Senator James Webb, D-Va, has been fighting to obtain a new version of the G.I. Bill of Rights for veterans of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan without any active support from the Bush administration. He wants adaptation of the post WWII bill that provided free tuition, payments for books, and living stipend. That version of veteran benefits played an hisoric role in transforming American society by educating millions. Senator Webb told Defense Secretary Robert Gates, he would like to get the bill passed this year” We’ve been working on it for a year. We’ve been trying to get the other side to understand that this is not a political issue.” Republican Senator John Warner reached over and announced to his comrade from Virginia that he would support such a bill.
Democat Senator Levin asked Gates to at least provide the Pentagon’s view and respond to the request for a new version of veteran benefits. President Bush loves making speeches condemning Democratic opponents of failing to “support our fighting men” but he is surprisingly quiet when it comes to paying for those servicemen. He opposed the 3.5% pay raise put forth by Democratic leadership as “excessive” and he initially refused to go along with expanding mental health efforts. The Republican party is verbally a great supporter of our fighting men and women, but when it comes to paying out money the Bush administration has never seen a tax cut for the wealthy that is not worthy of support. As for servicemen, they will receive words, not dollars.