Saturday, April 26, 2008

Wyoming delegation: Support G.I. Bill!

Fifth-seven Senators and 241 House members have thus far signed on as co-sponsors for Sen. James Webb’s 21st Century G.I. Bill for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

On the Senate list, I see the names of both senators from Montana, one senator from Nebraska (Republican) and one from Colorado (Democrat).

Neither of the two senators from Wyoming have signed on. Their names are Sen. Mike Enzi of Gillette and Sen. John Barrasso of Casper. Both are Republicans. Call or e-mail them and ask them why they hate the troops. Our esteemed Republican Representative, lame duck Barbara Cubin, is not on the list of House supporters. Rep. Cubin, why do you hate the troops? Call her and find out.

Both Democratic presidential candidates have signed on as co-sponsors. No sign of presumptive Republican nominee John McCain, Vietnam veteran and former POW.

According to Sen. Webb’s web site

...more than two hundred veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan from across the country will converge on Capitol Hill Tuesday, April 29, to join Senator Webb and members of Congress advocating a "21st Century GI Bill" for our newest generation of veterans. The group will call for immediate legislative action on the "Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act."

"We need to move expeditiously to get this vital piece of legislation passed this year for our returning Iraq and Afghanistan service members," said Webb. "After six and a half years of service, our nation's men and women in uniform deserve a GI Bill that rewards their service and invests in their future. The educational benefits in this bill are crucial to a service member's readjustment to civilian life and as a cost of war that should receive the same priority that funding the war has received the last five years."

The Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act is designed to offer the brave men and women who have served honorably since September 11, 2001 a level of educational benefits on par with those provided to veterans of the World War II era. The legislation will give our returning troops the tools to succeed after military service, strengthen our economy in the face of increasing global competition, and make military service more attractive as we work to rebuild our military.

As luck would have it, I’ll be on Capitol Hill Tuesday on another errand, which includes lunch with a variety of Senators and Representatives who support the arts. Perhaps we can invite the veterans to lunch with us, and they can tell us why the 21st Century G.I. Bill is a good idea, one that needs overwhelming support from both sides of the aisle.

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