Washington, DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following statement today in response to Senate Republicans introducing a veterans bill that falls far short:
“While they have no problem spending $12 billion a month on an open-ended civil war in Iraq, today Republican Senators McCain, Graham and Burr introduced a bill that would dramatically shortchange our veterans. Under fire from veterans and the public for their reluctance to support S. 22 – a strong bipartisan bill introduced by Senators Webb and Hagel – Senators McCain, Burr and Graham introduced a bill that is a pale shadow.
“S.22 is cosponsored by 57 Senators, as well as more than half of the House, and has been endorsed by every leading veterans organization. It will provide significant new education benefits to those fighting to protect America, and it will strengthen our military’s readiness and provide economic growth. It also fully recognizes the service of the National Guard and Reserve, and rewards the many service members who return to civilian life after their first enlistment. The McCain-Graham-Burr bill will shortchange every one of these goals.
“While we are glad Senators McCain, Graham and Burr have finally been dragged into the debate over providing proper support for our troops, we believe our troops deserve a bill as strong as the military itself. S.22 – and not the weaker McCain-Graham-Burr bill – provides just that.”