Inside the Beltway: Only 91 military veterans in Congress

There are currently 19.5 million military veterans in the U.S., according to statistics from the Department of Veterans Affairs. But there are only 91 vets — 63 Republicans and 28 Democrats — in Congress, the lowest number “at least since World War II,” according to an analysis from the Pew Research Center.

“We are currently suffering a crisis of leadership in Congress, which, I firmly believe, is a direct result of having the lowest veteran representation in Congress since World War II. That’s a sad state of affairs as we head into Veterans Day this Thursday, and I am looking to personally change that narrative,” says John Castorani, a U.S. Army Special Ops combat veteran and self-described conservative Republican now running for the seat in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District.

The veteran population is a complex one, meanwhile. It consists of 8,051,000 who served during the Gulf War era; 6,258,000 who served in the Vietnam era, 1,096,000 who were in the Korean conflict and 326,000 who served in World War II.

Meanwhile, the Friends of the National World War II Memorial and the National Park Service will pay tribute to the “Greatest Generation” during a special Veterans Day observance at the National World War II Memorial on Thursday at 9 a.m. Eastern time. The event will be streamed live at Facebook.com/WWIIMemorialFriends.

In addition, the memorial itself maintains a public “Registry of Remembrances” of those who served in the military or on the home front. Want to honor someone? Find details at WWIImemorial.com.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund also will stream their “2021 Veteran’s Day Ceremony at the Wall” — meant to pay tribute to all service members, regardless of what conflict they served in. The ceremony begins at 1 p.m. Eastern time. Find the particulars at Vvmf.org.

‘DEMOCRACY UNDER ATTACK’

The majority of voters agree that “American democracy is under attack” at this very moment. A Politico/Morning Consult poll of registered voters has addressed that possibility, and here’s what they found.

Among all voters, 53% agree that democracy is threatened. That includes 64% of Republicans, 55% of independents and 40% of Democrats. Another 66% of conservatives, 40% of moderates and a noteworthy 46% of liberals also agree.

Among respondents who most fervently believe democracy is under attack are people over age 65 (67%), rural residents (64%) and those who voted for Donald Trump in 2020 (69%).

Those who are convinced that democracy is in peril are Republicans who believe that the 2022 midterm elections “will not be fair.” The poll found that 83% of these voters feel this way.

In the meantime, those who least believe that democracy is under attack are people who did not vote in 2020, at 33%.

The survey also found that 37% of all voters say American democracy is being tested, but is not under attack, while only 10% believe that democracy is “not in danger.”

The poll of 1,998 registered U.S. voters was conducted Nov. 5-7.

NO FREE LUNCH

By now, most Americans know the unfortunate and depressing news that consumer prices rose 6.2% in October according to new data from the Labor Department, compared to last year. It is the largest spike in three decades, and it’s taken place on President Biden’s watch.

But some wonder what Mr. Biden knows as he drops $1.8 trillion on his “Build Back Better” infrastructure bill.

Now is not the time to waste trillions in taxpayer dollars on Biden’s ‘Build Back Broke’ agenda,” counters Tommy Pigott, rapid response director for the Republican National Committee.

“Biden still hasn’t learned the first lesson of economics. There is no such thing as a free lunch. And right now, every American is paying more for their own lunches,” he advises.

And speaking of lunches, Tyson Foods, Conagra and Kraft Heinz have notified their retail customers in recent weeks that they will raise prices in January for frozen and refrigerated meats — yes, that includes sausage and assorted lunch meats. So says a CNN Business report released Wednesday based on supplier letters sent to wholesale customers, and viewed by the news organization.

“Tyson sent a letter to at least two regional distributors last month in which it said that prices on Ball Park, Hillshire Farm, Jimmy Dean, State Fair and all deli meats will increase by a range of 5% to 10.2% beginning Jan. 2 for all retail customers,” the report said.

YOUR HANDY SHIP UPDATE

“Supply chain crisis” has become a very popular term recently, deployed by the press to explain mystery food and supply shortages, among other matters. Here’s the latest data on that subject.

The number of container ships lurking off the coast of Southern California reached new records on Tuesday.

“According to data from the Marine Exchange, a total of 111 container ships are bobbing at sea around the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, waiting to dock and unload. That breaks the previous record of 108 vessels reported on October 21,” said a Markets Insider report on Wednesday.

“The two ports remain clogged despite efforts to speed up the processing of containers amid a surge in consumer demand for goods.

The White House announced a shift to an around-the-clock schedule in October and a new looming threat of fines for leaving containers on the docks for several days,” the news organization said.

“The two ports said they would begin fining shipping companies $100 a day for every container left on the docks. The ports started collecting data at the start of November and will begin charging the companies on November 15,” the Insider noted.

POLL OF THE DAY

• 53% of registered U.S. voters say the U.S. economy is “getting worse”; 84% of those who voted for then-President Trump and 25% of those who voted for then-former Vice President Joseph R. Biden agree.

• 24% overall say the economy is “about the same” as it was last year; 10% of Trump voters and 41% of Biden voters agree.

• 14% overall say the economy is “getting better”; 3% of Trump voters and 26% of Biden voters agree.

• 10% overall are not sure about the state of the economy; 3% of Trump voters and 9% of Biden voters agree.

Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted Oct. 24-25 and released Nov. 10.

Have a productive Veterans Day, and thanks for reading Inside the Beltway.

Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.

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