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.