Higher Education and Veterans benefits are two issues of utmost importance to me, all based on my personal experiences.
I tend to support candidates and elected officials who are progressive on these issues. Even if they have opposed specific legislation in these areas, they offer an honest explanation and remain supportive overall on these issues.
John Kline is not one of these elected officials.
Back about a month ago, I touched upon the antics played by Kline and other Congressional Republicans on the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (HR 2642).
On the first amendment, Congressman Kline joined Michele Bachmann by voting "Present". Cute game...while voting "Present", I contend that Kline actually went AWOL on our nations soldiers, sailors, Marines, and Veterans.
Kline voted "Present" on an amendment that would provide $500 million for Facilities Sustainment, Restoration and Modernization (FSRM). Anyone else recall the Walter Reed problem? Fort Bragg?
$3.6 Billion to address the increasing price of fuel and other petroleum products. Keep in mind, a Bradley Fighting Vehicle gets just over 2 miles per gallon of JP-8 Diesel and an M1 Tank less than a mile a gallon!$
65.4 million for the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program. The Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program helps members of the National Guard and Reserve transition from combat to civilian life. With the enormous increase in Veteran suicides, programs like this save lives.
$52 million to hire more than 200 additional contract managers to prevent waste, fraud and abuse in Department of Defense contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
$102 million for "Land Warrior" equipment to equip one "next to deploy'' brigade combat team with Land Warrior equipment sets.
$6 billion for the procurement of combat aircraft.
Overall, the recommendations total $96,622,127,000 and are structured to maximize support to our men and women in uniform. They meet important force protection, equipment and personnel needs, while fully funding the operational requirements to conduct the Global War on Terror.
Amendment 2 (check it out, it's pretty interesting)
Kline voted against this amendment.
The amendment contained provisions to ensure that a unit that is not "fully mission capable" cannot be sent to Iraq, which could be waived by the President on a unit by unit basis. Sending units that are not "fully mission capable" is a bad idea, which Congressman Kline supports.
The amendment also provides for year long deployments with a year back in the United States before another deployment. Again, it's a common sense part of the amendment. OPTEMPO on our forces over the past 7 years has been tremendous. Providing 1 year back in the US before another deployment makes sense. Kline opposes the common sense of this.
It also has a clause dealing with war profiteering!
Sergeant Sarvi's "boots on the ground experience" in Iraq provide him with insight on these issues that provide instant credibility.
This amendment contained the new GI Bill language as well as Katrina related relief.
Does John Kline understand the need for increased education benefits for our Veterans? The "new" GI Bill would:
Work to decrease the backlog of VA education benefit claims waiting to be processed (over 120,000 at this point).
Benefits provided under the bill would allow veterans pursuing an approved program of education to receive payments covering the established charges of their program, and a monthly stipend of $1,000.
It would extend the time to use the benefit from 10 years to 15 years.
The estimated $2 billion a year needed for the program equals less than one week of war in Iraq.
Sergeant Sarvi voes to not only support Veterans educational opportunities, but also those who volunteer for civic service.
This is just one example of the lack of leadership displayed by Congressman Kline. His rhetoric does not match his voting record.
Change is needed in the 2nd and other districts across Minnesota. Steve Sarvi is the right candidate at the right time for the change needed in Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District.