Idaho Senator Larry Craig: Just Resign Already, Willya?
Idaho Senator and national punchline Larry Craig decided, after pleading guilty to events surrounding an attempted airport bathroom anonymous homosexual seduction, not to resign from the Senate earlier this year. While he's lost most of the power he once held, he still has the power, as do all Senators, to put "holds" on bills he doesn't like. So which bills is he going after with the same gusto he used to reserve for gloryhole strangers? Funding bills for veterans, that's what. From Stars and Stripes:
The Veterans’ Traumatic Brain Injury and Other Health Programs Improvement Act (S. 1233) would extend the period of eligibility for discharged combat veterans to have swift access to VA health care from two years to five. Veterans who believe they suffer one of the “invisible wounds” of PTSD or brain injury would be guaranteed a mental health exam within 30 days of making a request. The same bill would increase the travel reimbursement rate for veterans commuting long distances to get VA care. It would jump to 28 cents a mile from the 11-cent rate set in 1978.Is it legitimate to ask the questions Sen. Craig brings up? Of course it is. Is it right for one Senator -- a disgraced one at that -- to hold up a bill supported by the majority of the Senate and major Veteran's organization because he wants to get his name in the paper for something other than attempted sodomy? I don't see what the advantage is. He's already going to "go down" in Senate history as one of the more pathetic losers ever -- why hold up funding for Veterans while he's at it?
Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, has put a hold on the bill, however, because of a provision was added after it cleared committee to reopen VA health care to new Priority 8 enrollees. These are veterans with no service-connected disabilities and adequate incomes by government standards.
Akaka and Filner support Priority 8 enrollments. Dan Whiting, Craig’s spokesman, said he opposes reopening VA health care to every veteran “because it would take resources away from returning injured veterans.”
Craig also is blocking the Veterans Benefits Enhancement Act (S. 1315) which would improve veterans’ life insurance, adaptable housing and other benefits. What he opposes in this bill is language to give service pensions to Filipino veterans of World War II. Craig argues the pensions are too generous and they would be paid with dollars earmarked to provide a special monthly pension for elderly and housebound U.S. veterans.
Senator Craig -- just resign already. Just because you're not doing any good in D.C. doesn't mean you need to go out of your way to do something bad.