Appeasing the Blue DogsMay 13, 2008 - by Donny Shaw
As I reported last week, the Blue Dogs’ hangup over the veterans’ education benefits to be included in the upcoming war supplemental isn’t because they don’t care about veterans, but because they oppose any new programmatic spending that is not fully offset with corresponding revenue. Today, the Democratic leadership floated a proposal to pay for the veterans’ benefits provision that presents Blue Dogs with a new decision to make: neglect the returning soldiers, or increase taxes on the rich?
The Politico reports:
>House Democratic leaders have proposed adding a tax surcharge on couples making over $1 million in order to pay for an expansion of veterans’ education benefits included in an upcoming war supplemental spending bill, a House Democratic aide confirmed on Tuesday.
>If accepted, the compromise would break the logjam within the House Democratic caucus on the massive $183 billion bill to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
>Last week a group of fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats delayed consideration of the supplemental over the veterans’ benefits issue, arguing that the cost of the expansion of education benefits to returning war veterans was not offset in the bill.
>Although specific details of the proposal were not available, the aide indicated it would be a .5% tax on income for couples over $1 million, which would raise $54 billion over 10 years.
>The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the expansion of veterans’ education benefits would cost $51.8 billion over the next 10 years.