Saturday, May 10, 2008

Stars & Stripes for Webb

The headline at Stars & Stripes reads: "In battle over GI Bills, Webb still holds high ground." And indeed he does.

Last year, Sen. Jim Webb introduced a new GI bill that increases military educational benefits to equal benefits soldiers from World War II, Korea and Vietnam received under the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944.

In a desperate last-minute act of muddying the waters (as if GIs wouldn't notice), Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina introduced a bill with less money for soldiers.

But of course, soldiers noticed. "Service associations and veterans groups... signal[ed] a preference for Webb’s bill, citing its more generous benefits, enough to cover tuition and fees for the most expensive public college in any state, plus a monthly stipend based on local rental costs. generous benefits."

Webb’s bill would allow Reserve and Guard members who mobilized multiple times to earn the same GI Bill benefits as active duty peers. Finally, the Webb plan is designed so that benefits automatically keep pace with the cost of public college education.


Retired Army Col. Bob Norton, an education benefits expert with the Military Officers Association of America, said Graham’s bill does have some terrific features. But Norton said only the Webb bill delivers on both goals set for GI Bill reform by The Military Coalition, a consortium of service associations and veterans groups. First, it would raise benefits enough to cover at least the average cost of a public college education and has an effective mechanism to keep them there.
McCain stupidly took his "cue from Defense Department objections" and signed his name on the alternative bill.

Nonetheless, it seems the bill's prospects are good. The measure with 58 senate cosponsors was tucked inside the "$195 billion emergency war-funding package." Let's see Bush veto that puppy.

Stay tuned...

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