The House has reached a bipartisan agreement on the war spending legislation that includes the new Jim Webb GI Bill. The negotiations involved Bush Administration officials which seems to indicate that he will sign it. The new deal preserves the GI Bill benefits but eliminates the tax on the wealthy to pay for it (unfortunately, this is exactly how they should pay for it).
The bill also pays for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq through the end of Bush’s term, and extends unemployment benefits for an extra 13 weeks. Surprisingly, it forbids permanent American military bases in Iraq (this is a mistake) and calls on the Iraqi government to share equally in the cost of rebuilding the country.
It now goes to the Senate for their take on it, and then to Bush before July 4. It looks like the GI Bill is going to become a reality. It’s just a shame that Congress, once again, didn’t address how they would pay for it. Here’s Carl Hulse’s story in the New York Times.