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Democrats introduce a common-sense bill to compensate service members affected by the President's excessive use of the "stop loss" policy:
Service members whose military careers are involuntarily extended by stop-loss orders would be compensated $1,500 a month for each additional month of service under a bill introduced Friday in the Senate.
The bill, S 3060, would not only affect the estimated 4,000 soldiers now affected by stop-loss, but also would retroactively apply to the more than 58,000 people whose retirements have been delayed or whose enlistments have been extended because the services decided they were needed on active duty.
The $1,500 payment would be paid for serving even one day of a month beyond the period when service was supposed to end.
The average stop-loss has forced service members to remain on active duty for an additional 6.6 months, which means that the bill, if it were to become law, would result in average payments of $10,500 to those whose lives have been changed by the policy.
The bill is being introduced by Senator Lautenberg (D-NJ), and is cosponsored by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Bob Casey (D-PA).
In 2004, when John Kerry was calling out President Bush on his abuse of the military's stop-loss policy, John McCain joined Kerry in calling the process a "backdoor draft." Stop-loss, McCain said, "a terrible thing for morale." Meanwhile, in this election season, John McCain's military advisor, Ralph Peters, has claimed that stop-loss is "a myth of the left."
So how will the "new" John McCain vote on this bill, if he shows up to vote at all (let us remember that McCain failed to even show up for the vote on the Senator Webb's GI Bill). Given his track record, a "yes" vote from McCain on this would be a pleasant surprise. As Matthew Yglesias notes:
It's worth noting that not only did John McCain oppose Jim Webb's bill expanding educational benefits for veterans, but he has a long track record of fairly stingy behavior on veterans' issues. As Hilzoy puts it "McCain has supported basic appropriations for vets. However, when there are two competing proposals, he generally chooses the cheaper one, and often, when only one proposal to increase benefits is available, he opposes it."
Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon May 26, 2008 at 09:10 AM PDT.