'One-vote Barrasso' rebuked by GOP
April 14, 2022
CODY — The Park County Republican Party may be setting its sights on a new target of animosity even before its campaign against U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney has completed. That target is U.S. Sen. John Barrasso.
“It’s a disgrace,” Park County committeeman Tim Lasseter said. “He’s headed down the path of Liz Cheney.”
At its meeting last Thursday, the party voted unanimously to send a letter reprimanding Barrasso for his vote to support the $1.5 trillion government spending bill that passed through the Senate on March 15. Within this dense, 2,741 page legislation is funding that can be used by Planned Parenthood, the biggest abortion provider in the United States.
Barrasso was the lone member of Wyoming’s delegation to vote for the bill.
The bill passed with a 68-31 vote, with U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis voting against it, as did Cheney in the House.
The bill provides more than $286 million for family planning and additional $575 million for family planning internationally.
Due to the Hyde Amendment, family planning organizations like Planned Parenthood cannot used governmental funds directly toward performing abortion services, but the Catholic News Agency reports that pro-life groups argue that by receiving funds for certain services it can free up other monies for performing abortions.
“While this legislation was far from perfect, Republicans in the Senate negotiated nearly $65 billion in savings over President Biden’s budget request,” Barrasso’s secretary Gaby Hurt said. “The bill secured increased funding for the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, increased funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and restored $2 billion in funding for border wall construction.”
The county party censured Cheney in 2021 for speaking out against former President Donald Trump and his alleged role in sparking the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. In August, the county party sent a letter saying it no longer recognized her as a Republican, followed by the State GOP a few months later.
“Next time he’s next,” Park County Committeeman Troy Bray said, referring to Barrasso’s next election race, which if he decides to run in, would take place in 2024.
The criticism against Cheney has nothing to do with abortion. In fact, the representative has been one of the staunchest opponents of abortion, as has Barrasso.
Planned Parenthood and Pro Choice America both gave Barrasso a zero score four years in a row due to his votes on abortion issues. Similarly, pro life organization Susan B. Anthony List gave Barasso an A+ grade.
“Senator Barrasso has stood up against extremist nominees of the pro-abortion Biden-Harris administration, against pro-abortion action both in the administration and through legislation advanced by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer,” the List reported. “Sen. Barrasso has voted consistently to defend the lives of the unborn and infants. This includes stopping hard-earned tax dollars from paying for abortion, whether domestically or internationally, and protecting health care provider rights for those who refuse to engage in brutal abortions.”
The organization also said Barrasso spoke in opposition to the confirmation of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra due to his stance on abortion.
But if voting with a flawless conservative record or in lockstep with former President Donald Trump is the mark to meet, Barrasso does come up a little short, which may be part of the Park County GOP’s hostility for the fourth-term senator.
According to political database FiveThirtyEight, 11% of Barrasso’s career votes were not aligned with Trump, including his vote to certify the 2020 election results in Pennsylvania and Arizona. Cheney agreed with Trump on all but 7.1% of issues over her career.
In a recent phone conversation with Barrasso, Park County GOP Chairman Martin Kimmet said the senator defended his vote by saying the money cannot be used for performing abortions.
“He said, ‘It’s just one vote,’” Kimmet recalled.
This prompted committeeman Brad Kolb of Powell to chime in and describe the senator as “one vote Barasso,” bringing great laughter from the audience and a few more references to this moniker over the course of the meeting.
The Planned Parenthood appropriation made up less than .1% of the total bill funding.
Certain members of Congress have gained a reputation for not fully reading through all of the bills they are voting on, a speculation a few committee members attributed to Barrasso in this instance.
Kimmet said if Barrasso had voted against the bill, “he could’ve turned the 18 other (Republican) votes in the Senate and turned that bill,” because of his leadership and influence within the body. Barrasso is the Chair of the Senate Republican Conference and is a ranking member of the Senate Energy Committee.
Lasseter said constituents are doing a much better job following the actions of their elected officials than they had in the past. He said he initially supported a formal censure of Barasso, but stepped back from that idea when decided it would have weakened the impact of the Cheney censure.
The Park County GOP has, of late, been one of the first county parties to react in Wyoming when it comes to chastising elected officials deemed not conservative enough. When it came to the Cheney censure, 19 other county parties followed suit along with the state party. The Republican National Committee censured her in February.
“It’s now more important than ever to hold electeds accountable,” committeeman Richard Jones said.
This story was published on April 13, 2022.