Despite the fact that President Bush has already threatened to veto it, 25 Republicans sided with the Democrats today in passing a war spending bill. By a veto proof vote of 75-22, the Senate agreed to spend an extra $10 billion to strengthen the GI Bill, add 13 weeks of unemployment benefits, and provide heating subsidies to the poor.
President Bush has already threatened to veto the $165 billion bill because he sees it as too expensive. Republican presidential candidate John McCain couldn’t be bothered enough to interrupt his campaign schedule to actually go to the Senate and do his job, but he supports the Bush position on the bill. Both Democratic presidential candidates did vote for the bill today.
In fact, Barack Obama took a shot at John McCain for not supporting the bill, “I respect Senator John McCain’s service to our country,” Obama said. “But I can’t understand why he would line up behind the president in opposition to this G.I. Bill. I can’t believe why he believes it is too generous to our veterans.”
McCain fired back with a press release saying that Obama doesn’t understand the issue, “Perhaps, if Senator Obama would take the time and trouble to understand this issue he would learn to debate an honest disagreement respectfully. But, as he always does, he prefers impugning the motives of his opponent, and exploiting a thoughtful difference of opinion to advance his own ambitions. If that is how he would behave as President, the country would regret his election.”
McCain also called Obama’s remarks today a cheap shot. The real reason why McCain doesn’t support the bill is because the Pentagon opposes it on the grounds that it is too generous and it passage might hurt retention rates in the military. McCain is more worried about keeping the troops in Iraq than he is interested in what happens to them when they come home.
The Senate completely ignored President Bush because this is an election year and proposals such as the GI bill, levee repair, unemployment insurance, and heating assistance are popular. While McCain is busy posturing to appease his political base, the nation is moving on with its business. It seems to me that we all would be better able to conduct our affairs without a President McCain.
McCain press release can be read here