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McCain Won’t Back The New GI Bill

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But he is crafting a similar version of his own…

From The Daily Press:

Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has suggested he would oppose a bipartisan measure by Virginia Sen. Jim Webb to expand college tuition benefits for military veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.

McCain told reporters Monday he was working on alternative legislation aimed at ensuring that troops do not leave the military earlier than planned to go to college.

“We are working on proposals of our own,” McCain said on his campaign plane, according to ABC News. “I’m a consistent supporter of educational benefits for the men and women of the military. I want to make sure that we have incentives for people to remain in the military, as well as for people to join the military.”

McCain’s new move comes as a blow to Webb, a freshman Democrat and former Navy secretary who had been quietly building bipartisan support for months.

Webb’s GI Bill, a centerpiece of his 2006 campaign, would pay the college tuition of many military veterans who have served since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The amount of tuition paid would not exceed the cost of the most expensive state school in a veteran’s home state, in most cases.

The current Montgomery GI Bill pays only a small fraction of the cost of college today.

Why won’t he just support the current bill? Odds are given the administration’s resistance to it because it could conceivably reduce retention goals McCain may sense a veto on the horizon. Although I find the retention argument against this bill to be weak. In my opinion those that want to leave the military will and the additional few that might leave solely to go to go to college because of this bill will be offset by the few that join the military during war time to solely go to college. Should W veto the bill in its current form McCain’s will make an excellent plan B to ensure that our servicemen get the quality education they deserve however the logic behind W’s and McCain’s reticence to support the bill in its current form escapes me.