Mixed Reaction To New G.I. Bill Proposals

June 11th, 2008  
Team Infidel

Topic: Mixed Reaction To New G.I. Bill Proposals

June 10, 2008 Issue Number One (CNN), 12:00 PM
GERRI WILLIS: Well, Ali, there is more good news -- a proposal in Congress for a new GI bill. Now, it would offer more help to military veterans who want to attend college. But not everybody thinks it's a good idea.
CNN's Barbara Starr is joining us now from the Pentagon -- Barbara.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Gerri, you know, the GI Bill was originally signed into law back in 1944 by President Roosevelt to offer education benefits to returning GIs for from World War II. But now, decades later, this has become one of the most expensive, yet cherished, programs for the U.S. military.
There are now a number of pending pieces of legislation on Capitol Hill modernizing the GI Bill, offering very significant additional benefits. But sort of in typical Washington fashion, nobody can really calculate how much it's going to cost, and if they could calculate, they can't tell you how the government is going to pay for it. So that's a big concern obviously to the economy and the growing budget deficit.
But where it really all sorts out is the amount of benefits being given. One of the key provisions, let soldiers transfer their education benefits to their families. But as all of these new benefits might mount up, what the Pentagon worries about, it's all going to look so good, a lot of soldiers, a lot of troops may start to vote with their feet to get out of military service and go back to school.
Have a listen to what the Pentagon spokesman said about all this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GEOFF MORRELL, PENTAGON SPOKESMAN: It would invite too many well-trained, experienced soldiers, airmen, Marines, sailors, to leave before they have had a chance to make a career out of service to their country through the military. (END VIDEO CLIP)
STARR: All of this now also landing smack dab in the middle of the presidential campaign. John McCain, of course, a very revered military veteran, very close to the military community. But he's actually against some of this legislation because it would be so expensive, because it might encourage people to get out of the military.
We are going to put up a couple of statements from each of the candidates and let you read most of it yourself. But basically, McCain says he's more in favor of something with a sliding scale that offers generous benefits to all veterans but still based on the length of service, so that a GI wouldn't get these benefits all at once after just a couple of years in the military, because after maybe just three years of service, that might encourage them to get out of the military.
Senator Obama, very much on the other side in the position of actually supporting the legislation, saying that if Senator McCain doesn't support it, then that might be a very major issue for debate in November -- Gerri.
WILLIS: Fascinating story. Barbara Starr, thank you for that.

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