Tuesday, July 01, 2003

The story that wasn't

From The Washington Times:

Sen. John Edwards, North Carolina Democrat, is single-handedly blocking Senate action on legislation all but unanimously supported by the House to ease the student-loan burden for soldiers fighting overseas.

In April, the House voted 421-1 to pass the HEROES Act, which essentially would defer student loans for soldiers called into action. The only dissenting vote was cast accidentally by one of the bill's sponsors.

Edwards' campaign tells ABC's Note that it just isn't true, but there's some confusion.

Told last week that everyone involved with the legislation adamantly said that Mr. Edwards put the hold on it, Edwards spokesman Mike Briggs replied, "They're adamantly wrong."

Yesterday, however, Mr. Briggs acknowledged that his boss was stalling the bill.

"We support this bill, but Senator Edwards wants his amendment voted on," he said. "He wants to make a good bill better."

The Edwards amendment would waive interest accrued by soldiers while engaged in military action and would cost about $10 million per deployment, Mr. Briggs said.

As written, the HEROES Act would extend key elements of current law, which gives the secretary of education the authority to waive student-loan payments for soldiers fighting overseas. The law expires Sept. 30, and the new bill would extend those provisions until 2005.

The end of that excerpt is the kicker. It's still months away from the current law's expiration date and no one in their right mind believes that, if he does have a hold on the bill, Edwards would allow it to expire. Why, then, the story? Because if Edwards' amendment were voted on, it would force Republicans to either vote for him, handing him excellent coverage at a time when Republicans are screwing service members or they would have to vote against it, which just shows that they don't really support the troops as much as they do bankers. This is the exact opposite of Larry "Gimme Gimme Gimme" Craig's b.s. hold on Air Force promotions

If he did have the hold on it, Edwards would be smart to come out and say, "Sure, I'm holding it up because I want our uniformed heroes to have more, but Republicans don't want to give it to them. (Cue 'God Bless America.') It's going to pass in time, but, first, I'm going to fight these corporate toadies to see if I can't get more for our fighting men and women overseas!"

My neighbor to the north Stephen Charest has more.


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