Friday, May 23, 2008

McBush HATES Vets!!!

This is from today's Progress Report ... why is McCain (who really should change his name to "McBush") so anti-Vet??? ... he has no problem paying government contractors BILLIONS of dollars but doesn't want to help Veterans that want to get a higher education ... it's time for the Democrats to start Swift Boating this Vet hater ... why didn't he show up for this IMPORTANT vote??? ... OBAMA SHOWED UP!!!:

Missing In Action

On Monday, the nation will join its nearly 24 million veterans in remembering the American heroes who have lost their lives in war. Yesterday, the Senate honored U.S. troops by passing a 21st Century GI Bill, expanding educational benefits for veterans who joined the service after Sept. 11, 2001. "Congress today resolutely asserted that it is time for those of us who have been calling on these brave men and women to serve again and again to assist in providing a meaningful chance for a first-class future," said Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA), who sponsored the legislation. Seventy-five senators voted to fund veterans yesterday, providing a veto-proof majority. Yet not only did Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) not vote for the bill, he didn't even show up to vote (the only other senators missing were Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-CA), for health reasons, and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), who had to attend a funeral). In the past, McCain has promised to "do everything" in his power to look after the nation's military. But a look at his record on veterans issues shows that he has unfortunately favored conservative pandering instead.

A COMPREHENSIVE NEW GI BILL: Yesterday's vote on the 21st Century GI Bill was 75-22. The legislation garnered wide bipartisan support, including Republican cosponsors Sens. Chuck Hagel (NE) and John Warner (VA). Under the bill, members of the military who have served on active duty since 9/11 are eligible to receive education benefits equaling the highest tuition rate of the most expensive in-state public college or university, along with a monthly stipend for housing determined by geographical area. It would also "create a program in which the government would provide a dollar-for-dollar match to contributions from private educational institutions with higher tuition rates than those covered under the bill." Despite claims by McCain and the White House, Webb's bill would help the military's enlistment rate. The new GI bill "is projected to cost about $2.5 billion per year," roughly the cost of U.S. operations in Iraq for one week.

DASHING HOPES AND DREAMS: McCain, however, opposes these generous benefits for troops' education. He instead signed onto a watered-down, Bush administration-approved version offered by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). This legislation would exclude many servicemembers by reserving the most generous benefits for soldiers who have served at least 12 years. It would also shortchange National Guard and Reserve members, offering them fewer benefits. McCain likes to say that as a former soldier, he understands what is best for veterans. But his version of the GI Bill was opposed by the national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), and the American Legion. More than eight in 10 members of the American public also support a comprehensive GI Bill. Kristofer Goldsmith, who served in Sadr City and was stop-lossed after returning home, testified to Congress on May 15 that he had attempted suicide and was discharged. Because he couldn't serve a second term, he had to forfeit his "one hope and dream" to go to college under the GI Bill. "And currently there is a Senator in Congress currently running for president, who is fighting to kill our Webb GI bill," said Goldsmith. "And I'm one of the soldiers who will never get that money."

FAILING GRADES: McCain's record on supporting veterans is one of the worst in Congress. IAVA has given him a grade of a "D" for voting against veterans' priorities so often between 2000 and 2006. A scorecard of roll call votes compiled by the Disabled American Veterans found that McCain has voted for veterans funding bills only 20 percent of the time. For example, in May 2006, he voted against an amendment providing $20 billion to the Department of Veteran Affairs's (VA) medical facilities. In April 2006, he was one of just 13 senators to vote against providing $430 million to the VA for outpatient care "and treatment for veterans." McCain has railed against comprehensive universal health care and wants to give veterans the "freedom to choose to carry their V.A. dollars to a provider that gives them the timely care at high quality and in the best location." But as New York Times columnist Paul Krugman notes, "[T]he Veterans Health Administration is one of the few clear American success stories in the struggle to contain health care costs. ... [I]t's an integrated system -- a system that takes long-term responsibility for its clients' health -- to deliver an impressive combination of high-quality care and low costs." McCain's plan, however, would "privatize and, in effect, dismantle the V.A." In his narrow-sighted focus on eliminating earmarks, McCain may also cut funding for military housing.


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