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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, May 16, 2008

Charlie Dent Part of BiPartisan Majority Voting to Extend G.I. Benefits

One chilly morning a few months ago, I was walking the dog along a lonely trail at Jacobsburg State Park. A fleet-footed runner flew past me, but suddenly stopped after passing me. My dog had broken off the leash and wanted to meet this fellow. The runner stopped, enjoying his new canine pal. I caught up a few minutes later.

"Are you Ramblings?"

I couldn't believe this young man actually spends his time reading my blog. Maybe he was a hit man, but I had a fierce five pound dog with me, so I fessed up.

"God bless your daughter."

He had read about my daughter being sent to Iraq and told me he had been there himself. His brother was going for the third time, volunteering to take the place of a fellow soldier whose wife just had a baby. He told me this very quietly, like it was nothing.

Self-absorbed person that I am, I forgot to thank this quiet hero until he was gone. Fortunately, the U.S. Congress is showing some of the gratitude that I should have displayed.

Better yet, Lehigh Valley Congressman Charlie Dent (R Pa. 15) is one of them. He is among the 256 members of congress who voted yesterday to expand G.I. benefits for active-duty soldiers. He joins 32 House Republicans to restore educational assistance once extended to returning WWII vets.

This legislation has the support of left-leaning organizations like The American Legion.

Presumptive Republican nominee John McCain is concerned this measure might hurt military retention because benefits accrue after only three years of service, but American Legion National Commander Marty Conatser counters this will actually lead to an increase in recruitment.

President Bush has also belly-ached that the $2 billion per year cost is too expensive, but Commander Conatser has an answer for that, too. "Visit Walter Reed. War is expensive indeed and the bulk of that cost is paid for by the men and women who wear the uniform. Benefits are just a small, small cost of war."

Of the eight Republican members of the Pennsylvania House delegation, Dent is joined by Philip English (R Pa 3), Timothy Murphy (R Pa 18) and Todd Platts (R Pa 19) in voting for the soldiers instead of their party.


Anonymous said...

Is Dent currently running for re-election? Oh yes. I see he is.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Dent is constantly called a Bush rubber stamp. So when he votes against Bush, and in a significant way, he's just running for re-election? You sound very partisan to me.

Anonymous said...

Saturday,May 17 is Armed Forces Day if anyone wishes to hang their flag outside. Thanks

not so casual observer said...

Congressman Dent is the best we have ever had in that office, and it is really sad that there are those who opposed him simply becasue he has an R after his name.He is hard working, honest, and his constituent service , no mater their party affiliation, is over the top great.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Not so casual, I pretty much agree 100% with your not so casual observation. The very first commenter is obviously opposed to CD simply bc an R follows his name. We have serious problems in this country, and they are getting worse bc they have been approached from partisan points of view.

It's nearly impossible to argue against an expanded Bill of Rights. Yet just yesterday, a R partisan was slashing away on this blog with misinformation on my first post about the GI bill.

It is also very apparent that D partisans in congress are just as irresponsible. They suspend their own rules, draft legislation behind closed doors and tie Iraqi war funding to other measures that castrate the American military, such as restricting fuel to what American citizens get. It's ridiculous gamesmanship and needs to stop.

Anonymous said...

This post been up for hours; only 5 responses. Looks like Dent is on the way out.

Thank God for That!

Anonymous said...

Dent =

Number Of Iraqis Slaughtered In US War And Occupation Of Iraq "1,209,263"

Number of U.S. Military Personnel Sacrificed (Officially acknowledged) In U.S. War And Occupation Of Iraq 4,077

Cost of U.S. War and Occupation of Iraq


Bush Planned Iraq 'Regime Change' Before Becoming President

The president's real goal in Iraq

The Project for the New American Century.

The Plan is for the United States to rule the world.

America's War for Global Domination:

Will Iran Be Next?
Memo: Bush made intel fit Iraq policy

Secret Downing Street Memo

UK Ministers Knew WMD Was "Excuse"

Leaked Cabinet Office paper

Poll: U.S. Troops in Iraq: 72% Say End War in 2006

Bernie O'Hare said...

This is precisely the kind of mindless banter that I'm talking about. It marginalizes you, drives us in separate partisan camps, and makes it impossible to solve some very real problems.

In a post about Dent's decision to vote for expansion of GI benefits, you repeat a litany of Bush sins (with no link) having nothing to do with Dent. He wasn't even a member of congress when Bush decided to invade Iraq. He is cochair of the moderate Tuesday group that both met with the president and wrote to him about his mishandling of the war. He pretty much endorsed the findings of the ISG.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, Kudos to you for reporting how our local congressmen voted, something the Morning Call failed to do.

Anonymous said...

Dent deserves the Brand.

Dent = Doom for America

No more (D)(D)!

Your telling me Dent didn't pick his party. Dent hasn't taking any money from this disaster. Deni is just a little angel?

They say the masses are asses.

and an ass I'm not!

Rich Get Richer on Gov't Subsidies
Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The New York Times, David Cay Johnston discussed his book, Free Lunch, which exposes how everyone from golf course developers and sports team owners to Paris Hilton and other super rich are getting richer off of government subsidies.

Johnston provided specific examples of wealthy people who have enriched themselves at the expense of taxpayers. He told Ian the new Yankee Stadium will likely end up costing taxpayers about $1.2 billion. Even more disturbing, Johnston said Former New York City Mayor and Yankees fan Rudy Giuliani gave the ball club $25 million to pay for them to lobby for the stadium subsidy.

Johnston dismissed the assertion that commercial ballparks are economic boons to the areas which surround them. If it's a sound investment, he asserted, then why do sports team owners need the government to give them money. According to Johnston, the four big U.S. sports are not actually profitable on their own, but end up making about $1 billion dollars from government subsidies.

Johnston also detailed a deal by Warren Buffet, known as the world's greatest investor. He said Buffet received $100 million to build a new call center for GEICO in Buffalo, New York. The call center cost only $40 million, created no new jobs and was built in a wealthy suburb, he noted. Johnston indicated that stories like this are quite routine, as one business man told him, "I don't think we should be doing this, but if they're giving you the money you'd be an idiot not to take it."

Anonymous said...

anon 10:31 ... its time for your pill.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:42 AM

Isn't it like a right winger to push drugs when in conflict with reason. I wonder if they have stock
on the drugs they push and take.

Do you know what's in your water?

Anonymous said...

anon 10:31 - take two, you need them.

Then maybe, just maybe, you'll realize that while you're right in terms of government giveaways and subsidies, that is a non-partisan issue. There as many Democrat piggies as there are Republican piggies.

Bernie's right (oh Lord, I agree w/ him!) - vote the candidate based on their positions, not the party.

Joe Hilliard said...


First a slap on the wrist. You engaged in partisanship by making the comment about voting for this bill instead of "party". As I wrote yesterday I support this bill but wonder what kind of "garbage" is in it.

Well, I just found out that one of the provisions is the legalization of 3 million illegal immigrants classified as "agricultural workers".

I now, do not support this particular piece of legislation though I would support a clean bill.

This is why the citizens are slowly building up anger against our government(s). We are tired of the B.S. manuevers to dupe us to advance an agenda that would otherwise have little public support.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Joe Hilliard,

You provide absolutely no link to your claim, and I can't find one.

What Dent joined 32 Republicans in voting for was expanded benefits under the GI bill. Unlike most measures related to Iraq, this one even provided the means for paying for these benefits - a tax on individuals who earn more than $500k per year or couples who earn more than $1 MM.

The measure also provided for an extension of unemployment benefits.

Yesterday's measure was divided into three parts. Dent's support for extending GI benefits has nothing to do with classifying illegal immigrants as agricultural workers. That's not in any version of the legislation I saw. I googled for nearly an hour and can find nothing that substantiates your claim. SDomething like that might be buried in the measure that failed, but I am unable to find it.

The vote to fund the troops was tied to a bunch of bogus spending items. I still would have voted for that, too, because the troops need the money. But i could understand the opposition.

I can't inderstand it w/ the GI Bill.

This measure has the support of these partisan, left-wing groups: Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA);The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW); The American Legion; The Military Officers' Association of America (MOAA);
Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA);
The Air Force Sergeants Association (AFSA); The Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States (EANGUS);
The Student Veterans of America (SVA); The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC); The National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges (NASULGC); The Partnership for Veterans' Education; and The American Council on Education (ACE).

Pinkos like former Governor Ridge (remember him?) support it.

Instead of towing the party line, Dent acted in a bipartisan manner. He voted for something that would help soldiers.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing in the bill that Dent voted on dealing with immigration.

Joe Hilliard is wrong to say that there is. According to this report from the Congressional Quarterly this provision was something that the Senate was trying to put into their version of the bill -- not the House.

May 15, 2008 – 11:18 p.m.
Feinstein Looks to Fill Seasonal Labor Shortage With Temporary Visa Program
By Karoun Demirjian, CQ Staff
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved two measures Thursday that would offer temporary relief to industries suffering seasonal labor shortages by raising the cap on two categories of visas for low-skilled workers.

The measures, both introduced as amendments to the supplemental appropriations bill, are permutations of previously filed bills that have stalled this session.

An amendment sponsored by Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., which passed 17-12, would establish a temporary five-year program to provide so-called H2A visas to emergency agricultural workers.

These guest workers would have to commit to working 100 days a year in agriculture and pay a fee of $250. Their pay would be frozen at a 2007 prevailing wage level for at least three years, while a fair wage level is decided. The program would be capped at 1.35 million participants.

“We need this legislation because in the last year, 13,280 farms in the United States have shut down, and others have moved their operation to Mexico,” said Feinstein, citing estimates that the United States would lose between $5 billion and $9 billion to foreign competition without the change.

‘Counting on Us’
The second amendment, from Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., would resuscitate a longstanding effort to augment the availability of H2B seasonal-worker visas by reinstituting a lapsed quota waiver that would exempt returning workers from being counted against the 66,000 cap on such visas.

The waiver provision expired last September, and firms focused on summer business are fearful that they will not be able to find enough temporary employees.

“This is not a new issue, not a new policy, not a new loophole and not a new cap. We’re not breaking new ground here. We are simply trying to extend the guest worker provision that has expired,” said Mikulski. “Small and seasonal businesses are counting on us, and we are letting them down.”

While relief for seasonal industries and the agricultural sector have garnered ample bipartisan support, the amendments are likely to face opposition from lawmakers who believe the U.S.-Mexico border must be secured before even temporary guest worker programs are extended.

“It’s inappropriate. This is staged amnesty,” said Dan Stein of the Federation for American Immigration Reform. “It’s special interest, big-business legislation ... by people who clearly don’t have the best interest of American families on their mind.”

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the first poster is an R who simply points out that Dent might be more likely to support a more thoughtful bill to get to same place, but must avoid any appearance of not supporting veterans in an election year by voting for the first bill (good or bad) that comes up for a vote. Not dissimilar to Stoffa's wondering what the hurry to pass quickly considered, bad bills is about. Dent has plenty of R detractors. I suspect that's why he's pleasing to lefties like Bernie.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 1:45, Thank you very much. The seasonal visas for agricultural workers in a completely different body of congress has nothing to do with the GI Bill of Rights. Moreover, it doesn't even appear to be an effort to legalize undocumented workers. So I think Joe Hilliard got his facts wrong and went from there to make unwarranted conclusions.

hayshaker said...

First of all, I applaud Dent for voting for this bill even if it was just election year pandering. He knows he's in trouble and started his reelection campaign last year with the much ballyhooed Tuesday group. (I got robocalled about it, much like every time Dent does something non-partisan.)

But Mr. O'Hare, you always claim people opposed Dent merely because he has an R after this name. Why can we not oppose Congressman Dent because of HIS VOTES and HIS POSITIONS?

-Voted YES on Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage.
-Voted YES on making the PATRIOT Act permanent.
- Voted YES on implementing CAFTA, Central America Free Trade. (Jul 2005)
- Voted NO on requiring negotiated Rx prices for Medicare part D. (Jan 2007)
- Voted YES on allowing electronic surveillance without a warrant. (Sep 2006)
- Voted YES on continuing intelligence gathering without civil oversight. (Apr 2006)
- Voted YES on building a fence along the Mexican border. (Sep 2006)
- Voted YES on retaining reduced taxes on capital gains & dividends. (Dec 2005)
- Voted NO on establishing "network neutrality" (non-tiered Internet). (Jun 2006)
- Voted NO on redeploying US troops out of Iraq starting in 90 days. (May 2007)
- Voted YES on declaring Iraq part of War on Terror with no exit date. (Jun 2006)

you could go on and on. PLEASE stop insisting we are opposed to Dent merely on his party affiliation. It just so happens his party is wrong on most every issue facing America today.

Bernie O'Hare said...


I have no problem with you taking Dent to task for his record. But when he does take a stance in line with the Democratic majority, it's incongruous to call it election year pandering for the very reason that yuou note in your comment - his record makes his stance pretty clear. If he were pandering, as you brazenly charge, you'd think he could do a better job of it.

hayshaker said...

He panders just enough to keep his seat in the increasingly "blue" district but still keep his key to the GOP executive washroom.

Anonymous said...

Dent does a lot of things that people don't like ... but ... the alternative from the Democrats is Sam Freaking Bennett!

She is completely nuts and we have to be for her why? ... because she SAYS she will be diffferent than Dent?

Not good enough.

She is too crazy. Have you ever been around her when she is in her oozing, smarmy act? Soooo strange!

hayshaker said...

Anon 3:28 - I stated last week that I probably cannot vote for her either. I'll be writing in Bernie O'Hare.

Bernie O'Hare said...

No. No. No.

Even I would never vote for me, and I'm pretty sure I must be the most despised person in the LV. Besides, I already occupy the highest rank in government - citizen.

Joe Hilliard said...


My source was Glenn Beck @ 11:20 so I can't link to a radio talk show.

However, I have been looking into this. I have not found the illegal immigration aspect yet, but the bill does extend unemployment benefits by 13 weeks. Plus it has earmarks.


I will keep researching about the illegal immigrant provision.

My point is, why do they keep playing political games with good legislation? Pass a clean bill.

Both parties play this game an it sickens me because many agenda items won't survive the light of day, they play politics.

The problem isn't a particular political party (though I think one has a clearly superior philosophy to the other). The problem is POLITICIANS.

Bernie O'Hare said...


You are relying on Glenn Beck as a news source? That's ridiculous. Your statement is misinformation. The biz about the extension of unemployment for 13 weeks was already well known and I mentioned it. What you said was that this legislation legitimized 3 million illegals and that's inflammatory.

Anonymous said...

The one thing I would never admit in public is that I trust Glenn Beck to give me factual news.

I get all my news and fish oils from Bobby Gunther Walsh.

Anonymous said...

As somone who travels, it is sad when I see the payday loan places all over military towns. Pawn your car keep your title places too. It is a sad state of affairs when our military families have to live like this. Supporting the GI Bill should be a no brainer.

There were many amendments in the bankruptcy bill that the GOP shot down. Including ones requiring credit card companies to disclose the interest on would be assessed if only the minimum payment would be made. Votes were cast down party lines. Did Dent vote these down. Why would anyone not support such an amendment unless they were against the common man and for predatory lendors.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 7:18, Thanks for your observation. Before I interview Dent, I will look closely at his record. If he did vote against some attempt to rein in credit card companies, I'll want to know why.

Anonymous said...

BOH 7:23

I must correct myself. The amendment to the bankruptcy bill that I referenced in my previous post was actually to the Senate bill and was introduced by Akaka (D).

I am not sure if the ammendment to the bill was offered on the House floor, however, voting Republicans (including Dent)were unanimous, 229-0; Democrats opposed it 125-73


Anonymous said...

I get all my facts from Glenn Beck, Bobby G. Walsh and Bernnie O'Hare.
I am the most informed person on the planet.

Drake Minder Phone:610-797-5242 mind@rcn.com said...

Bringing Iraq war to Congress

Anonymous said...

Bernie, I must give you credit. Your "mancrushes" are bi-partisan. (Dent, Angle, Stoffa, Cuningham . . .) However, if the Special Elections in Ill., La. and Miss. tell us anything, it is that Charlie is finished. A bad concession speech and getting overpaid at POM isn't going to save him.