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Posted: 10/4/2004 11:56:27 PM EDT
Fucking dummycunt morons, you guys had 8 fucking years of President Bill Clinton to pass these bills, yet it takes a Republican President acting with a Republican controlled Congress (almost) to get these bills on the table and you fuckers have the balls to bitch about it?

October 04, 2004

While veterans’ bills languish, Hill Democrat blames Republicans

By Rick Maze
Times staff writer

A top Democrat complained Monday that Republican leaders seem to be holding hostage two important veterans bills.

One would increase GI Bill education benefits for veterans attending vocational school and increase the maximum home loan available to service members and veterans. The second bill updates the financial and employment protections of mobilized Guard and reserve members.

Rep. Lane Evans of Illinois, ranking Democrat on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said the bills have bipartisan support and should have been dealt with long ago.

“For as long as I can remember, once veterans’ benefits bills were reported out of this committee, the majority leadership would see to it that the bills received priority in scheduling for floor action,” Evans said in a statement. “The men and women who serve this nation have earned these benefits. They do not deserve partisan gamesmanship, political grudges, misplaced priorities or whatever is causing these bills to be delayed.

Peter Dickinson, a spokesman for the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said, “We continue to work with our leadership and our counterparts in the Senate to get these bills passed and to the president.”

Republican aides, speaking on the condition of not being identified, said scheduling bills for consideration on the House floor has proven difficult this year and gets harder as the session nears an end.

The delay also is due in part to an effort by lawmakers to try to cut short the legislative process on veterans’ bills by reaching an agreement between the House and Senate veterans’ committees over details of the bills before a House vote, rather than waiting until the House and Senate each approve their separate measures.

The Senate has not passed any major veterans’ bill this year. Even the annual cost-of-living adjustment in veterans’ disability and survivors benefits has not been completed, something lawmakers must approve by mid-November for the increase to take effect on Dec. 1.

The education benefits bill, HR 1716, was approved in June by the House veterans’ committee.

Under current law, veterans can receive GI Bill benefits while taking part in approved on-the-job training and apprenticeship programs. Generally, veterans can receive $675 a month for the first six months of training, $496 for the second three months and $315 a month for the remainder of the training.

The bill, cosponsored by Evans and Rep. Christopher Smith, R-N.J., the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee chairman, would increase payments by 10 percent and allow for a lump-sum payment at the end of the training in an effort to encourage veterans to finish as quickly as possible.

Also included in HR 1716 is a big jump in the maximum guarantee for veterans’ home loans. Current law limits VA loans to $240,000. The bill would raise the limit to $333,700, with future caps linked to hikes in other federal loan guarantee programs so the veterans’ program would stay competitive.

The second delayed bill is HR 4658, approved by the House veterans’ committee on July 21. It attempts to clarify some aspects of the current protections provided by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act, including provisions allowing leases on automobiles and housing to be canceled when service members are deployed or reassigned.

It also increases the period in which a mobilized reservist can be covered by an employer-provided health plan and sets up new procedures for handling complaints about re-employment after being discharged from active duty.

One reason why Evans is worried about the fate of the bills is the possibility that Congress plans to go home at the end of the week, leaving the bills hanging. While lawmakers are expected to be back at work after the election in November, it isn’t clear how much work will be accomplished during what is called a “lame duck” session, other than to finish the major appropriations bills needed to keep the government running.

“It would be a shame if veterans had to wait for a lame-duck session or even longer to see us take action,” Evans said.
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