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With Memorial Day around the corner, Sen. John McCain and his allies are reaching out to Virginia Democratic Sen. Jim Webb in the hope of finding a compromise on a GI Bill that would eliminate a potential embarrassment for the Arizona Republican’s presidential campaign.Read the whole thing - along with coverage of the Republican attempt to attach their alternative bill to other legislation in the Senate (and no matter how you may feel about it, that bill has a snowball's chance), a House proposal to "tax the rich" to pay for the benefit, and a Senate vow to eliminate that provision.
It was McCain who instigated a letter to Webb signed by himself and two fellow Republicans on Monday, in an effort to end a standoff between the two Vietnam veterans. Discussions followed Tuesday between Webb and McCain ally Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and late in the day there was a staff meeting that lasted more than an hour.
It is too early to predict what will come of the discussions, but Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), a former Senate Armed Services Committee chairman who has served as an intermediary of sorts between the Webb and McCain camps, was hopeful.
“I think it’s an exciting chapter. I’m enjoying every minute of it,” Warner told Politico. “We’re going to get it. I’ll bet your bottom dollar we get it. ... I’ll give you odds we’re going to win.”
Webb has steadily picked up support for his proposal and this week moved within two votes of the 60 needed to overcome procedural obstacles in the Senate.
Webb is in a strong enough political position that he will be reluctant to make major changes. But it is also in the Virginian’s interest to bring as many senators, including his friend McCain, into the same camp.
The letter sent Monday is conciliatory in tone, expressing a “sincere interest in working with you on one of the most important issues that may come before the Senate this year: a revitalized GI Bill program.”
“Each of us supports increasing education benefits for our nation’s veterans, and we believe this must be accomplished as quickly as possible,” reads the letter, signed by McCain, Graham and Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.). The three Republicans go on to say that they have “never disagreed with the overall intent” of the Webb bill but would like more attention to problems of recruitment and retention as well as “in-service education of career servicemen and women.”
I checked McCain's campaign blog for any mention of the GI Bill issue (specifically I was hoping to see the full text of that letter) - but they're currently foot stomping McCain's solution for "climate change".
Update: GI Bill Passes Senate
I'm a civilian, so my viewpoints are from the outside looking in. But I agree with you. As a Dem, I do not believe they are sincere with this GI Bill, like you said. They are using the soldiers as political fodder and will easily forget them (and Ft Bragg and Walter Reed) if they dominate Washington in November.
But if McCain - like Bush - allows Webb and others to frame the bill like that it will hurt him.
He needs to challenge them and demand a stand alone bill. Or he can sign it and keep his reputation (while the Dems sweat on how they are going to keep this promise)
I think Congress should impose a surcharge tax say 50% of all profits from both Hollywood and music industry, divide it up and send a monthly check to those who serve; call it a 'Military Members Deserve It More than Useful Idiots' tax.Posted by syn at May 15, 2008 10:08 AM
I second that emotion! If we could put a sur-tax on Hollywood elitists, and hand it out to our men and women in uniform, it would be a great day! Their condescending remarks about the bravest and brightest, will have little sway and perhaps they will think twice about offending those who protect them, once they are paying them!
Yeah, those Hollywood elitists like your conservative demigods Ronald Reagan and John Wayne? How about Mel Gibson? Is he an elitist too? Or should he be exempt? How about turning your ire on the executives of Exxon Mobil or Goldman Sachs? Oh, of course we couldn'd do that....they're the GOOD rich people!Posted by Ricki at May 15, 2008 05:12 PM
How about turning your ire on the executives of Exxon Mobil or Goldman Sachs?
Because the Democrat Party already does this?
Here's my other idea:
Since life without entertainment means death therefore it is a Universal Right we all have free Entertainment how about we Nationalize Entertainment; all the studios are under government control dolling out free movies, music, concerts, magazines, theater, dance so that hard-working Americans can spend their own hard-earned dollars on their own health care of choice.
I am sure artists, musician, actors, writers, directors painters, gaffers, lighters and various other professions in the Entertainment Industry are benevolent, humane and caring enough to give it all up to serve a greater good.Posted by syn at May 16, 2008 06:08 PM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(5) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)