value about $2.1 million. He said that any money taken back would be transferred to the Marines.
DeMint's office provided a preliminary list of items that would be subject to his proposal:
— $975,000 for the University of California at Berkeley, for the Matsui Center for Politics and Public Service, which may include establishing an endowment, and for cataloguing the papers of Congressman Robert Matsui.
— $750,000 for the Berkeley/Albana ferry service.
— $243,000 for the Chez Panisse Foundation, for a school lunch initiative to integrate lessons about wellness, sustainability and nutrition into the academic curriculum.
— $94,000 for a Berkeley public safety interoperability program.
— $87,000 for the Berkeley Unified School District, nutrition education program.
The Marine official, speaking with FOX News on Friday, said Marine Commandant Gen. James Conway scoffed at the news, but there are no plans for to protest the City Council's decisions. There are definitely no plans to move the recruiting station either.
"To actually put something into law that encourages the disruption of a federal office is ridiculous. They are not going to kick a federal office out of its rightful place there, and this is not going to discourage those young patriots who want to be Marines," the official said.
The Berkeley City Council this week voted to tell the Marines their downtown recruiting station is not welcome and "if recruiters choose to stay, they do so as uninvited and unwelcome guests," according to The Associated Press.
The council also voted to explore whether a city anti-discrimination law applies to the Marines, with a focus on the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy that prevents open homosexuality in the military.
The council also voted to give the antiwar group Code Pink a parking space in front of the recruiting office once a week for six months, as well as a protest permit.
The Marine recruiting office in Berkeley has been open for about one year, but has been the subject of recent protests by Code Pink members.
FOX News' Justin Fishel and Trish Turner contributed to this report.