As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Bush Dogs Dig War, Can't Stand Veterans

So the House was supposed to vote on war funding today, which I didn't exactly support. What I did support was extending unemployment insurance and veteran's benefits in a new GI Bill, and since the Democrats were so cowardly about giving a blank check to the President on Iraq, they might as well get something in return, and anyway vet benefits ought to be part of military expenditures anyway. But it turns out the Bush Dogs want that blank check for war to be blank.

A small group of fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats is threatening to block the emergency war spending bill over a program for veterans’ benefits not offset with tax hikes or spending cuts.

Because of that problem, and the efforts by House Republicans to stall floor action with procedural motions, the vote on the carefully crafted supplemental measure could be delayed until Friday or next week.

“Some of us oppose creating a new entitlement program in an emergency spending bill, whether it’s butchers, bakers or candlestick-makers,” said Rep. John Tanner (D-Tenn.), a founding member of the Blue Dog Coalition who serves on the House leadership team as a deputy whip.

The so-called GI Bill of Rights, authored by Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), would give veterans money for college and cost $720 million in its first two years. But critics say that could grow to billions in future years.

Bush Dogs want fiscal responsibility while giving the President $200 billion dollars OFF THE BOOKS for an unnecessary war. Their hard fiscal line softens in the face of American imperialist adventures.

According to CongressDaily the Bush Dogs are also whining because one of their members, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, didn't get HER GI Bill to the floor in favor of Jim Webb's. So this is about turf wars, too.

The Pentagon has said that the new GI Bill would be bad because it would "reward" soldiers who haven't served six years, because apparently 5 years in combat zones isn't enough of a commitment to service. But what the Bush Dogs are saying is worse. They're hiding behind a twisted notion of fiscal responsibility to deny veterans the honors they deserve no matter how long their service. And this is because they're Bush's biggest allies in Congress, desiring only to please him by offering a clean bill funding the Iraq debacle well into the future.

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