Brown-Waite: Seeking converts among conservatives
Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Brooksville, is trying to gin up more support among her conservative brethern for a new GI Bill that would give members of the National Guard and Reserves the same college tuition benefits as the regulars.
The bipartisan bill has majority support in both the House and the Senate, but its prospects are by no means assured. Brown-Waite, the top Republican sponsor, and the lead Democratic sponsor, Rep. Harry Mitchell of Arizona, penned an op-ed today in the conservative Washington Times in hopes of the winning converts to the bill.
Brown-Waite counts more than 107,000 veterans in her North Suncoast-area district, second-most in the nation.
Opponents, including Sen. John McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee for president, and the Bush administration worry the bill is too generous and would give members of the military would get an added incentive to quit and go to school.
"This is an important commitment that reflects the changing dynamic of our military and how we have fought the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the past, our military generally relied on active-duty personnel. In this war, National Guardsmen and Reservists have been critical to our efforts and have served just as valiantly as their active-duty counterparts," Brown-Waite and Mitchell wrote.
"Yet, many of these soldiers remain ineligible for robust education benefits when they return from combat. And without a new GI Bill, they won't achieve parity with those who served the same mission. They took the same risk. They made the same sacrifices. They deserve the same opportunity for success."
You can read their argument here.