Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Can Someone Explain To Me...

...why it is we need the Republicans to keep control of the House? Consider H.R. 602, the "Keep Our Promise to America's Military Retirees Act". This bill would, among other things:
Directs the Secretary of Defense to enter into an agreement with the Office of Personnel Management to provide Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) coverage to the following eligible beneficiaries: (1) a member or former member of the Armed Forces entitled to military retired or retainer pay; (2) an unremarried former spouse who was married to a member for at least 20 years, during which such member performed at least 20 years of retirement-creditable military service; (3) a dependent of a deceased qualifying member or former member; (4) a dependent of a living member or former member; and (5) a family member.
It was introduced in February 2005, and as of today has 260 co-sponsors in the House -- more than half of all Congresspersons. You'd expect a bill this popular to pass easily, right? Not with the current Republican leadership -- it's still in sub-commitee, for "a period to be subsequently determined by the Chairman". If you know politics, you probably figure that the Health sub-committee chairman just doesn't like the bill, so he doesn't have to schedule a hearing on it (which he hasn't). Here's the thing, though -- the sub-committee chairman, Rep. Henry Brown (R-SC) is also a co-sponsor of the bill! This does not make sense.

You might be thinking, "Well, this is a complicated matter; the House Republican leadership probably needs to think about it for awhile." That might be, but consider that it was also introduced in the last Congress, in 2003 as H.R. 3474, and attracted 256 co-sponsors without getting a committee hearing. The fact is, the Republican House leadership has decided they don't like the bill, so they won't even hold hearings about it -- all the while allowing the many Republicans who co-sponsored the bill to claim they're "watching out for America's veterans".

My bottom line: I'm happy this undemocratic (little "d") House leadership is about to be tossed out on their ears, and I hope they don't let the door hit their asses on the way out of their committee chairmen offices. I only hope that my fellow Idahoans in the 1st Congressional District realize that it will be better for us to have Larry Grant, a moderate Democrat with a voice the new House leadership will have to listen to, representing us in the next Congress. I really hope they don't decide to elect Bill Sali, who makes a big deal about wanting to cut the Medicare us military retirees will have to rely on unless this bill gets passed.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

By its very nature, you have defined politics "the art of doing what is publicly unpopular."

There are six Democrats (one with an MD) and one ex-Dem on the Health sub-committee.

It has not been unusual for non-priority bills to languish in sub-committee even longer than this one. Meanwhile, current military recruiting goals are being met, and politics is still politics.

Does anyone really believe the wasteful, (Border Fence Act of 2006 [HR 6061]) will result in an effective fence? Think again. Mexicans already tunnel under the existing border, why not tunnel around a fence? Fortress America is bad foreign relations. Remember, an open border has been popular with both parties for decades. Now, around election time, the parties got it right? I am not holding my breath. - ROH

10/16/2006 2:14 PM

Blogger Julie Fanselow said...

The current Congress may well go down as the worst do-nothing assembly in our history. Electing Bill Sali will make it worse, since he belongs to the extremist wing of his party - a faction sure to be marginalized after November 7. As you note, electing moderate Larry Grant will help move Congress back toward the reasonable center where we can address the many issues that have sat unattended these past two years.

10/17/2006 8:14 AM


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