Senate Approves GI Bill; Sessions Votes NO

Politico: The Senate approved a $194.1 billion wartime spending bill Thursday that promises a greatly expanded GI education benefit for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The pivotal 75-22 roll call triggered a late scramble of Republicans who switched their votes as the outcome became clearly in favor of the new education benefit as well as billions more in domestic spending for the jobless and Gulf Coast states.

Republicans leaders, working in the well of the chamber, first tried to hold the line below 60 votes, then 67, a veto-proof margin. But when this also collapsed, individual senators were released to vote for the measure.

An estimated $165.5 billion in new defense spending was approved by a similar 70-26 vote minutes later. The package now goes back to the House, which had rejected the war funding last week.

But unless adjustments are made, the entire wartime bill faces an almost certain veto fight with the president. The question is whether cooler heads will prevail and Congress and the White House will begin some negotiation to avoid another veto fight, which is not necessarily to the advantage of either side.

Left In Alabama: The New GI Bill, sponsored by Jim Webb and 50 something other Senators, passed the U.S. Senate today by a larger than expected 75-22 margin. Alabama’s Senators split this vote, with Shelby voting in favor of expanded educational benefits for veterans and Jeff Sessions voting against it.

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