The Return of the Toe-Tapping, Vet-Bashing Larry Craig
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Larry Craig is baaack... According to Sam Stein at HuffPo, the so-called "Family Values" Senator from Idaho is out of the men's room stall and back in the national spotlight. Craig, who gained notoriety last year for allegedly soliciting sex in a Minneapolis airport bathroom, announced plans to amend the Iraq war supplemental bill currently before Congress in order to remove Jim Webb's GI Bill for the 21st Century.
Though Webb's bill has gained immense bi-partisan support in the Senate (it now has 57 co-sponsors from across the aisle, with 60 being the target number to ensure safe passage), it still faces stiff opposition in both House and Senate. Last week, the Blue Dogs delayed the GI Bill's passage, claiming that Democratic leaders needed to offset its costs, even though these fiscally conservative Democrats have favored Bush's supplementals for years.
Of course, John McCain has been the biggest hypocrite of all on Webb's bill. McCain and his crony Lindsey Graham have refused to co-sponsor Webb's bill, claiming it would cause the retention rate in the military to drop. Of course, a recent report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) concluded just the opposite. But that hasn't stopped McCain, whose adviser actually misquoted the CBO report yesterday on FOX News.
What Craig, McCain, and Graham want is a pathetic update of the antiquated GI Bill currently in existence. Their version would force vets to serve 12 years before earning the maximum $2,000 a month in benefits. Still, the funniest part of all of this is that because Craig has become an outspoken critic of the GI Bill, McCain has inadvertently aligned himself with the much maligned Republican Senator. Wonder if Dems will use this to sink McCain's alternate GI Bill.
ZP Heller is the editorial director of Brave New Films. He has written for The American Prospect, AlterNet, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Huffington Post, covering everything from politics to pop culture.