McCain’s Claim of Support for Veterans Doesn’t Stand Up To Fact-Checking

Dorian De Wind has fact-checked John McCain’s lavish self-praise regarding his support for veterans, and finds quite a lot of padding there:

In a May 22, 2008, Senate vote on the Webb GI Bill, after having fought this more generous version of the bill tooth and nail, McCain was AWOL when 76 of his colleagues (including Senator Obama) voted in favor of the GI Bill.

When the Senate passed the final version of the GI Bill on June 26, by a vote of 92-6, only two Senators were absent: one was Senator Ted Kennedy who was recovering from brain surgery. You can guess who the other Senator was…

De Wind links to a May 30, 2008, op-ed in the Los Angeles Times by Edward Humes. Humes is an expert on the post-World War II G.I. bill (he wrote a book about it). Here is his assessment of McCain’s “support” for veterans:

* On Webb’s GI Bill, he expressed opposition, and he was AWOL when it was time to vote on May 22.

* Last September, he voted against another Webb bill that would have mandated adequate rest for troops between combat deployments.

* On a badly needed $1.5-billion increase for veterans medical services for fiscal year 2007 — to be funded through closing corporate tax loopholes — he voted no. He also voted against establishing a trust fund to bolster under-budgeted veterans hospitals.

* In May 2006, he voted against a $20-billion allotment for expanding swamped veterans medical facilities.

* In April 2006, he was one of 13 Senate Republicans who voted against an amendment to provide $430 million for veterans outpatient care.

* In March 2004, he voted against and helped defeat on a party-line vote a $1.8-billion reserve for veterans medical care, also funded by closing tax loopholes.

Before the Senate voted on Webb’s GI legislation, McCain offered what he called a compromise bill, but it was rejected. Webb pointed out that there really was no compromise in McCain’s proposal because it would have excluded most veterans by offering full education benefits only to those with multiple enlistments, even though 70% to 75% of enlistees leave after one tour.

Compare McCain’s stingy standards with the original GI Bill: Any veteran who served 90 days during World War II, in combat or not, earned full benefits. It is Webb’s bill that represents the reasonable compromise between the gold standard set for the “greatest generation’s” original GI benefits and what is doable in today’s economy: a GI Bill that will truly pay for a college education after three years of service, without the onerous payroll deduction.

So here is where the McCain image and reality part company. It is certainly true that his affectionate and respectful rhetoric for America’s servicemen and women takes a back seat to no one. But when it comes to improving the health and education of our veterans, McCain’s record leaves them stranded by the side of the road.

One Response to “McCain’s Claim of Support for Veterans Doesn’t Stand Up To Fact-Checking”

  1. Webb’s are closely monitored by AWOL in order to continually improve and upgrade the GI Bill. The first presidential debate was extremely simple to use. That is what makes the sam seder successful.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Connect with Facebook